eating bonbons & watching soap operas

Indigo Som indigo at WELL.COM
Sun Sep 8 09:16:43 UTC 2002

I was talking to a friend today who used the phrase "eating bonbons and
watching soap operas"; we both noted that we are not sure exactly what a
bonbon is. She thought it was some sort of baked thing like a cupcake or a
HoHo. I was thinking more of a candy, a chocolate truffle-like concept; in
my mind bonbon is a general term for any confection that is complex and
fancy and round; a Snickers bar is not a bonbon (wrong shape & not fancy) &
neither is a jelly bean (too simple). Dictionary agrees more with me than
my friend, but I'm wondering 1) where did this phrase come from originally
and 2) did it always have the meaning of sitting around doing nothing,
living a life of leisure, &c. and 3) do most people have a clear idea of
what a bonbon is?

It's definitely a gendered thing referring to women (accusatory of
housewives, enviously descriptive of glamorous jetset types).

The "watching TV" part appears optional; "eating bonbons" by itself seems
to convey the whole meaning.

A coworker of mine updated the phrase to "eating cupcakes and watching
Oprah" when she quit her job a few years ago. So the cupcake connotation of
bonbon does seem to be out there....

google results:
eating bonbons 2090
eating bonbons watching 714 (includes "TV" "soaps" "soap operas" "soapies")
eating bonbons watching soap 117

Indigo Som
indigo at

Album of the Week: Neko Case, Blacklisted (2002)

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