If you’ve ever despaired that “muse” is not an actual job you can live off of, take heart: According to Craigslist Paris, it is!
A totally nice and not at all creepy sounding man (pictured) has posted an ad looking for a woman to come live with him in his “exquisite little 17th century garret,” and it sounds like a pretty good deal, minus him. As Craigslist is an ephemeral beast, I’ve reproduced the whole thing here with the best parts bolded, and a few italicized additions of my own:
450ft² – COME BE MY MUSE IN PARIS (Paris – Rue de la Huchette)
Looking for lodging in Paris which combines a challenge with a way to get fluent in French? [What is the challenge?]
COME BE MY MUSE IN PARIS.
Move in with me in my exquisite little 17th century garret, where you will share the privilege of living on sacred ground and awakening to the heavenly sounds of the bells of Notre Dame.
As my muse, your task will be to inspire me to draw, to write, to sing, act, and invent. These are all things I have done well in the past and which I continue to master today, but my work would be even more powerful and amazing with a muse to
inspire me [watch me masturbate], and to share the rewards as they come in.
I’m not the kind that brags [you brag like a hundred times in this ad, dude], au contraire, but I have to state that I am a kind, senior, sympathetic, well-read, cultured, very polite, positive, not-bad-looking [compared to most Johns] fellow with a good voice and a wide range of skills to keep him busy, and not at all fussy or difficult to live with. Au contraire. [Copyediting: repetitive.]
I have everything I need except the most essential: a really positive and creative being [broke young woman] to share my space and my life.
Minimum stay: 2 weeks.
Maximum stay: To be determined.
No long-term commitment is required — just sharing this space and inspiring its tenant to higher levels of creative work and
You don’t have to be cultured, intellectual, young, gorgeous, talented, or sophisticated, just by nature gentle, considerate and respectful. You do have to love art, literature, theater, and classical music and believe that the arts are mankind’s most important achievement and activity. [I can hear this guy’s voice in my head, and he sounds like the theater people from the “Community Theater” episode of Party Down. How many times a day do you think he calls something “resplendent”?]
You must participate in the household expenses. [How is the muse supposed to do this when her full-time job is being a muse? Must the muse take on a second job at the post office?]
A pleasant modulated voice is a plus. [No shrieking harpies!]
LODGING: A very quiet bedroom with a very comfortable bed — in a historic charming, 17th century garret on the most historic and exciting street on the Left Bank.
LOCATION: The very center of Paris, Degree Zero. Everything within walking distance. Beauty in every direction when you step out the door. The Seine a few steps away. FOOD: I will share with you my skills in the kitchen. I love to cook for my muse and any artist friends who drop in.
ENTERTAINMENT: I can read you my (not to brag) extraordinary plays (doing all the voices) or parts of any of my nine [self-published] books, or sing pleasantly enough to brighten your day. [His previous muse was a five-year-old.]
GUIDE: I know Paris as few guides do, and I show my muse a Paris more beautiful than you can image.
COMPANIONSHIP: I’m a raconteur. An ex-seaman, I love telling tales. I’ve lived in 18 lands, and have endless tales to tell of the wonderful places I have been and seen. [Has he been to the Orient? How about the West Indies??]
HUMOR: I can make you laugh. I run a good-humored establishment. [You’ve certainly done a good job so far.]
RELAXATION: This 17th century dwelling is a haven of peace and relaxation.
SLEEP: You will sleep better here than you ever have before, and unwind from stresses that you may have faced elsewhere. [Besides the stress of wondering if you’ll wake up to this raconteur jerking off in your face, that is.]
MASSAGE: I was taught Japanese massage by a Nisai and usually pass on this skill to my muse. (This is a strictly non-erotic Japanese technique for well-being.) [Muses carry a lot of tension in their boobs.]
FLUENCY: Muse receives unlimited free language lessons with (not to brag) the most enjoyable method on earth. [WHICH IS WHAT? Just say you want a sugar baby, for fucksake.] English, French, Italian, or German.
BEAUTY and SELF-APPRECIATION: Not to brag, but I’ll take pictures of you that will reveal to you for the first time in your life just how beautiful you are. [All my life, I’ve been waiting for an elderly raconteur to come along and make me feel pretty.]
ART: I will take you to the best art, music, sculpture, and theater in the city. [Take me to the sculpture! Take me to it!]
PEOPLE: You’ll meet some of my talented and fascinating friends… scientists, artists, writers, and inventors of great talent. [“I am really into steampunk.”]
Free lessons in French, German, or Italian, or English.
If you care to, send a recent photo and a CV or a few paragraphs about yourself, and date you would be available.
So how ’bout it, ladies? Any takers?
Like I’ve said before, the thing that creeps me out about this type of arrangement is that it requires one person (usually a woman, because patriarchy) to not just do things for the other person, but pretend to like him for an extended period of time, a type of emotional labor I find far more off-putting than the more short-term and clearly defined labor of sex work. And while we’re on the topic, this seems like a John in resplendent denial about the fact that he’s a John. Maybe it’s possible, but I have a hard time believing a man would pay a woman to spend time with him and expect absolutely nothing in the way of sexual favors. Why else would he include all that stuff about his looks?
And as nice as it would be to have pictures painted of me, I would not want to actually be a “muse,” because traditionally speaking, a muse a.) is not a real person (at least not in the artist’s eyes), and b.) doesn’t get to create anything of her own. I’ll take being an artist over being a muse any day of the week, thanks.