When goose down is sent a thousand miles, the gift may be light but the sentiment is weighty. – Chinese proverb
OK, I have to admit it; I really, really like getting presents. I would never expect anyone (except for my husband at my birthday and Christmas) to give me a present, and I’m always careful to let anyone who might decide to get me one know that. And as anyone who knows me in person will tell you, that’s not merely a pose on my part; I don’t say “oh, don’t get me a present” and then become angry when the person doesn’t, nor do I expect gifts at any of the numerous occasions retailers have promoted or even invented throughout the year (though I do quite like when my husband gets me valentines, and yes I keep them). And my feelings toward people don’t change because they do or don’t give me gifts. But that having been said, I still do feel a childlike sense of happiness when somebody thinks enough of me to go out of his way to give me an unexpected gift, or when a seasonal gift turns out to be more thoughtful or generous than expected.
As I’ve written before, clients often give escorts gifts and I still have many of the books, CDs, DVDs and other permanent presents I have received over the years; one regular client brought me a small present of this sort every time he saw me and I think of him every time I watch one of the movies or consult one of the books. But even with that experience, I never really expected my readers to do the same; I set up an Amazon wishlist just in case, but figured it would only come into play occasionally. That, however, was not the case; the first reader to use it was Americanus, who in March sent me a copy of Three Felonies a Day by Harvey Silverglate. Then in August, John Galt sent me a copy of Marc Stevens’ Adventures in Legal Land. That was all until November, when the avalanche started; Ted sent me both Freakonomics and Super Freakonomics, then a reader who prefers to remain anonymous sent me a bonanza: Heterophobia and Professing Feminism by Daphne Patai, A Vindication of the Rights of Whores by Gail Pheterson (editor), America’s War on Sex by Marty Klein, Harmful to Minors byJudith Levine, All or Nothing by Jessica Warner, Go Directly to Jail by Gene Healy and even the movie Klute! Last but definitely not least, just a week before Christmas a small padded envelope containing Music of the Ouled Nail arrived; I had to examine the packing list to see that Krulac sent it (and as you can see if you click that link, he got the last available copy!) I am truly grateful to all of you; your thoughtfulness lets me know that I’m really appreciated, and it touches me in a way I find difficult to express in words (which is saying a great deal).
One thing which I told all the givers, and which I’ll repeat here for all my readers, is that as a librarian and a dyed-in-the-wool used-book store lover, it doesn’t matter to me whether books or CDs you send are used or new; many of the things I like are out of print and can only be obtained used, plus used books often have a certain character. And best of all, they’re cheaper so you can spend the same amount and get more books! Of course, there’s also something to be said for a clean, virginal new book. What I’m trying to say is, I appreciate all of your gifts, whether it’s one item or several, old or new, reasonable or dear. None of you have to send me a thing, so any gift at all is a lovely and thoroughly-appreciated gesture.
Of course, not all gifts are purchased. For example, this summer Dean Clark (who is himself a professional writer) used me as the model for a character in a Sherlock Holmes story he wrote; the lady in question is Holmes’ beautiful and mysterious accompanist in a private concert, and the author hints she might even be “The Woman”, Irene Adler. As if that wasn’t flattering enough, he then had an artist friend illustrate the story, and amazingly the line-drawing of the character based on me ended up looking rather like me! So if any of my other readers are artists, writers, musicians or other creative types and are inspired to use me as a model/inspiration/muse or what-have-you, please feel free; the compliment is very much appreciated.
No post on gifts would be complete without mentioning my Christmas and birthday gifts. Those of you who are married know that after a decade it’s difficult to surprise one’s spouse with a present, but my husband certainly managed it for my birthday; not only did he get me a full-length faux mink coat (which is not only awesome looking but luxuriously warm), he also had a mug made with my “eyes” banner and The Honest Courtesan written beneath. And at Christmas he gave me a lot of small things he knows I like in addition to the first season of Bewitched (a childhood favorite) and dealing with a long-standing house maintenance issue I’ve been dreading having to deal with for months.
One Year Ago Today
“Madame de Pompadour” is a biography of the famous courtesan who was the official mistress of King Louis XV and exerted a powerful influence over the arts and letters of her time.