A Sequel: How To Score Like A Literary Lady-Pimp

Nov 10th, 2010 | By | Category: Columns

This is going to be rather short, ‘cuz ladies don’t do much, except knit and create the theory of radioactivity.

Make me a sandwich, Marie Curie!

Now, I could argue that the reason there aren’t as many lady pimps as man pimps in literature is because female characters are often caricatures, necessary only to plot devices and the hero’s inner turmoil. But then I got distracted while brushing my hair and thinking about boys!

This is what I think about. This, and fractal geometry.

The problem with finding a true lady pimp is, more often than not, the lady in question either dies a tragic death, or goes off to lead a tragic life. Why can’t a girl get her game on without being subjected to typhoid or the poorhouse? Just take a look at this collection of classic “almost-lady-pimps” to see what tragedies had befallen them because they wanted to do the humpty hump.

The List

Dudes, that is a sad list. It’s so sad it might drive me to read a Nora Roberts novel. What the heck mostly old white male authors? Can’t a lady have some fun? And yes, I am glaring at you Thomas Hardy (Also: James Joyce, Stephen King, Robert Heinlein, Leo Tolstoy, D.H. Lawrence, William Faulkner, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, John Fowles, Michael Moorcock, Frank Miller, Norman Mailer, James Patterson, etc.)

Sheesh, that really bums me out.  To cheer myself up, I should watch a romantic comedy and eat a whole pint of Haagen Daaz while I gab to my best gay on the phone. But enough about my delicate female emotions! (It’s that time of the month you know—the time when it finally sinks in that the Giants have really won the World Series.)

On to the lady pimps!

Moll Flanders from The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe

Style: Sassy Chic, or a “Sexy Convict” Halloween costume.

Type: Street Wise Lady

Best Line:”Why, you shut the door against any honest woman accepting you, for you condemn all that should venture upon you at once, and conclude, that really a woman that takes you now can’t be honest.”

"Let's play beer pong!"--Excerpt from "The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders"

When I was young, I read this book while other girls were reading Sweet Valley High. I read SVH too, but often wondered how much more popular Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield would have been if they slept their way to the top.

Moll’s no prude. She will do whatever it takes to pull herself out of the limited sphere women lived in during the 18th century (She’d also beat the shit out of any chick who touched Todd Wilkins. Grow a spine, Jessica Wakefield!).  This includes getting into an array of things, such as thievery or her brother’s bed (whoops!). As Cher from Clueless would say “My bad!” And so Moll Flanders does, each time she commits a naughty deed.

Yes, Moll Flanders is the definition of V.C. Andrew’s unpublished novella A Very Bad Night in Las Vegas. But throughout it all, Moll is having a grand old time. And she knows her actions are more cross-eyed than the straight and narrow. But hey, there aren’t many options for a girl who was born in Newgate Prison.

So if Moll Flanders is the style you want to emulate, the rules are simple: “No rules!” Get ’em girl!

Upside:  Awesome to party with.
Downside: Will abandon someone with her thousands of children.

Becky Sharp from Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

"Is that a 20 dollar bill in your wallet? You'll be happy to see me if you just hand it over."--Excerpt from "Vanity Fair"

Style: Five-finger discount at Nordstrom

Type: Manipulative Hottie

Best Line: “Revenge may be wicked, but it’s natural.”

Why are so many lady-pimps from satires? See, this is an excellent example of what happens when a woman is allowed to think. Where is an overlord to suppress my dangerous thoughts?!

Speaking of thinking, Becky Sharpe does that. A lot. Armed with only her brain and quick wit, Becks climbs the social ladder and hocks a loogie on everyone on the way up. Becky Sharpe is always referred to as the “anti-heroine” aka “not boring.” This is a chick you want to go have a drink with, instead of hanging out with Pamela at the local Starbucks while she cries about Mr. B (seriously, Pamela, dump him!).

The Becky Sharpe mantra is simple: verbally attack others with the precision of an assault rifle. Also roll your eyes. A lot.

Upside: Stellar smack talker
Downside: Cheats at cards

Clarice Starling from Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

"Intelligent. Precise. Pantene Pro-V."--Description of Clarice Starling from "Silence of the Lambs"

Style: Handgun

Type: Cool as a cucumber

Best Line: “Yes sir.”

So, Clarice is probably the “tamest” of the Lady-Pimps. She rarely gets her freak on, but girl does not need to put her freak-em suit on to make men like Jack Crawford and Hannibal Lecter to take notice (or, in the case of Buffalo Bill, an urge to scalp all night long).

If you want to be a Clarice Starling type, you need to be open to applying your wiles to, let us just say, a certain “type” of man (workaholic, alcoholic, or murderholic). Think of it this way: while other lady-pimps are trying their game with normal guys, you are giving your attention to men who will readily welcome you with open hearts (on knives). Just make sure the guy you are trying to score with cleans up his apartment before you drop by. No need to get tangled up in being a witness for the prosecution. Pimp gotta shop!

Upside: Loves the outdoors.
Downside: Girl, you got nightmares!

Rogue from X-Men

"Only a woman with a dark past could look this good." Excerpt from "Uncanny X-Men: The Make Believe Edition"

Style: Spandex

Type: Uh, superhero?

Best Line: “Truth is, sugar…once you’ve had three or four personalities at a time runnin’ in yer skull…altered states of reality become second nature. If y’all weren’t in such bad shape…ah’d actually be enjoyin’ this!”

Wow, Rogue is awesome. But she also has secrets. So being Rogue involves some moping, plus a bit of fiery self-righteousness that men will find sexy, but eventually tiresome when they realize you are not down for some bang-bang-bang. That’s right, lady-pimps, Rogue is abstinent, which means you must be too. Yup, no hanky-panky unless you take a trip to space and your powers are disabled, or you find yourself getting very creative with Saran wrap. This means you are going to have to work extra hard to keep those male fools eating out of your skull crushing hands. So do what Rogue would do: wear cutoffs (shirt optional).

Upside:  Saucy Southern accent
Downside: Has met Dazzler

Julia from Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

"This umbrella is for dude slapping."--Excerpt from "Brideshead Revisted"

Style: First Lady

Type: Classy, with a dash of hot sauce

Best Line:”I’m glad about the roses. Frankly, they were … a shock. They made me think we were starting the day on quite the wrong footing.”

Are you poised and somewhat distant? Are you family-oriented? Would you totally slam dunk your brother’s male ex-lover? Then Julia is the Lady for you!

Remember, to be a Julia you have to be patient. You are a cobra, waiting for the perfect time to strike your next victim, as he gazes at your brother’s finely muscled bottom. As a Julia, you won’t mind sloppy seconds, especially since the dudes you go for are artistic types, and who the hell knows where those freaks have been? Men will naturally love you because you are scared to love, but ready to bone.

Upside: Lives in a kick ass residence.
Downside: Probably inbred.

Lady Susan from Lady Susan by Jane Austen

"Dear Reginald: I look forward to when I may view you without pants."--Excerpt from "Lady Susan"

Style: Kohl’s Juniors Section

Type: MILTD (Mom I’d Like to Take to Dinner)

Best Line: “I have been called an unkind mother, but it was the sacred impulse of maternal affection, it was the advantage of my daughter that led me on; and if that daughter were not the greatest simpleton on earth, I might have been rewarded for my exertions as I ought.”

The young lady-pimp can look up to Lady Susan as a sexual matriarch to aspire to. Being a Lady Susan means being able to juggle men as well as juggling household duties, while also maintaining that your children know what is good for them. (Whether that means by leading through example or manipulation, whatever you have time for as your nails dry).

Being a Lady Susan leads to the possibility of no one liking you. But hey, in the fictionverse, no one likes a badass chick who doesn’t suffer some consequence (that is of course, unless Judi Dench later plays her in a film adaptation).

Upside: doesn’t like children
Downside: doesn’t like children

Well, I’m spent. I am so happy this is over with I just want to cry all over these children I just gave birth to. I’ve wasted enough time on this column! Time to get back to my woman’s work, which entails staring out a window with dewy lips, thinking about creating a computer program that can kill giant squids.


Seriously. Eileen really hates giant squids. But she loves talking to dolphins.

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