“At Christmas Donald spent a small fortune on Joycelin, his Jo. In addition to such basic too-muchness as perfume, an amber necklace, and a Ritz Thrift Shop mink, there was: a cased set of Japanese lenses and filters, a four-hundred-foot magazine for the Bolex with sixteen giant spools of Kodak Four-X, a professional tripod with a fluid pan head, three quartz lighting heads in their own carrying case, a Nagra quarter-inch tape recorder, assorted mikes, and a mixer. He’d stopped short of an editing machine, reflecting that there’d be time for that extravagance next time.
“When all these treasures had been neatly wrapped in the most expensive gold paper with bushy red satin bows and stowed beneath and about the Christmas tree, itself a monument to his fiscal incontinence, he felt, supremely, the delirium of his own self-inflicted loving-madness. O sink hernieder! And he was sinking. At last he could understand those millionaires in Baizac who squander their fortunes on floozies, or those doctors and lawyers in Scarsdale and White Plains whose savage delight it is to see their money transmogrified into tall gravestones of coiled hair surmounting their wives’ irredeemable faces, into parabolas of pearls declining into the dry crevasses between two withered dugs, into the droll artifice of evening gowns, whose deceits, like the sermons of Episcopalians, no one is expected to believe.
”The unwrapping began as a responsible masque of gratitude and surprise and ended in genuine anxiety infused with disbelief. Without working out the arithmetic, she could not but wonder how, unless he were a stockbroker in disguise, Donald could have afforded all of this.”
—Tom Disch, “The Joycelin Shrager Story”
Photography Credit Lottie Davis