Interpreting Social Interactions in a Small-Town Bar via Goffman’s Front Stage/Backstage Social Theory; or: “Dinner, Bones?”Author: Gemmi999Category:
Gen, Booth/Bones friendship ficFandom:
My first Bones fic—could be bad.Spoilers:
1x05 – The Man in the Bear (slight—just setting, really)Authors note:
I didn’t actually explain Goffman’s theory, or go into any great detail (mostly because I couldn’t figure out a reason for Temperance to be reviewing such basic social theory while looking around a crowded bar). If interested, hit me up and I’ll explain the basics. Gotta love social theory. = ]Summery:Temperance took a sip of her apple-martini and smiled slightly: if Dr. Goodman wanted her to experience the local culture and unwind, she might as well use her unlimited per-diem to help the process along.
Temperance glanced around the crowded bar, casually observing the different social groups that were interacting with one-another via Goffman’s “Front Stage/Back Stage” performance theory. The casual dress of the bar indicated a comfort level rather close to “back stage” behavior, which was unusual given the proximity of alcohol and members of both genders within conversational distance. People would normally be trying to maintain a perfect façade during such interactions, which allowed Temperance to know exactly how to approach specific people, as well as which cultural mores the sub-group was likely to belong to. But that wasn’t the case here—she would have liked to study what caused the social conditioning to lapse within this bar, but she saw Booth enter and instead made her way slowly to the bar to ask for another drink.
The entire social-structure of the club seemed to shudder around Booth’s entrance. She could feel tension rising within the conversations of the patrons: specifically, the numerous post-adolescent female social groups that were gathered throughout the bar. She logically understood the process which caused the rise in pheromones and the abrupt behavioral change among the women: an unmarried male of indistinct background with symmetrical features was quite a find within such a small social network. It didn’t make sense though—it was just Booth.
Temperance took a sip of her apple-martini and smiled slightly: if Dr. Goodman wanted her to experience the local culture and unwind, she might as well use her unlimited per-diem to help the process along. She turned and pressed her back against the bar, smiling as Booth tried to steer clear of the various females interested in conversing with him. He wouldn’t be successful, at least not for long. There were too many sub-groups with the same end goal: the different groups were in a competition loop and would likely continue in their attempts to secure a conversation with him due to the lack of eligible males within the appropriate age-group for mating.
She’s tempted to watch him fight through the various crowds, but she promised to buy him dinner in exchange for him reconsidering his position on her owning her own weapon. Temperance puts her empty glass down on the bar counter and walks confidently to Booth. She inclines her head towards the exit, and his smile makes her feel slightly happy. He was a good partner, a friend, even.
Now isn’t the time to analyze the situation within the bar, but part of her wants to. It’s much more comfortable there, among the different social groups that have rules which explain their interactions and behavior. She can decode their movements and conversations in an attempt to fit into the local culture, something which she excels at.
Instead, she steps outside into the brisk winter air. Booth was leaning against his rental, eyes shining. “So, you’re paying for dinner with that per-diem, right?” he questions, and Temperance nods. “I’m thinking steak then, or surf-and-turf. Possibly sushi.”
Booth opens the car door and jumps inside, slamming it behind him. Seconds later he has his window rolled down and is looking impatiently at her. “Aren’t you coming, Bones?” he questions. The use of a nick-name causes Temperance to smile, feeling more included. Then she opens the passenger side door and climbs into the car. She’s feeling hungry, too.
~~Erving Goffman on WikiErving Goffman on Amazon