History in the Making

History in the Making

Common Courtesy… Or No?

I understand that I am somewhat traditional in my etiquette; I believe that thank you notes, hostess gifts, and dress codes are useful and practical things that should be far more common than they are today. However, I think that the world is quickly falling past these standards and ignoring even common courtesy for other human beings. Will the madness ever end??
Common Courtesy...Or No_

Last night, I attended Ballet Jörgen’s Anastasia with my mom, and while the dancers were talented, the audience was something else that is becoming all too common: selfish and in the clouds. There were two sets of two friends sitting behind us, with both sets of women somewhere in their 40-50s. At this age, both couples seemed to think that loudly speaking during the performance, including loud laughter, was okay. It’s not like the dancers have trained for years, and practiced for hours for this particular production to put it on or anything. And it’s not like the rest of the audience paid money to see this show…. And when they got up to leave, they all randomly decided to dead halt at random points throughout the theatre. No one else is stopping all of a sudden, please stop stopping.
The other hugely overwhelming problem was people arriving to their seats, or should I say the end of their row, once the show had actually begun. If it isn’t common sense for you to arrive at least five minutes before show time to find your seat, perhaps live performances aren’t for you. Whenever I make this argument, people like to say that ballet and theatre should be open to anyone attending and that “strict” rules like this make it harder for people to attend. To that I say you are probably one of those people who is late to everything, and that’s on you, not the world- the rest of us aren’t out of line for expecting you to show up on time. You ARE interrupting the rest of us to shuffle into your seat, and you can actually miss crucial parts of a performance.
What has the world become?! 
Until tomorrow,
The Historian
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23 thoughts on “Common Courtesy… Or No?”

  • I can’t imagine how off-putting it must be to performers during a live performance to see people behaving like that! You’re right you know what time something starts so leave a little earlier!

  • Truly, the world is full of self-absorbed assholes. I think that if you’re arriving late to a live show, they should deny your entrance. Being late to ANYTHING is just plain rude and it screams of selfishness.
    I’m also a thank you note supporter. These kinds of etiquette should never be left to die out.

    • If it is one or two people and they are seated at the end of the row, and it is clearly looks like they are new to attending the theatre, I will cut them some slack. But these were season ticket holders, and many people in their 50s and 60s- old enough to know better.
      I am considering getting personalised stationery again! I send so many notes that I may save money yet haha

  • oh mi god. I was a show last weekend with my hubs and kiddo. 15 minutes into the performance, this woman comes with her 4 children and sits in the row in front of us. Grrrr #1. Then she precedes to walk back and forth putting anti-bacterial gel on each child’s hands. Grrr#2. Then she walks back and forth again dolling out food to her children. Grrrr#3.
    Really? I get that it was a children’s show but if you’re going to do all that crap, at least sit in the back rather than right in front of people. She didn’t even apologize.

  • The last time I attended our local theatre we had front row seats. As we were leaving, I was shocked to see that the aisles were littered with popcorn boxes and empty wineglasses and beer bottles. In an effort to increase sales, the theatre administration had recently made the decision to allow people to take their intermission snacks and drinks back inside instead of enjoying them in the concession stand/lobby bar. And I’m not talking about just an odd glass or bottle, every aisle was full of discarded garbage! You wouldn’t litter outside so why inside an elegant Art Deco theatre? This so upset me that I asked one of my friends who volunteers there about it, and she said it happens every night, the volunteers spend an hour after the performance cleaning up. I’m still shaking my head?

    • I was shocked when I saw Wicked in London in 2013 that snacks and beverages were allowed in the theatre! I am okay with water bottles, because coughing and whatnot makes the show difficult for everyone. However, there is NO need for food in the theatre, none at all. And to make those volunteers spend an hour or more cleaning up because people can’t be bothered to take their garbage with them? RIDICULOUS. If that’s the attitude people are going to take, PLEASE STAY HOME!

  • You made very good point! It is just sad that people stop follow some rules and do not know or rather don’t care that not everything is about them and some courtesy still applies!

  • Could relate. I hate going to the cinema because there’ll be rude, lack of common sense people that would talk loudly during the movie. Like dude, if you want to talk do it at home.

    • One of the cinemas in our city has a few VIP theatres where they serve a full menu and alcohol, it’s 18+. They also enforce a no talking policy and I’ve seen them ask people to leave! If I do go to see a film, I go there now

  • People can act so inconsiderate at the most inappropriate times and places. I wonder if they’re aware and have adopted ‘not my problem’ thinking or if perhaps they truly don’t understand how their actions are affecting others around them? I’ll admit with an embarrassed blush that younger me certainly had moments like this. Maybe for that reason, I like to give the benefit of the doubt in these situations though I find more often than that they are selfish asses who, when spoken to about their actions, take no responsibility. Instead, they often turn the tables on whoever has spoken up and try to make them feel bad about themselves, often making some irrelevant point. Best not to get ourselves too worked up about it…writing is a banner way to address the topic though! Well said and thanks for letting me weigh in my two cents.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts!! I always give more leeway to people when it’s clear that they are in unfamiliar territory, because we all do have to learn things somehow. However, most of the people arriving late and talking throughout were in their 50s and 60s- one even made a comment at intermission that it was alright for them to be late because they are season ticket holders. I am also a season ticket holder, do I not deserve to see the whole show? I’m finding more and more that as people get older they take the attitude that they have “earned the right to do what they want”. Well, not when it disrupts everyone else ? The last ballet I went to, I sat beside a little girl who chattered throughout the show. She was young, pretty quiet, and just so excited to see the Nutcracker- I was that little girl once, and I babbled on and on about their arms. Completely fine! The 65 year old women behind me laughing about their friend at full volume? There’s a special layer of etiquette hell for them ?

  • Totally with you on all of this! The latest one seems to be people using phones in the theatre. I’ve seen several actors/actresses hit out on twitter after shows saying about how rude and distracting it is to sit on your phone through the performance. Can people really not put their phone away for an hour at a time?

  • I agree completely. I’ve lived in Japan the past 17 years, so I’m probably spoiled, but I’m always blown away during my visits to the U.S. about the general lack of politeness and consideration for others. And coarseness and lack of basic decency and civility has become the new normal in the behavior of elected officials too. None of this decline can end well.

    • Everyone always makes the argument that etiquette and manners are outdated. No, etiquette changes and evolves to suit it’s time until people get so incredibly self-absorbed that it can’t possibly survive. It truly is mind-boggling and I hate to think of what the future will look like

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