You can have respect without love, but you cannot have love without respect.
Sooner or later, you are likely to encounter an interesting man who does not seem to fit the usual classifications of jobs and professions. He does not seem to actually work anywhere, yet he is well dressed and obviously has lots of money. He talks a lot about business, but what business and where it is located is very vague. Generally, all he will explain is that he has some business to take care of—business that keeps happening outside of business hours and ordinary offices. Exotic trips happen or carefully planned trips are called off or postponed for no apparent reason. General questions are met with a blank look; detailed questions are met with a blank wall. It should not take long for someone to figure out that what is involved here is what Grandma would have referred to as something shady.
The man who is reputed to have underworld connections or who simply has an unsavory reputation or who lives well with no visible means of support is not considered by the conventional world to be respectable and so is not socially acceptable. Even if he does not look like the stereotype of a gangster, if there seems to be a strong possibility that he actually is a gangster, then your role as his woman, or even as merely his close friend, places you in the role of gun moll.
Some of your acquaintances may find that exotic position to be interesting or titillating, but others will assume that by associating with known criminals, you must yourself have criminal sympathies if not actual criminal inclinations. Most likely, you will find that with a lover from the mob, your social connections are restricted to others who live in the same milieu. He can take you into the demimonde much more readily than you can take him into the company of law-abiding wage earners. Once you are known to have such notorious companions, you may yourself be less welcome if you later wish to return to your more conventional friends.
The underworld is vast and nebulous and operates by quite different rules than the ordinary world. If you are going to accept the many benefits of life on the fringes of respectability, which include for a start the avoidance of routine and access to a ready supply of money, then you must come to terms with the fact that it probably is better that you do not know exactly where the money comes from or what it is for.
A woman I know who was associated with a professional gambler was quite enthusiastic when he was on a winning streak—and quite derogatory when he started to lose. If you accept what men like this have to offer you, you do not necessarily have to take part, but you have to accept the morality of what they are doing. And you do have to accept the drawbacks as well as the advantages.
You must remember that the man of respect demands just that: respect. If you believe in capital punishment for evil persons who sell soft or hard drugs to teenagers because you think that it is a sin, then you had best back off unambiguously and quickly.
It is also important to remember that men in the underworld, even those on the fringes of the underworld, are used to breaking rules and to getting what they want. Often, they will be more territorial with “their” women than will men who are upstanding citizens, and they are often more ready to turn to violence as an expression of their feelings or as a way of enforcing their demands. There is also the potential danger of “being in the wrong place at the wrong time” with him.
The lover in the mob may be exciting, but he can also be dangerous.
- With ‘Mob Wives’: Silent Partners No Longer (nytimes.com)
- Silent Partners No Longer (query.nytimes.com)
- Crazed Breivik was my lover (thesun.co.uk)