mystery cloths of the bourgeoisie

I arrived in Boston this evening for a conference on public intellectuals. As befitting intellectuals about public intellectuals, we have been put up in a nice hotel right next to Fenway. When I came back from dinner, the turn-down service not only had left cookies on my pillow and started soft music playing, but also laid out a little linen thing, about 2 feet by 2 1/2 feet, by the side of my bed.

Rather than pretend, I will just cop to not having enough cultural capital to know what this towel is for. Anyone?

Author: jeremy

I am the Ethel and John Lindgren Professor of Sociology and a Faculty Fellow in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.

12 thoughts on “mystery cloths of the bourgeoisie”

  1. Without knowing the hotel I would venture a guess they are for your slippers when you slip into bed.

    (i personally loath turn-down service)

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  2. It’s to kneel on while you face Mecca and pray for the destruction of America. The hotel was just basing its service on well-known facts about intellectuals.

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  3. I asked Unfogged, and somehow they found an answer!:

    “The sheets are pulled back, the pillows fluffed up and even a small towel is placed on the floor so that you may wipe your feet off just before getting into bed. Always look at the pillows before laying down, there is usually a small chocolate or mint candy there. The shades are closed and the lights are turned down, usually the bedside lamps are on and maybe the television.”

    This must date back to pre-shower days, but okay, I guess wiping feet is better than nothing.

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  4. Jeremy, If you’re lucky, you may have the roars of the Fenway crowd to lull you to sleep on Friday. The Sox return to Boston after a losing streak to play Milwaukee. Matsuzaka is pitching and he is 6-0 this season.

    This is my first post to Scatterplot. I figure that the final days of finishing the dissertation are a good time to start participating in a blog. I’ve run out of other procrastination techniques!

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  5. More relevant to the theme of this thread, my cultural capital includes baseball knowledge but not turn-down services. I would have no idea what to do with that towel either.

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  6. My dirty mind immediately came up with a potential use for the towel, though I doubted it was what the hotel had in mind. But, then, you never know. Maybe “wiping your feet before you climb into bed” is a euphemism.

    And where are these critters coming from? Also, I agree that Kieran always seems to have the funniest comments.

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  7. It is, in fact, for your feet. It also gives you a less cold place to put them when you swing out of bed in the morning.

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  8. the wiping of ones feet or having a warmer place to place your feet would make the most sense. I’ve only seen it in combination with slippers. So one gets out of bed, places feet down on nice semi-warm mat and puts on the slippers. Or in my case – just get out of bed.

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  9. Or wear socks to bed, but some people think that I am weird for doing that. My boyfriend, chiefly.

    Anomie, I have no idea what your dirty mind was thinking, and I’m serious. God, what a sheltered childhood I had!

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