DOESN’T it bother you that most of our young men are turning into shameless gold-diggers?” I was a bit taken aback when Stella asked this question outright when she called at my place. She’s a former boyfriend’s niece and a few of the members of his family that I’m close to. She’s in her late 40s, married with lovely children and a fairly comfortable husband. She heads the public relations department of a parastatal and has money of her own. Once in a while, she’d “throw some work at us at the training centre and I make sure she’s well looked after. So what brought on her question?
“You know I just replaced my assistant? The new one who left for a supposed greener pasture?”, she asked. I vaguely remembered Rufus, Stella’s assistant. Single and full of himself, he’d always struck me as the ruthlessly ambitious type. So when Stella told me he’d left to head a PR firm of a young company, I wasn’t surprised. Only, “Rufus and I started an affair when he left,’ confessed Stella, not quite meeting my eyes. An affair? Stella was at least eight years older. I knew she didn’t get on well with her husband – they’d become like brother and sister. “But Rufus? How did he feature in this gold-digger saga in spite of this unusual love match?
“His new office is quite close to mine and he often called round to say hello,” she continued. “Once in a while, we went for lunch in a near-by restaurant and I often paid because he was always skint. He had always been skint. But he had a good sense of humour and lived alone in a two-bedroom flat. To compensate me for all the free lunches he’d had off me, he offered to cook a meal in his flat for us. It must have been obvious that I fancied him as we had his fairly well prepared meal and a cheap bottle of wine. He kissed me on his way to the kitchen after the meal and I kissed him back. We ended up in his bedroom and was I blown over! I’d almost forgotten what a good shag was – and what I was experiencing beat the most sophisticated of all vibrators!
“I really wanted the relationship to continue, so we started meeting from time to time at his flat. He confided his new job wasn’t as good as he’d hoped. “I thought the salary would be better,’ he explained. “But so much of my pay depends on commission and I’m struggling to pay the rent. The next one becomes due next month.’ I offered to help and took him to an ATM machine to withdraw some money and handed it to him, stressing it was to be a loan. He was pathetically grateful and promised to pay me back. Only, he was now sharing all his worries with me. If his mobile wasn’t running out of credit, he’d be skint to afford food for the flat…
“At first, lust-fuelled, I was glad to help him. But as the months went by, it became obvious I was being taken for granted. We still met for sex in his flat but he wasn’t as attentive as he used to be and was always asking me outright for loans. When next I went to my ATM and saw the balance I had left, I was alarmed. Pay-day was more than a week away and I had household bills to pay. Panicked, I rang Rufus, left a “voice mail message asking if he could meet me to return some of the money I’d lent him. He didn’t reply I had to call a few times before he picked up the phone. “Can’t do it now I’m afraid,’ he said breezily, `my rent’s due.’ I felt sick to my stomach. Was money all he wanted me for? And what chance do I have of recouping my money?
“I must have been a love sick idiot. I mean, why else would a strapping bachelor become involved with a frustrated wife like me? I was so humiliated I stopped calling him – and he never contacted me again – stopped coming to my office. I had to ask my husband for cash to get me through. I lied and said I’d overspent on clothes recently. He never takes any notice of what I’m wearing anyway. So he just shrugged and agreed. Rufus had taken a lot more than cash from me. He’d stolen my pride and self-respect and left me feeling such a fool.”