I was wandering up Castro Street in that sort of aimless way which is such an important part of my charm when I bumped into our old friend Gaye. We caught up, which was easy for my part since I am a Lady of Leisure and thus the answer to “What have you been up to?” tends to brief in the extreme. Gaye then enthused about a documentary she was off to see about minimalism. She went on at some length about the importance of unburdening oneself when I finally interrupted to remind her that she and her husband own two homes, one of which is actually a compound, comprising a main house, two guest cottages, a barn, a shed of indeterminate purpose, and a pond. A motherfucking pond. Gaye had the grace to look sheepish.
I am no real fan of minimalism, Oh, maybe in museums or gas stations, but as for home decor or a mode of living, no thanks. I think all gay men of my generation can remember being hit with both barrels of decorating restraint in the 80s and I, for one, am still reeling. Severe bleached wood floors, chilly white walls and the ambiance of an operating theatre. Sex in those environs always carried with it the pleasant frisson of despoiling something, but then after, finding a towel to wipe up with was such an hassle.
True to my inner old dowager, I like stuff. Tchotckes on tables, pillows on sofas, nice things for the cat to fuck up. Stupid cat. Not to the level of madness that Victorian spinsters hit, or some of the queens I have known who had to dust with dental floss to squeeze between all the bibelots, but still, some stuff.
I try to be mindful that too much knickknackery is a dead giveaway sign of having crossed over into old poofhood, so the other day when Secret Agent Fred dropped by and asked “What is that thing rolled up in the hall? Is it a dead body?” I briefly considered going with the corpse angle to hide my shame. In the end, though, I had to admit the truth. “I might have bought another rug,” I said. Airily. Fred wondered where a new rug was going. I assured him if I moved three of the existing ones around, everything would be fine. That’s when I started to wonder if I have a problem. Is there a home decor intervention in my future? Is there redecorator rehab?
In my defense, let me point out it is a gorgeous piece. In the late 1920s up until World War II shuttered them, there were several rug weavers in Shanghai that created these stunning rugs in odd, vibrant colors and charming pictoral designs like pagodas and lanterns and bamboos.
This one is the most beautiful tones of chartreuse and lavender and the design is something that I think is a geyser and a parrot, dahlias, and lotus. Obviously, I had to have it. And this is the LAST ONE. I swear.