Thursday, May 07, 2009

Aestheticism? Is this normal???

Aestheticism: n, an exaggerated devotion to art music or poetry with indifference to practical matters. (The Macquarie Dictionary, 2nd revised Edition)

So I was chatting to a lovely friend yesterday - who I have only known for a few months, but very much like, and I realised, reflecting on the conversation later, that this behaviour of mine , may be strange in some way...

We were talking about accommodation and I was saying how I cannot stay anywhere with a doona cover/ quilt/ bedspread that I don't like - like this:

I don't know this person - photo from here

I could not stay in this hotel because I would be so offended by the ugliness of this bed cover that it would impact on my time on holidays. That's not to say we haven't stayed in ugly places- we have but I always find it a little ghastly... I have also been known to temporarily remove paintings from walls in hotels that I find offensive. Is this normal?

I am obsessively open and close windows when driving ( this driving Chef absolutely mad with what he refers to as fidgeting), this behaviour I refer to as an obsessive need to control my external environment... again, making it pleasing to me...Normal?

When we moved into our house 6 years ago the colour scheme of yellow, with an apricot feature wall was seriously impacting on my mental well- being. Chef couldn't understand the need to paint (we had no toilet at the time- so priorities were different) but it was absolutely driving me to distraction. When we did paint ( Antique White USA) I seriously felt like I had won lotto and moved into my dream home.

my house doesn't really look like this -image from here

I watch SBS News because they employ real journalists and there is no tabloid crap... But I cannot deny that I love Janice Petersons' clothes choices and jewellery- she always looks fabulous, and if I want to be honest with myself I KNOW that is part of the appeal of watching the news ( my own little game of "what will Janice be wearing tonight?") Normal?

images from here

I really love beautiful things, I love to look at them , surround myself with them and when they aren't around I like to talk about them. They don't have to be new things - in fact they usually aren't...If I see a painting I like I can think of nothing else for days and have to go and look at it repeatedly- (generally can't afford to buy it) and I am excited by seeing something I love that much...This perhaps makes me sound really shallow and materialistic - which I know I am not- we live pretty simply and we only recently (thanks K. Rudd) replaced our 25 year old TV. I am by no means a clean freak and I don't have a house that looks like a stylist has been in (again, we had no proper toilet for a year- but more on that another time)..........they also don't have to be things they can be a big old tree, the way the light is coming through the window onto Busy while she is doing a puzzle, or a leaf that is shaped like a heart........but I sometimes wonder if I care too much about beautiful things than is normal. I know some people are more affected by their environment than others and maybe I am just one of those people, but do other people feel like this?

I do have one explanation: I think it has something to do with my job. I work with very troubled people, with very traumatic lives full of disclosures of horrible predators and abuse and ugly stories. I spend my days advocating and for those who can't- so does it not make sense that when I am not at work I want to surround myself with niceness??? pretty things? great clever ideas? nice clothes? good food? beautiful art? lovely books?

Do other people have this affliction?


  1. Hi Cath,
    I really tried not to giggle through this post, but I had to! I can't live with ugly wall colour/doona spreads/wall hangings either! And here's another one - I like to wash clothes by colour. And I don't mean a white wash and a coloured wash. I mean a red tone wash, a green tone wash, a blue tone wash etc. It honestly makes me really happy to sort the clothes into different piles and wait until there is enough for a load, and then hang them up all together. I reckon that makes you seem pretty normal...

  2. PS - thank you so much for the lovely links to my sites!

  3. All sounds perfectly normal to me! Including the coloured wash loads. I do need to be surrounded by beautiful things, not in an extravagant sense, but in an everyday sense and I suspect you will know what I mean. I do worry about my old age though; if I have to go into a retirement home with beige walls and curtains that come from the same place as that doona cover you showed...

  4. Jan, I will sew you new curtains- I am hoping by the time I get to a nursing home- the stylin' baby boomers would have adressed those issues!!!!
    Steph- I do a white wash, light colours, dark colours and thena specific red wash- all normal!!

  5. My god, I think I've stayed in that very hotel room - it's awful!!
    Ugh, terrible deja vu.

  6. I know what you mean about SBS news ... I just love LeeLin ... she is such a cute little fashion doll!! And i always have a bit of a giggle when I hear 'Anton Enis' ... my little brother laughs, so now I can't help it ... how childish!!

  7. I had a giggle when I saw this too. I absolutely hate those old floral spreads, I am sure they are hiding decades of grime. I am very picky about the aesthetic when I book accommodation!

    If I am paying to stay somewhere it has to look at LEAST as nice as my own home!

  8. hello there!

    I tagged you:
    just do that if you feel like it :)

  9. hehehehe, that was a memorable conversation. I was telling Mr You all about it ;)

    We have stayed in some truly ugly rooms, but we have a sense of humour for all things tacky. We love tacky! In fact I was considering having a "tacky party" for my birthday (think cabanosy and cheese cubes with jatz). A large percentage of our travel photo's are of hilariously ugly or tacky things! :D

    Having said that, I couldn't live with it. That's a whole other matter. I have re-painted many a rental house, then repainted again when I get sick of my own colour choice. I'm colour sensitive.

    I think everyone has aestheticism to varying degrees. Yours may just be heightened. :) Nothing wrong with that!

    p.s. I watch SBS news because Anton's voice and annunciation rock's my boat, in a big way.

  10. Hi, I can seriously relate to your strong dislike of horrible bedspreads. I have seen some doozies in my time, esp in Indonesian hotels. Of course I took photos of all of them...I once stayed in a room with about 20 metres of bright blue floor to ceiling satin curtains in Taiwan, nice.


what a nice person you are- taking the time to comment in this busy hectic world...Thank you!!