Keep Your Trap Shut At The Movies

Katie Young
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Wednesday - February 27, 2008

This month, it’s all about etiquette.

Knowing your movie theater etiquette.

You’d think we’d all get it by now. After all, people have been going to the movies since the late 1800s. But alas, I’ve been to many movie theaters where patrons ignore some of the common-sense rules of etiquette and end up making the whole experience miserable for everyone.

There are many rules of conduct in such a public place; however, there are just two I want to touch on here. First things first: turn off your cell phone. I’d think everyone could remember to silence their phones by now, especially since the big screen reminds us just before the movie starts.

I cannot stand it when someone’s cell phone starts ringing in the middle of a film and the whole audience is forced to listen to some obscure, graphic or comical ring tone as the person digs around in her purse or his pocket trying to find the quiet button.

But what’s even worse is when the person actually answers the phone and starts having a conversation at normal decibel level. Come on, people, if you have to answer it, take it outside. Everyone paid good money to see the movie, not to listen to your conversation with your best bud.

Now, what if your best bud has accompanied you to the movies and is sitting beside you? What is allowed as far as talking is concerned? We all know we’re supposed to be quiet once the movie’s rolling, right? But what about before? Are the previews an acceptable time to talk? I’d say no, since many people enjoy the previews, too. But what about during the before-preview-ads and movie trivia that scroll by before the lights go off completely?

The other day I went to a movie where the guy behind me insisted on reading aloud each and every ad and movie trivia question. Then, he’d shout out an answer or make sarcastic comments to the person with him at a ridiculous volume so everyone could hear his thoughts on the quality of trivia questions.

If you ask me, as soon as you step foot in the theater you should be using your most respectful, quiet “indoor voice” just to be courteous to those around you who have to share the tight space.

I’d like you to meet ...

It’s just polite to be introduced, especially if you’re with your significant other and they bump into someone you haven’t met before. This is a pet peeve of several women I know, whose boyfriends/husbands forget to introduce them when running into an acquaintance, old co-worker or distant cousin.

Not being introduced makes these women feel rather invisible and insignificant and really, it’s ill-mannered to exclude someone in that way.

I’ve heard the following excuses for such behavior: “I didn’t remember his/her name.” “It’s no big deal, I just said hello and that was it.” “I didn’t want to get stuck in a long conversation with him/her so I was trying to keep it as brief as possible.” Or, “I forgot.”

That last one was a feeble excuse, for sure, and really only the first one has some merit in my opinion. Now, if excuse No. 1 is the case, the solution is simple. Said girlfriend/wife should extend a hand and say, “My name is so-and-so. Nice to meet you.”

Likely, the person will respond with an introduction of their own name. Problem solved.

But no matter what, introductions are just an appropriate thing to do, no matter whom you’re with.

Rainy days.

With all the rain we received in February, my umbrella was a constant companion. But indeed, umbrella etiquette is not often discussed. There are just a few things I want to mention for polite umbrella users: Carry cautiously, park with care and keep it dry inside.

Be aware of your personal space and carry umbrellas vertically, with the pointed end down (especially for those big golf umbrellas!). If you tuck your umbrella under your arm horizontally in a crowded place, you’re likely to stab someone.

Next, be mindful of where you place your umbrella when you put it down. Put it on the floor, not on an empty seat next to you on the bus or at the mall where someone might cop a seat in the puddle your umbrella left behind.

And finally, before you go indoors, close your umbrella and try to shake off any excess water. Bring a plastic bag to place it in or ask the establishment for one to avoid dripping all over the place. If no bag is available, make sure to ask someone if there’s a good place to keep your umbrella.

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