There is something exquisite about Melania Trump and I am not talking about her appearance or what she (probably) smells like.
She doesn’t defy interpretation so much as beguile it – you want to strip away the layers but you know you do so at your peril – the layers might be all there is.
Mystery piles on mystery: who owns a jacket sporting the words ‘I really don’t care’ like the one she wore to a detention centre for child migrants?
What binds her to her husband – a man whose proximity seems to affect her viscerally and not in a good way?
Can she really freeze human organs using only a look?
This week all eyes were on her Christmas trees: why were they red?
Why were there so many of them?
How can something made out of berries look so creepy?
Was opulence the problem?
First ladies traditionally play down their wealth – whether for Democrat reasons (the ugliness of inequality) or Republican ones (ostentatious display while not immoral – is at odds with being relied on to make your own biscuits).
But this is an altogether different first family: they occupy high office – they run their own clothing company – they have email accounts on multiple servers – no one expects pretend humility and down-to-earthness – the standards of the old school.
And Melania wouldn’t get out of bed to defy a convention that was already dead – let alone deck her hallways blood red for it.
Possibly – as has been suggested already – she is trying to separate us from nature – with trees the colour no tree has ever been lined up in a harsh firing-squad formation.
That would work thematically with last year – lots of uplit dead twigs – very much a winter-is-coming moment in the Game of Thrones unkillable zombie sense not the jingle bells one.
I remain open to the possibility.
Except she always seems so subversive: those sceptical eyes – those strategic eyebrows – decades hence I will not be surprised to hear she prevented a third world war numerous times with some tactical chicken nuggets.
I don’t think she wishes us ill.
If she has a long game the conjuring of a post-bucolic hellscape is only a waypoint.
Then someone on Twitter stuck white bonnets on the trees – turning the festive scene into The Handmaid’s Tale.
There hasn’t been a better Melania-themed Twitter joke since she dressed in black lace to meet the pope.