Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

17 Aug 2002, 11:03 a.m.

Here, finally, is the long-promised analysis of this entry. First of…

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2002 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Here, finally, is the long-promised analysis of this entry.

First of all, I realized only after I posted it that some might take "back in the nineties" literally. I actually applied for the job a few months ago, but it felt like a million years ago. "Back in the nineties" is a reference to Waiting for Godot via this Modern Humorist piece, a quiz. Excerpt:

"Please put away that old straw basket."
Directive from Pozzo to Lucky in Waiting for Godot
Directive from [the shopping magazine] Lucky to its readers to replace their worn flaxen totes with lightweight, colorful bags

But the analysis. Well, the cooking class ad is pretty straightforward, I think. By far the more interesting one is the ad for a night in a swanky ballroom. Note that it's gender-neutral ("evening wear"). While writing it, I consciously remembered those ads I studied from the 1920s Jazz Age while reading The Great Gatsby in high school. Very cinematic, visceral, placing the reader in the heart of the action. Oh, and you (the reader) are the one in the position of power -- you get to command the waiter as you lounge in your seat after dinner.

Perhaps most open to interpretation is the relationship between you and your companion. One person thought the command to "make that two [glasses of wine]" only connoted friendship between the two characters, who had possibly just met that evening. Others saw erotic or at least romantic overtones. Again, I intended ambiguity, like a centrist politician who also wants to hold on to his party base. What do you think and why?