Brian Edwards Media

Posts Tagged 'Social Habits'

The Shame of the Solitary Diner (A Diversion)







Twice during the week I had occasion to grab a bite of lunch by myself in a local café. The proprietor of this establishment has had the good sense to furnish his patrons with a pile of magazines to read. Not the sort of stuff you find in doctors’ and dentists’ waiting rooms – tattered copies of the Woman’s Weekly and Readers Digest, dated July 1995, and back-copies to 1943 of the National Geographic with articles on the long-lost Fakawi tribe of the upper Amazon.

(I don’t wish to mock the National Geographic. It was the only magazine in which a frustrated Belfast adolescent could find pictures of half-naked women. Admittedly they were pigmy women, and some had plates in their lips, but Irish beggars can’t be choosers. As they said during the potato famine, ‘Be grateful for small Murphies.’)

No, these were top-class magazines obtained by the café from the shop across the road – GQ, Arena, Vanity Fair, that sort of thing.

Now the real reason why these magazines are there is not that the café’s patrons are bored out of their trees and desperate for something to read. The real reason why the magazines are there is to hide the embarrassment, to cover the shame of that most tragic and guilt-laden of creatures – the solitary diner.  Read the rest of this entry »