Peter Bearman – “Doormen”

In Talk of the Town (“Doctor Doorman“), Nick Paumgarten reviews a new book by Peter Bearman … “Doormen” …

He noted that while sociologists had produced ethnographies of waiters, milkmen, bill collectors, and nail-salon cosmetologists, they’d left doormen alone, and so, a few years ago, he had his students interview doormen all over Manhattan, and then he wrote a book on the class’s findings, which has just been published by the University of Chicago. It is called “Doormen,” and it addresses such familiar phenomena as the Christmas bonus, the sports conversation, the shady visitor, the problem of boredom, and the elasticity of the rule that, as the sign in the lobby says, “All Visitors Must Be Announced.” The book is an academic work, but to anyone who has ever wished that doormen would stop calling him “Sir,” or worried that a babysitter might be mistaken for a mistress, or wondered whether he should refrain from looking at his nose hairs in the elevator mirror while the doorman presumably watches via security cam, it is a marvel. It provides the theoretical underpinnings for a lifetime of awkward awning encounters.

via Kottke, “The Matthew effect

  • Ask the Expert: The Doorman,” NEWYORKISH, May 26, 2004
  • The Last Laugh (1924),” a movie review by Roger Ebert, March 5, 2000:

    The old man is proud beyond all reason of his position as a hotel doorman, and even prouder of his uniform, with its gold braids and brass buttons, its wide shoulders, military lapels and comic opera cuffs. Positioned in front of the busy revolving door, he greets the rich and famous and is the embodiment of the great hotel’s traditions–until, in old age, he is crushed by being demoted to the humiliating position of washroom attendant.
    F.W. Murnau’s “The Last Laugh” (1924) tells this story in one of the most famous of silent films, and one of the most truly silent, because it does not even use printed intertitles.

  • L.A.’s answer to the doorman,” by Scott Sandell, LA Times, October 16, 2003.
  • The Doorman’s Double Life,” by Mr. Murphy, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, January 27, 2005