Following the success of her book, “Mistresses Play, Men Stray, The Wives Stay,” the always sharp and eloquent Jullie Yap-Daza dishes out some thoughts on just how sweet forbidden fruit really is.
Louie: What is the difference between a girlfriend and a mistress?
Jullie: The difference is financial. Girlfriends are independent and can assert their independence by spending their own money. If you’re totally dependent, wala ka na (That’s it).
You’ve talked to a lot of mistresses. Can you tell us one particularly memorable story?
There was one woman who never called herself a mistress. She used the word “playmate” to describe her relationship with the man, who was then married. When the man and his wife got a divorce, he asked her to marry him, but she refused. She said they were only playmates. She knows she will never marry the man.
And then the woman also became the victim of a mistress. It turns out her husband was also seeing another woman. That’s what made her stop seeing her playmate. She said she didn’t want a place in hell.
Did she believe it was a sin?
For 25 years the woman did not take communion, and everyone kept asking her why. Finally one night, she told her story to her parish priest, over dinner. The priest gave her an absolution and called her story “a beautiful love story.”
I know a devout Catholic went to the priest to ask for forgiveness because of adultery. The priest said she couldn’t be forgiven because the affair was still ongoing.
A lot of priests themselves can’t claim to be completely…
But that doesn’t invalidate the sacrament of confession. I myself am not a devout Catholic, but I just follow the rules.
The Aleli and Grace war is like an open book. Many say that some women will only know if the husband was fooling around when he dies. Because someone else will be crying over his coffin.
There is actually such a thing as funeral service etiquette. One man had his two women in the same pew. Others were not allowed to come in. Other women take it upon their own not to go. One woman did not even want to go to her own husband’s funeral, worried that his mistress will be there. When she went to the service, the mistress was sitting in the front row. She had to sit all the way at the back.
Who is the most successful mistress?
A lot. These are the women who are recognized by the man’s family and accepted by society.
Are mistresses happy?
I think so. Why would they stay?
Even without marriage?
Mistresses should know it will never happen.
Why won’t some husbands ever leave their wives?
These men want to be in their comfort zone. A place where they are on familiar ground, and there is no need to uproot one’s self or learn new rules. They’re in a place where they are used to the house help, and they know where the bathroom is. They know the bad side of their wives and they know how to dominate them. Men want to have their cake and eat it, too. It is very rare for a Filipino man to leave his first wife to marry his mistress.
Do mistresses feel the man loves them more?
Yes. In the ’70s, a classmate of mine was head of an NGO that monitored sex and pornography on TV. During the course of their research they talked to little girls whose mothers watched television. Do you know what their mothers told them? They said they wanted to be the mistresses on TV instead of the wives. On TV, the wives are always shown wearing dusters, cleaning and suffering while the man goes off with his mistress in the sexy dress.
So if I form a partylist for mistresses, will I get enough votes?
A lot of our politicians won when it was revealed that they had mistresses.
Are mistresses homewreckers?
It’s a stereotype. It may not be her intention but that’s what the public perception is.
Why do men need mistresses?
I asked that question in the Rotary Club. A Canadian man said, “You know why we do it? We do it ‘cause we can get away with it.” It’s the forbidden fruit. The allure of mistresses in the shadows, that’s her mystery.
A man I know also said, “It’s nice to wake up with a beautiful face beside me.”
At one point in a woman’s life she has to choose whether she wants to keep her face or her figure. When a woman is thin her face is compromised, it’s sunken. But if she wants a younger-looking face with no wrinkles that means she has to choose to be fat. Mahirap maging babae. (It’s hard to be a woman).
So it is normal to have a mistress?
Yes. Even taxi drivers have mistresses. She might have a carinderia or be a labandera who washes his clothes for him. Madudunong ang mga taxi driver (Taxi drivers are smart). During a marriage, the husband and wife can experience a sexual death. The wife bears children, finds other sources of fulfillment, her body gets bigger…that is when men look for others. But you’ll be surprised. A lot of mistresses are not as pretty or as accomplished as the wife.
Why is this so?
Because mistresses don’t argue. Here’s a quote from Jun Cruz: “At the end of the day I don’t need a bright woman to argue with, I just want a pretty girl who will shut up when she needs to shut up.” Men want somebody, someone who is low-maintenance emotionally. Men who have reached their Viagra stage especially lose a lot of confidence, and need women who try to restore it.
I know of a heterosexual, not bisexual, man who left his wife and kids for a transsexual, even if he knew she underwent a sex change. The transsexual told me it had nothing to do with sex. She simply fulfilled all his psychological needs.
Essentially, every man is a narcissist, especially mama’s boys. And Filipino men are all mama’s boys.
A typical Filipino man is always dominated by women throughout his life. First, he is dominated by his mother, then a girlfriend, then his wife, then his daughter, then his mistress, then maybe a “chimay,” if he is a “chimay” killer, then by Mama Mary when he is old, gray and dying. Who is at fault in the relationship, the man or the mistresses?
The men are to blame, not the mistresses. The Philippines is the only country left where people still go to Mass every Sunday, and pews are filled from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and yet it is the also the only country where mistresses are freely flaunted. Also, we are the only country left without a divorce law.
So without the Catholic church, life wouldn’t be as sweet as this.
Yes, the “forbidden fruit.”
If there is divorce do you think people will still have mistresses?
Even in America where there is divorce, there are still mistresses. Divorce will never work here because men will be required to pay alimony. There are more men in Congress than women. Husbands can get away without paying a cent. During the Japanese occupation we had divorce in the country. The movie “Rosario” was about a woman ahead of her time in that period. She slept around, smoked and flirted. As punishment, she was exiled to Hong Kong for three years. Those were the days.
I still wonder why women’s groups like Gabriela don’t try harder to change the laws. The laws concerning concubinage and adultery favor the man. Men are only guilty if they are caught having an affair under scandalous circumstances, and it still has to be proven. For women, adultery is an automatic crime.
Women in Congress don’t want to change the laws because it’s against the church. And there is always the question of, “What will happen to the children?” It is usually the wives who don’t want to leave a marriage because of the children, not the husbands.
Do any of the women you’ve talked to call and say you portrayed them unjustly in your book?
I change the details so people cannot guess who they are.
What’s more embarrassing? To be a mistress or a cougar?
I’d rather be a mistress. Kung ako ang cougar ako pa magbabayad! (I’ll have to do the paying.)
Well, all good things in life need to be paid for: shoes, food, sex. What do you think about the highly publicized issue over the two women fighting over the rights to a man’s body on national TV?
I think it’s better than a telenovela. Parang scripted. Although I ask myself, “Who is the mistress there?” Even the media don’t know how to call the woman. The man was a tower of strength for the two women, but in the end, he was unable to offer a Solomonic solution.
Do you think money is behind the issue?
Why fight on TV? Why are they playing out this drama? It probably is.
What about mistresses who don’t get anything much financially from the men?
I don’t know. True love?
But how can anyone trust someone who is cheating on his wife?
At the back of their heads, they know this. After the first publishing of my book, I got a letter from a mistress who told me she thought there were only two of them in the man’s life. It turns out there’s a number 3.
They say numbers 1 and 3 usually end up on the same side, as with numbers 2 and 4. Does that mean the minimum for a Filipino man is 4?
Maybe even more.
What is the ending for mistresses?
The same as a wife’s. You’ll fall out of love. The currents come and go.
You grow tired of each other, the man becomes cruel. You can experience sensory fatigue or sexual death, or he becomes boring or poor or sick. You just go with the flow. There are no rules. It’s a wise mistress who realizes that like everything, there’s an ending. Wise mistresses are the most successful mistresses. They know that husbands don’t belong to them.
We like to thank Charisse Chuidian for hosting our interesting, gossipy discussion at Mandarin Oriental’s Tin Hau.
“Mistresses Play, Men Stray, The Wives Stay” by Jullie Yap-Daza is now available in bookstores.