I have been pondering myself. Though I am usually given to studying the gluten free content of almost everything and worrying about how to remove Alice’s greasy paw prints from the teeny little windows of my house, today, instead, I have been pondering myself. Sitting in Mum’s living room surrounded by the chaos that is one Mum, one sister, two boys and one baby, navel gazing.
This isn’t easy. Not least because I am something of a control freak and rather need complete silence and no human interaction at all in order to get any thunking done at all, but also because despite my instinctive need for solitude, I remain a member of a family and families rather demand one’s presence and willingness to take part with family things come each and every half term.
So thunking today has been a particular challenge and though I am not my favorite own subject, there comes a time when one must scratch away the silver surface of the mirror to see exactly what is going on behind one’s own scenes. And that time my friends is now. While the sadness I felt yesterday has vanished as if it never existed, I am left with a hole that yearns to be filled with joyful little somethings.
I have come to the conclusion you see that I am a seeker of pleasure and that anything that stands in my way of pleasure (diet, structure, common sense, reasonable bedtimes, men, non-alcoholic beverages, etc, etc) is nothing more of an inconvenience.
I do not care for wisdom, discipline or beneficial routine: I want songs that will sweep me away on a cloud. Flowers with perfume enough to fill the whole room. A necklace that makes me smile. Paragraphs that make me swoon. Kisses that make me giggle. Violet cremes, good rhioja, shoes with happy little bows, whimsical little tokens of good luck to tuck into my bra, art I can see myself in, chocolate cookies still warm from the oven, The Sunday Times Style magazine, five course feasts, the peaceful pleasure of meditation, long oily hot baths, postcards stuffed into mirror frames, bourbon on ice, impractical arrangements on the mantle-piece, towels that look lovely in the bathroom but will be used only under the threat of death, back rubs, Anais de Nin, feather stuffed mattress toppers, diaries filled with self-indulgent mutterings, candles everywhere, musk oil rubbed into my temples, gin cocktails, texts that make me smile, heels so high I cannot walk, gypsy hoops in my ears, Essays In Love, stacks of notebooks just for scrawling biro-pen flowers in, pink cherry flavored lemonade, afternoons in bed, pure absolute comfort… all of it good for nothing and essential to my very way of being.
I am a Quaintrelle: a woman who emphasizes a life of passion, expressed through personal style, leisurely pastimes, charm and cultivation of life’s pleasures. I am a somebody who has spectacularly failed to understand that sense and morals and structure and order, personal deprivation, manipulation and postponed gratification all have a place in the lives of most women. That not all of us wake up with our pleasure-seeking sensors on red alert. That some people see pleasure as a reward, not a right. A thank-you for emotional, financial and vocational responsibility. That some women are really rather excellent at depriving themselves of pleasure and never knowingly seek joy merely for the sake of it.
I don’t know what is worse. This permanent pursuit of pleasure of mine or the failure by many other women to acknowledge all that is joyous matters. I feel something akin to disdain for the joyless, and they I am absolutely sure, feel something akin to disgust at those of us who are Quaintrelles: undisciplined, pleasure-seeking, self-indulgent fools.
Though today is the day I start the search for a saner middle ground, this m’dears is your very own Quaintrelle at your service, signing out so she can go bury herself in slobbery baby kisses, steal Milky Bar buttons and sip a glass of glorious red wine just because she can.