logo: 28Barbary.com - a blog about Tales of the City series by Armistead Maupin

August 24, 2022

"Love with the Proper Shopper"
commentary for scene 5 of #book1

JUMP TO: Plot Summary - Cultural References - Locations - My Thoughts

screen shot from Social Safeway scene of TOTC miniseries

TAGS: #book1 #MaryAnnSingleton #ConnieBradshaw #MichaelTolliver #SocialSafeway

Link to the text: Her New Home (starting on page 26) (Scribd membership required)

screen shot from Social Safeway scene of TOTC miniseries

Plot summary: Connie and Mary Ann show up at the Marina Safeway for the famous "social safeway" evening, a chance for single straight people to find others interested in love (or at least sex). Connie says it is "pickup city" but Mary Ann has less luck. She first has a conversation with a creep who can't take a hint, but then has a great conversation with a cute guy... who then introduces her to his "roommate" Michael. Mary Ann decides to give up and head back to Connie's apartment.

Cultural Refences:


My thoughts:

This scene is the scene that arguably created Tales of the City in the first place, but it is also noteworthy for being the first scene of the book in which a character is known to be gay --- but even so, it is also very coded, because as know from Armistead (in both his book Logical Family but also from several interviews), he was trying to build up his readership before the conservative newspaper ownership might kill the column.

By the way, a good example of this can be found in this advertisement that is pitching the kick-off of the series in the SF Chronicle. The ad gives an introduction of the three of the characters: Edgard Halcyon, Mona Ramsey, and Beauchamp Day, but nothing is said about the sexuality of the characters (we will later learn that both Mona and Beauchamp are bisexual --- Mona being out, with Beauchamp being very closeted), and not a word is said about the arguably more important characters of Anna, Michael and Mary Ann.