The Pink Agendist

by E.B. de Mas, reachable at:

Tag: friends

Admitting defeat & letting go


I saw this cartoon on WEIT last week and found it quite poignant. No, Mike and I aren’t separating :) This is a friend-related post. To be more precise it’s about knowing when it’s time to let friends go. I think it’s human nature to try to hold on- despite the evidence that may not be a good idea. Life changes, priorities change, circumstances change and sometimes certain things just don’t work any more. I’ve always been very good at drawing a line under situations and moving on. It’s harder when people are very insistent and refuse to cooperate in saying goodbye. 

I feel a certain measure of guilt for not having the same sort of sentimental attachments that other people have- but I just don’t. I also feel guilty because rejection hurts people. In a perfect world, things like this wouldn’t be taken personally. After all, some people love pineapple and other people don’t. That some people dislike it doesn’t mean pineapple is bad, just that it’s not to some people’s taste. 

I’m also/always surprised at some people’s inclination to wishful thinking/self-deception. Things rarely happen like in the cartoon above. Rather, it seems to me, people hold on to the idealization of relationships. The fantasy version that exists only in one’s mind. This is particularly true when there’s an imbalance of powers, when dependency on the relationship is one-sided. As another friend explained to me this morning, this is a natural reaction. It concerns the justification of the self. In certain cases it also concerns the justification of bad behaviour. 



Sunday Lunch & A Roundup

We were invited out to lunch yesterday. Then we all ended up back at the house for coffee. Then that turned into cheese and wine as the afternoon progressed, then that turned into an improvised dinner. Mike says I’m like a pushy drug-dealer, but for parties instead of drugs- c’mon, just have one more drink. After I get the ball rolling down the hill, it’s very hard to stop :) At the end of the evening I was distributing paracetamol and milk-thistle. That’s my anti-hangover cocktail, always works for me.

It was a beautiful day, very bright sky, so I wore light colours. I did a terrible job at ironing my shirt, which I only realized when I took this picture, hence the stern look:


French cuffs have to be very properly ironed, or they look stupid. The Spanish irises I planted a few months back are starting to flower. They’re stunning, I should have planted many more:



Saturday I got a picture of the place I’m working on. The living room needs more colour, which I’ve been saying all along. The coral needs to be echoed throughout the room- but other than that I think it looks lovely.



A bit of everything: Sara Montiel, friends & politics. Fourteen years, and then there was silence

Sara Montiel on screen with Gary Cooper in "Vera Cruz"✰Sara Montiel died this week. She was the first Spanish actress to really make it in Hollywood. Her big break was Vera Cruz with Gary Cooper. After that she became an icon of Spanish cinema. She was very much a gay icon and a popular choice of character for Spanish drag queens. Including Almodóvar’s choice for Gael García Bernal’s character in La Mala Educación.

She was absolutely stunning:

sara montiel

✰My oldest friend of all time sent me an email yesterday. Her name is Bianca and she’s really solely responsible for me having made it through adolescence. I was very much detached from my family and unwilling to integrate with the world. Her company and support kept me sane. She’s exceptionally intelligent and always made a point of making me feel like I was a worthwhile human being. We used to communicate on a very regular basis no matter where we were even after we were both married. Then she got pregnant and I had an emotional hissy fit when I realized that her son would probably have priority over me :) I think I may be over the jealousy, as about five years have passed- but I’m not 100% sure. I may one day tell her son that he stole her from me! Usurper.

✰Good news on the banking/mortgage crisis in Spain. At least here in Andalusia. The autonomous government has passed a law to discourage evictions. It goes quite far in that the government has the right to ‘temporarily expropriate’ a home for up to 3 years in the cases of evictions of families that are at risk of social exclusion. I’d note that most people being evicted are probably at risk of social exclusion… It’s a start and might make the central government think about the issue in a more compassionate way. It will also make bankers think twice since up to now, it was in their interest in some cases to go for an early foreclosure, keep the money paid and then hold on to the property to re-sell it when the market improves. A win-win-win that was incredibly unfair.

Okay, maybe I didn't do it on a canoe.

Okay, maybe I didn’t do it on a canoe.

✰I ventured out into the world on my own when it was first legal for me to do so, at the age of 21. That was fourteen years ago. Every year since, there have been attempts at contact from my family around the time of my birthday. Methods vary, although it’s invariably unpleasant. Recriminations, resentment, guilt-trips, drama- all things I generally try to avoid. This year is the first ever in which I’ve been granted respite. Peace in the form of silence. I remember having a terrible argument with my father when I was a boy:

“Too bad you don’t like it. I’m your father and I’m going to be a part of your life until the day I die”

I grinned, somewhat knowingly.

“No you’re not. Once I’m an adult, I will be able to choose who is and isn’t a part of my life.”

I was right.

Exhausted and it’s only January. Sod’s Law

We tested everything in the guest wing for my cousin’s arrival on Wednesday. Wouldn’t you know… the water heater wasn’t working and something was wrong with the central heating. Now we’re scrambling to get everything fixed in time. I also have an appointment with the dentist on Monday, something I avoid like the plague- but I have a crown that’s loose.

I’m a bit exhausted by work. Mentally and physically. It’s very hard to keep everything in order in my head and still drink the amount I drink. I found someone who makes some rather beautiful tapestries from antique saris. We’re going to have one mounted on wood to hang over the sofa in the house I’m working on.



Glorious beading


I’m also working on a Yixing tea-pot. It belongs to the same person who brought me the Böttger coffee pot that I mentioned a little while back. Both will probably be going to auction in London. It’s also worth quite a bit for such a little thing.



Yesterday we put the big mirror up in the larger living room. If you look at it from one sofa it reflects the big painting. From the other it reflects the pool- quite nice. I think we might keep it after all. I know when I say ‘I just want to see how it looks in the house’, Mike thinks I do it as a ploy to bring more stuff into the house (which he thinks is already over-furnished)- but it genuinely wasn’t- at least not consciously. I’ll put some pictures up later. We’re going out to lunch at a friend’s place. An apartment in the marina. Yesterday we were discussing communal living again. Our friend who was going to come live here for a while last year, but then didn’t because their place didn’t get rented, might be coming if they get renters this year. I’m feeling positive about it. There are parts of the house we never use. Some I honestly only see once or twice a year and even then it’s just to clean. What’s the point of all this empty space when it could be helpful to someone?

A New Year’s Message. My Favourite Thing in the World.

A couple of nights ago we were sitting by the fire. I was flanked by Morgan and Bessie and Rudy was nesting under Mike’s arm. Mike had his kindle in hand and I had my sketch book and was working on ‘my project‘. We looked like this:

memorganbessie mikerudy

As we sat there Mike was talking about Rudy’s enthusiasm for life. He wakes up and you can see from his expression he thinks getting up is his favourite thing in the world. Then having breakfast is his favourite thing in the world. Then taking a walk is his favourite thing in the world. Then sitting on the sofa is his favourite thing- and as the day goes on he just keeps going with the most wonderful attitude imaginable (until he collapses in exhaustion). As I’m particularly prone to getting obsessed with the minutiae of life and anxieties- I’m hoping to take a page from Rudy’s book this year. I digress- I looked around the room in detail (as I do every room I enter) and thought: ‘This is nice‘. Then, I thought: ‘One day I want to have a life just like this’. Then the coin dropped. I need to breathe and enjoy. Breathe. Enjoy. Breathe. Enjoy. There’s nowhere else I need to be, nowhere I have to go. No one else I need to become. Breathe. Enjoy. Breathe. Et pui je fume.

In any event- Happy New Year to all. I’ve met some great people around here (mentioned below in no particular order!) -so to them: do accept my best wishes and thanks for your kindness.

Ricky, Colin, FreePennyPress, Clare Flourish, Carolina Courtland, Vickie Lester, Metan, Madd Suspicions, FoolsMusings, ACflory, JohntheAussie, Makagutu, Lucianus, Cassie being Cassie, MyFrenchHeaven, Joe, Dr. Karen Rayne, Melanie, Dawn Landau etc… (and those are just the ones I can remember without having to go through a list, if you weren’t mentioned that doesn’t mean I’m rejecting you, just that my head is currently spinning a bit and I have a ton of work to do even though it’s the last day of the year!)

A Downtown Sort of Season. Saving Houses.

First, let me ruin Downton Abbey for Americans who get it after we do. Matthew and Mary are married. Sybil got left at the altar. The girl who married the chauffeur is back because he misbehaved in Ireland and they had to run away. They almost lost the house, but an unlikely inheritance then saved it. Nothing interesting is happening downstairs except that there’s a new good-looking footman. The story lines are significantly less plausible and much less historically accurate than in the first series. I presume it’s an effort to make it more popular.

I was up ’til 5 am last night. It was supposed to be just tapas and drinks on the terrace at 6:30 pm… but then we got carried away.

An exceedingly elegant lady called today. ‘There are people interested in renting my place for 6 to 12 months. Could I spend a season or two with you?’- she asked. It’ll save the house for a time- she said. I made an executive decision without asking Mike and said yes. After explanations he agreed it was the correct thing to do. People have to help people. When we had financial troubles people were extremely generous and helped us maintain a certain level of dignity. We must do the same. I wonder if she’ll bring the painting by ____. It would look perfect on my walls. You can’t leave things like that at the mercy of renters. It could go in the tower or in the main living room. Both places have walls big enough to take it. I’d be in an absolute panic if I had to leave my furniture and art behind at the mercy of people who might not care for it properly. I explained there may be weddings in the gardens coming. She said she’s used to it. Final confirmation will be on Saturday, then the move would come 10 days after that. I do hope it works out. The place that’s ‘being saved‘ is glorious. Right on the water. I spent many drunken evenings there in the old days when I was social and willing to travel. This crisis is really taking its toll on people from every sector of society. Thoroughly unpleasant. We’ve never had people around for very long, but I imagine the house is big enough to allow for some degree of privacy. She’ll have her own living room, kitchen and suite. Mike says we must set certain limits or there’s a risk of all of us spending months in an alcoholic haze. Maybe we should institute 2 no alcohol days per week during the stay. We could try that 4% alcohol wine too. That should at least slow us down.

On (my) Insensitivity. German Visitations

I wrote something rather flippant yesterday for which I apologize. I deleted it after an hour and a half of having posted it. I think no matter how much one reads, watches the news or has a sense of the world, our vision can always be skewed by our personal experience. My observations on membership in the 5% rather than the 1% were inane. I imagine the result of ‘the bubble’. We all have our different versions of bubbles, but some are considerably more segregated than others. If one couples that with egocentrism, even the mild, natural variety, insensitivity is sure to follow.

During the week I talked about people being trained into dishonesty to grease the wheels of social interaction, in that vein we’re also trained to rationalize. It’s much easier to live in the splendid isolation of tall gates and high walls than to have to permanently consider the unfairness of the world or how by mere accident of birth some end up in developed countries whilst others are born to war, poverty and hunger. For me it leads to an almost permanent sense of guilt which I have to work hard to put to the back of my mind and I do that by trying to keep my mind busy- or simply averting my eyes. You learn to do that very young when you spend time in developing countries or in big cities. I don’t even like those Oxfam commercials where they show children.

Rationalization is a necessary part of growing up with privilege. Otherwise it becomes very difficult for the pensive child to reconcile the fact that he lives in a home where there’s more staff than family members. I suppose some may never even think about it; But as we moved from one country to the next in my childhood, sometimes in a country with limited help, sometimes in another with what seemed like an army of help, I was forced into considering (and mentally confronting) the unfair nature of life itself. A painful experience. I think I’m not entirely capable of doing it (at least not all the time), hence I’ve ended up surrounded by people not dissimilar from those I grew up with- perhaps a tad less grand. Speaking of which we had a visit last night for after dinner drinks. Our German friends arrived with wine and something I’d never tried before, a rosemary cake. Absolutely wonderful. We sat on the terrace and talked and drank ’til late. We joked about pooling resources and buying a huge chateau together to grow old in. We talk about it often, but we’ll never actually do it. _____ heard about a wonderful Italian vineyard that she wants to rent next July, she wanted to know if we’d go. As much as I like her, I don’t really want to travel or leave the dogs alone for too long, so I said maybe, which actually means no.

Sundays in Sotogrande. A Most Charming Little Girl.

The doorbell rang earlier and we weren’t expecting anyone so it was a surprise. Mike came back to the study telling me someone had a gift for me. It was a beautifully packaged, dead ladybug.

I shall make sure to return the bowl to Mademoiselle de Broglie’s mother later. It was a lovely gift, but I’m under the impression the mademoiselle had a plan, because suddenly she was outside in the garden.

then she found the Kong toy

and threw it at my head

Morgan exhausted her playing tug of war. Or, she exhausted him.

So she found her way into my study, got her tiny little hands on the remote control, and found cartoon channels that I didn’t even know we had. I don’t mind feet on the leather sofa.

Then mademoiselle wanted a sandwich. Not any sandwich, absolutely not tuna. It had to be a panini, goat-cheese and cheddar. She also wanted olives and a glass of milk. I’m unsure of the worthiness of the combination, but I obliged.

It’s now 8:05, and mademoiselle’s mother came to pick her up for dinner.