The Hunt for the Mantress

Lately, I’ve been on a kick to find good words to use as slurs against men, such as bitch, cunt, whore, slut, etc.  Specifically, I wanted terms that don’t stem from female roots, such as son of a bitch or douche bag, but carry the same weight, mainly to satisfy my curiosity about how many words exist that don’t also demean women in the same breath that they are used to insult men.

Name calling generates a lot of interest on Facebook and Twitter, apparently, because I was supplied with a number of good options, most notably jerk and asshole. I’m still not sure that these are quite as cutting of a name as the female options I listed above, but they do serve the purpose.

Friday, on NPR, I listened to an interview with a woman who chronically has affairs. It struck me, as she referred to herself as a mistress, that she hadn’t actually called the men with whom she cheated anything equivalent to that word (both parties were often married). The fourth definition of mistress, which is how I am exploring the word, as found in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate 11, is a woman other than his wife with whom a married man has a continuing sexual relationship. So I asked my friends and tweeps if they knew of a word for a man other than her husband with whom a married woman has a continuing sexual relationship.  And you gave me plenty of suggestions but I’m still not sure if any of them capture quite the same thing as mistress:

  • mister
  • manwhore
  • mimbo
  • lover/luvah
  • boytoy
  • kept man
  • sancho (Spanish, so it’s cheating)

There were also some great joke options:

  • mattress
  • pool boy
  • not for you (from my husband)

My sister also pointed me to this article on Daily Writing Tips that discusses the same subject and offers gigolo as a possibility but like kept man, that word doesn’t imply adultery in the same way that mistress does, in my opinion. I’m not sure myself, but I’m thinking kept man is probably the closest option of these.  What do you think, dear reader? Are any of these good male approximations of mistress? Do you have something else to add to the list?

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