The Untold Story of Davos Mistresses

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The annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos is the tycoon equivalent of sleepaway camp, except the bug juice is Moët and the campfire stories all involve globalization. And while there's no girl economic forum going on one ski resort over, author Anya Schiffrin (covering the conference for Reuters) says attendees are hardly starved for female companionship. (Whether they're starved for female peers is another matter entirely.) Schiffrin separates the women of Davos into three groups: wives, mistresses, and aspiring mistresses. Seen together, they represent "the hangers-on, the bottom feeders of the great circus that is the World Economic Forum." Upon closer examination, Schiffrin says, each group is subject to varying degrees of shabby treatment. have a look:


[E]veryone at Davos has to wear a name tag and these are color coded by status/occupation (speaker, organizer, journalist etc). Usually these name tags include some kind of affiliation, such as the company or organization you work for. But wives’ name tags state only their name. This means there is nothing on it that could help a stranger strike up a conversation...If you don’t use your husband’s name then you are guaranteed virtual anonymity.


If wives have it bad, mistresses, who are invited under a variety of guises and usually wind up with a white name tag, have it worse. Typically their men are swallowed up by a tsunami of meetings and interviews and don’t have the time or inclination to take their mistresses around with them. Often these men go to high-level dinners to which wives and mistresses are not invited. The skinny and beautifully dressed Davos Mistress typically hangs around the auditoriums waiting for a couple of minutes with her man. While waiting, she keeps her eyes peeled looking to search and destroy the competition.
Big dinners and the Saturday night soiree present another ugly dilemma for the Davos Mistress. If her man does not want to take her or has to go to a small working dinner, she faces a quandary. Does she go to the gala and hope to find another man, one who could perhaps become a boyfriend who will eventually marry her? Unseemly as it is to trawl for new prospects while officially at Davos as a companion to her man, it makes sense to use the World Economic Forum as a place to find a better boyfriend. Does she go back to the hotel room and simply wait for her man to return? Or does she find a gay friend and get him to take her out in the evenings? Many a Davos mistress has suffered greatly from her ambiguous position.

Aspiring Mistresses

The only thing worse than a white pass, is no pass. Rumor has it (heard first-hand from more than one jealous Davos Mistress) that there are legions of women — let’s call them the aspiring mistresses — who do not get a coveted Davos invitation and badge and so can not enter the Congress Centre but who come anyway. They book a hotel room and prowl the streets hoping to snare their prey. They are the worst enemies of the Davos Mistress.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.