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Archive for July 28th, 2017

Ice-cream van, Hong Kong, 19th July, 2009

Whether or not the people who created the “Mister Softee” brand name did so with a sense of irony is anyone’s guess, but there is something intrinsically amusing about the name. It is refreshingly un-masculine, as is the use of the formal, written “mister” in place of the more common contraction, which is bolder, and achieves this through a kind of playful emasculation that may or may not be intended. Ice-cream itself is hardly a very masculine food; decadent rather than stoic, it has connotations of indulgence, relaxation, innocent and guilty pleasure. Perhaps the title is rather alluding to this; its softness as a substance fits the softness of ice-cream as a pastime or treat.

To be soft also suggests lenience, kindness and generosity; so the man who sells the ice-cream is kind, gentle, friendly, and those who indulge in it are perhaps more soft in how they seek happiness; eschewing the savoury and the harder-edged in favour of the syrupy sweet. The soft lighting in this image seems to fit with the gifted title, while the ice-cream man with the hair-band has an air of kindness and dedication in his meditative approach to pouring a cone. He seems to have an affinity with the young customer who stands, watching closely, united through their love of ice-cream.

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