The word "pander", meaning to "pimp" is derived from Pandarus, a licentious figure who facilitates the affair between the protagonists in Troilus and Criseyde, a poem by Geoffrey Chaucer. Pandarus appears with a similar role in Shakespeare's interpretation of the story, Troilus and Cressida.The image at the top is Vermeer's portrayal of The Procuress.
The plot function of the aging lech Pandarus in Chaucer's and Shakespeare's famous works has given rise to the English terms a pander (in later usage a panderer), from Chaucer, meaning a person who furthers other people's illicit sexual amours; and to pander, from Shakespeare, as a verb denoting the same activity. A panderer is, specifically, a bawd — a male who arranges access to female sexual favors, the manager of prostitutes. Thus, in law, the charge of pandering is an accusation that an individual has sold the sexual services of another. The verb "to pander" is also used in a more general sense to suggest active or implicit encouragement of someone's weaknesses.
The woman in black, the leering coupler, "in a nun's costume", could be the eponymous procuress, while the man to her right, "wearing a black beret and a doublet with slashed sleeves", has been identified as a self portrait of the artist.Pandering/pimping is in the news this week because a Stanford graduate publicly proclaimed her allegiance to the Iowa team in the Rose Bowl matchup, a few weeks before the Iowa Republican primary.
She later tried to retract the statement by claiming it was expressed "tongue-in-cheek." Her several hundred supporters in Iowa will probably accept that.