One of the best things about shopping is watching the man-chair (I started calling them man-chairs to identify them to my husband as in “why don’t you just go sit in the man-chair!”). Any decent boutique or department store has one. This is the place for the uninterested party of the shopping team (almost always men) to sit down and completely zone out.


Of course, man-chairs are not only for men. They’re for anybody who’s lost interest in the shopping experience. Here are Rain and my dog in a man-chair waiting for me.


Often my husband will say that he wants to come shopping with me and then he’ll just disappear. To find him, all I have to do is locate the man-chair. I like to sneak up on him so I can creepily watch him, without him knowing.


Sometimes when I’m killing time, waiting for someone to meet me in Union Square, I’ll go to the women’s department of a store and take a tour of the man-chairs.

iPhones have kind of ruined the man-chair viewing experience. They used to be filled with people doing the 100 yard stare into nothingness or (my favorite) falling full-on asleep in the middle of a public place. But now the chair people are usually looking at some internet device.


Still, though, I love unguarded public boredom. It’s one of the only times when people, in front of everyone, lose their self awareness. I think it’s a rare honest moment, one of the only times you get to see people who’ve forgotten to care what others think of them.

the author

Babe Scanlon is a writer living and working in San Francisco. She's worked as an archaeologist, computer game designer, agent at Agent Provocateur and hypnotherapist. She is controlling your mind at this very moment.

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