Friday, December 21, 2007

Famous Asexual Tomb Raider?

Ms. Mary, ancient historian extraordinaire, sent me this information about Robin Symes. I've never heard of the guy before, but if you're interested in valuable old things from tombs, you probably have:

Anyway, here's the setup. Symes had a longtime partnership (both business and personal) with Christo Michaelides, who died in a freak accident in 1999.
This set my Adar tingling (can one have Adar?):
"It is difficult to say who was more distraught, Christo's close-knit blood relatives, or Symes, his constant companion of more than thirty years. Even today, members of Christo's family have difficulty putting into words what they feel was the exact relationship between their favorite son and Symes. The dealer, for his part, says that 'Christo loved me, for 32 years' but insists that despite living together since 1970, and widely accepted from Gstaad to Los Angeles as a social couple, referred to as 'the Symeses,' theirs was not a homosexual liason but a long-term Platonic friendship." (248.)

A little background: "According to an interview Symes gave, the two men met in the 1960s when Christo visited Symes's shop . . . and offered him some antiquities . . . . Christo had a girlfriend and Symes was married, with two sons. AFter he was divorced, however, Symes lived in Christo's flat for a while and after that they became inseparable."(249.)

This, though, was really what I thought was interesting. Symes actually said, regarding division of the business after Christo's death: "Christo and I were partners, not in the business sense, but in the husband and wife sense. While we were both alive, we shared equally in the assets and profits and debts of the company, but after death they all passed to the survivor, to me." (251.) (Citations from The Medici Conspiracy, Peter Watson and Cecilia Todeschini.)

I said, "Yes Mary, you can have A-dar. Wasn't he probably just gay though?" Mary responded:

His being gay and in denial seems perfectly plausible, but . . . why now? It's pretty obvious everyone already thinks they were/are gay, and it obviously hasn't caused Symes any social angst. Michaelides was from a really close Greek family, though--perhaps he was reluctant to out himself for cultural and familial reasons. But on the other OTHER hand, you'd think Symes would have used that as a weapon in his protracted legal struggles with them . . .

Readers, I'm on the fence with this one. What do you think; is he A?


Cicero said...

Ooh, I'm reading that book at the minute, but have yet to reach that part. Yeah, bit of a pointless comment, sorry, just felt obliged to point that out!

Ily said...

Sure, a little late, but thanks for the comment! ;-)