I saw an amazing sloppy electric salsa cha cha band on the boardwalk at Coney Island recently. Mostly older guys (one photo attached)... farfisa and electric guitar kind of thing — songs like “Perfidia” and stuff like that. They had a good groove and were a pretty motley crew, but I could have listened to them for ages.
Researching the Imelda music piece I’m working on I notice that her union with Ferdinand was as much political and economic as emotional. She, from a good family, but the poor side of it, was generally “attracted” to men who were in positions of power and who had financial stability. There were no stories of her dating the local shopkeeper or schoolteacher. No fool, she. (She was beautiful, so she had a leg up, too.) He, meanwhile, was no less pragmatic — though she was poor, he knew that her relatives represented the South, where he was politically weak (he was already a successful Senator.) And she would look picture perfect in his future political life.
Though he might have been less smitten and more conniving than she, she was by all reports emotionally invested in their relationship, at least for a few years. So there was both love, of a sort, and pragmatism simultaneously. Sincerity and practicality too. For a while, anyway.
“Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac” — Henry Kissinger said that. And if there was ever a frog prince he is one. Ladies, here he is:
But, what if one is powerful but poor? Does power trump cash? Probably, in purely Darwinian terms — power lends one a greater likelihood of spreading one’s genetic material around than mere cash. But cash is a pretty solid means to that end and even lottery winners can be cash rich.
Of course there are and have been gold diggers and gigolos who are pretty blunt and obvious about their game for eons. Trophy wives and celebrity unions seem both natural and cynical to us now. Do they really love each other? Maybe. Maybe not. Sure is convenient though. And there are exceptions. Though the boldface names play at this match game fairly obviously, it is the way it goes down and works itself out through the various other quotidian levels and strata of society that are sometimes surprising. Marriage is one of the few ways of jumping class — of leaping ahead on the Monopoly board without paying rent. Even the nouveaux riche have to pay their dues — the upper classes don’t accept them for quite a while (though this is slowly changing.)
This is not to say there isn’t real love involved. But love blooms at surprisingly convenient times, especially for the socially, financially and politically connected. Does that mean poor people love more than rich people? Wow, what if?
Here are some surprising exceptions. Why don’t rich dot-com-ers and IT barons have publicized marriages and affairs with movie starlets or models? If nerds are so powerful now why don’t they behave more like Donald Trump?
Why does Kate Moss sidle up to Pete Dougherty, who is not rich and is probably not long for this world?
But what do I believe? Can I observe cynical conniving behavior and still believe? Sure, don’t we all?