How Ginger White used her 'charms' to pay her bills

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Cul-de-sac trickin’. That’s what I call it when Ginger White and countless other women like her use their feminine “charms” to pay their middle class bills.

In an intriguing interview with the Daily Beast, White said that she frequently got “help” (money) from men in exchange for going out on dates and at least in the case of her alleged 13-year affair with Herman Cain, having sex. In that same interview however, she scoffs at the idea of essentially being a prostitute.

“I don’t want to be depicted as a woman who sleeps with men for money. I am not that woman. There have been a lot of men who sensed vulnerability and dangled a carrot, but I am not a bad person. I am a loving mother who has always wanted to make her own way and give her kids the best. I never wanted to take a handout, and I’ve said no more times than I said yes.”

Basically, White’s justification for her business-like transactions with men she was dating, boils down to her need to properly take care of her children. She’s a 46-year-old, divorced, single mom who has filed for bankruptcy before, has been evicted numerous times and has found herself wanting for basic things like gas money. When those tough times arose, she used her looks and her body to get what she felt she needed. According to her, the sex wasn’t even mutually stimulating.

“One time we were having sex, and I was looking up at the ceiling, thinking about, ‘What am I going to buy at the grocery store tomorrow? What am I going to do with my kids tomorrow?’”

Replace “we were having sex” with “I was at work” and you get a better idea of her mindset. That is down right depressing. White recounted another time when she cried after having sex with Cain. There are many reasons why one might cry after having sex with Cain, but her tears were likely due to the fact that on some level, she felt like what she was doing was wrong.

It’s easy to criticize White for her actions and judge her for seeming to attach a dollar amount to her body. After all, these were not loving relationships, these were “situations.” A bill was due, so she called Bill. It sounds like a crass way to live, but is White’s behavior really such an aberration?

When you were in college, surely you knew a girl (Maybe it was you!) who was sick of her Ramen Noodle diet and decided to suffer through an awkward date or two with a guy she didn’t really like in hopes that the food would not be as mediocre as the company. People laugh about such situations and it’s not an uncommon occurrence, but when the ante is upped either by age, sexual behavior or dollar amount, such interactions are not fodder for dinner party conversations. It’s done, but not spoken of outside of a whispered story to a sister or close friend.

Women like White who are real life grown ups (not college kids) and struggling to hang on to their middle class lifestyles, may sometimes decide to engage in a mutually beneficial arrangement that sounds like prostitution, may even feel like prostitution afterwards, but it’s so close to traditional dating that it’s easy to rationalize.

The one thing missing from cul-de-sac tricking that would make it more like traditional courtship is a desire for both parties to nurture the positive emotional, spiritual and mental growth of each other. It’s a sterile business transaction instead of a loving give and take. In order for any romantic relationship to work, each person must be willing to give for the sake of giving, not for the expectation of x,y,z in return.

I know several Ginger Whites and though they experience the temporary joy/relief of a bill being paid or the threat of foreclosure removed, it’s a terribly unhappy way to live. Even Ginger White says she intends to never do it again, no matter how dire her circumstances.

Before the economy took a down turn, a woman might brag to her friends about a shiny bauble she got from a new suitor, but now more humble and practical “gifts” like rent or electric bill money are part of those equations. That is embarrassing, not fist bump worthy, to a woman who is used to making her own way.

But it does raise a question. If two consenting adults decide to make what is essentially a private business transaction, should they be allowed to do so without fear of legal or societal repercussions? Should a woman be able to decide if she wants to offer her body in such a way?