Friday, January 12, 2007

Lipstick's Cure for an Inferiority Complex

Since I was just mentioning Lois Long and her somewhat irreverent, entertaining, and insensitive style, here's an excerpt from her May 26, 1927 "Tables for Two" guide to dining and nightclubbing:
More slumming notes: Those interested in the Human Interest side of life may find it, better than anywhere, at the five-cent cafeteria of the Bowery Y.M.C.A., which has already been the subject of so many sob stories that I hardly have the heart to compete with my newspaper sisters. There you can order soup or coffee for five cents, corned beef and cabbage for ten, pie for five, and bread for nothing; and you can watch the derelicts of the town decide definitely against anything too nourishing in favor of pastry and pie. You may also observe the gentlemen of the ensemble secreting bread all over their persons in whatever pockets (besides the one that contains the hootch) are still capable of holding anything.

And, if this doesn't make you feel sufficiently superior and prosperous and beautiful; if it doesn't knock your inferiority complex endwise, the Armless Wonder and the Five-Toed-What-Is-It and the Fattest Lady, gents, in captivity eat in their headquarters in the Hubert's Museum, daily between five and six.


Muffy St. Bernard said...

I'd like to point out that Lois Long isn't saying that the homeless people are EXUDING bread...if they were capable of exuding bread from their own bodies they probably wouldn't need soup kitchens.

This is the first time I've noticed that "secreting" has two very different meanings. It can either mean "hiding things away" or "exuding something."

I just wanted to clear that up.

VanillaJ said...

How interesting to read this on the heals of a study just published, revealing that the foodbank are low as a source of nutrition for its users. Damnit, heathly food is government subsidized and cheap! It might be as simple as nutrtionally-absent foods being more immediately gratifying, so poor people pick those junk foods first. Or, could it be, we are all donating crappy and non-perishable foods to the foodbank?
Are the poor's selection of high caloric/low nutrition foods an extension of their general decision-making patterns?
(Am I going to be lynched for asking?)

Muffy St. Bernard said...

Since I'm not a Five-Toed What-Is-It I can't provide a definitive answer.

Our office occasionally gets hyperactive about foodbank contributions. I imagine out technique is the same as the techniques for most big givers: start a contest among groups of employees, and the group that gives the most POUNDAGE wins.

The result of this is that people bring in canned goods and sacks of sugar and flour. People also tend to clean out their cupboards to give up things they haven't eaten in five years: canned food again. For some reason dry pasta is also popular. Also baby formula.

So since the food bank, by necessity, relies on non-perishable goods -- and since many big donors are giving "by the pound" -- maybe food bank patrons are stuck with monotonous starchy choices and chef-boyardee?

Keep in mind, also, that junk food is automatically more appealing. If we didn't know anything about nutrition, we'd eat junk food all the time. I imagine that (on average) people at the food bank have less education, so therefore may not think as critically about food choices.

Or maybe they have other things to worry about?

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your guest book from the beginning, page or two a day. Often I have the energy to read and enjoy, but not write (it is difficult to explain emotions). I like the comments in different languages, even though I can read English well, and Spanish a little, and can just understand some of t
he words in Italian and Japanese.

VanillaJ said...!
But I agree: it IS difficult to explain emotions.

Morgan James, Diva said...

perhaps they have suffered the infamous "Ritual of Mennonite Censure,"

Muffy St. Bernard said...

This could only be spam for whatever "" is.

But you know what? It's so cute and incorrect that I'll let it be. :)