Sources of embarrassment

by Simon Collings

1000AD: Sei Shonagon, The Pillow Book, Section 91 – ‘Things it’s frustrating and embarrassing to witness’

‘…your lover becomes terribly drunk, and starts coming out with confidential things when he can be overheard.’

‘Someone insists upon telling you about some horrid little child…’

‘It’s also painfully embarrassing to have to stand by and hear someone proudly reciting to others a poem that isn’t really much good, or bragging about the praise they’ve received for it.’