I really feel I cleared up any theater etiquette questions in this post, but apparently not. Seriously, open that last post and review it. The pictures are important. That link will open in a new window, it will be very convenient and give you good points of reference.
Caught up? Ok, on we go.
I went to see one of my all time favorite shows on Tuesday night. Wicked. That is the show. I love that show. I love that show so much I have some of the lyrics tattooed on my back. I had really great seats thanks to my brother and sister in law and their awesome birthday gift to me. My friend Karyn and I went. We sat down in our awesome seats. There were two super nice ladies next to us and the mother of all theater gifts, an empty seat to my left. Here is my view of the stage:
We were sitting there, chatting with the nice ladies next to us who were a lot of fun, and then….this happened.
Do you see how they are sitting? Not in their proper alignment, but leaning in towards each other with the Nasty Man’s arm around the woman. At various points, they put their heads completely together and there was no space at all for me to see. Not only that, but the Nasty Man was manhandling the woman THE ENTIRE TIME. Non stop from the moment they sat down. Not just patting or subtly petting, no, we are talking deep tissue, save it for the bedroom, rubbing and petting.
Do not get me wrong, I am like a dog, I will allow ANYONE to pet me. I love to be pet. It is not uncommon for people to hear the command “pet me” when they are with me. One time at work, my coworker Mike walked by me and just sort of brushed against my shoulder, and I immediately turned my back to him and said “pet me”. That must have been very awkward for him, but God love him, he pet me for a minute. I do not even care what part of me is being pet – a hand, an arm, a back, a shoulder, my head – just freaking pet me. But there is a TIME and a PLACE to be pet. Especially if you are going to take it to the level of Creep and make it all nasty and uncomfortable for everyone around you. That is precisely what Nasty Man did.
For the first half, I sat leaning forward with my face basically between their two heads to the point where the man’s arm touched me frequently because he had no concept of space and the fact that having his arm across the back of the chairs like that actually put his arm into my territory. This did not bother them one bit. They continued to lean into each other and block my view horribly.
Then I became very conflicted. I thought, I just posted an entire thing about how you should Say Something if there is an injustice being done. Maybe these people seriously had no clue how rude and disgusting they were being. I fought with myself the entire first act – do I say something? How do I say it? I desperately want to see what is happening onstage and unless I say something, that will not happen.
Intermission came, and the first thing our friends next to us said was “My gosh, get a room!” and “Maybe he took Viagra before he came here and he just can’t wait till it kicks in” and other very funny comments. Of course, the Nasty Man came back late from intermission, so it was too late for me to say anything to them.
Throughout the second act, it got SO BAD that I literally saw nothing but the backs of their heads no matter how I arranged myself in my chair. I leaned every which way, sat on my coat, sat forward – nothing. I considered moving to the empty seat on my left, but a little old lady had put her coat there, so I did not know what to do. So I FINALLY leaned right up in between their heads and said “I am sorry, but when you put your heads together like that, I can not see anything”. The woman was clearly upset that she had done that and she pulled away immediately and made a noise indicating she felt bad, and acknowledged that I had said something. Nasty Man – he did nothing. He did not look my way, he did not move, he DID NOT TAKE HIS ARM OFF THE BACK OF THE SEATS or off his woman, and he sat there defiantly. That was ok, because since the woman moved, I just leaned to my right and saw the rest of the show.
Thus begins our lesson. Theater seats are set up so that they are not one directly behind the other, but alternated so that if everyone sits up properly in their assigned space, everyone can see no matter what. My friends will now demonstrate.
See? Everyone can see. The little white dog in the back represents me. Scottie, in the blue pajamas (clearly not theater attire) represents Nasty Man. The Cabbage Patch Preemie represents Nasty Man’s Woman. That was the ideal set up that never actually happened. Instead, this happened:
Nasty Man and His Woman leaned in completely obscuring my view. You cannot even see the little white dog anymore. They ruined the set up. They did not stay in their assigned space. So I had to do this:
That is when Nasty Man kept elbowing me and touching me with his Nasty Man Arm that he insisted on slinging over the backs of the seats. You do not sling your arm over the backs of seats when there are six inches between you and the person behind you. That six inches becomes two once you add your arm. So after getting sick of sitting like that and breathing on them, I said my bit and asked them to move their damn heads apart, and this is what happened:
Nasty Man and Nasty Arm stayed there, but Nasty Man’s Woman moved. Her arm was not on him like that, I just could not get that damn preemie to put her arm down, it is stuck out like that.
And then, of course, Katniss came and went all Hunger Games on their asses and killed them because that is what happens when you are a jerk in a theater.
I am glad I said something. I wish I said something sooner.
At the end of the show, my friend Karyn had this to say, “Are you going to write about people who leave before the final curtain? Just stay in your fucking seat, man. It’s like leaving before the priest at mass”. So for Karyn I say, stay in your damn seats! Do not be climbing all over me to get out into the aisle two minutes before everyone else. I happen to think the curtain call is one of the best parts of any show – I love curtain calls. I frequently cry during curtain calls for no reason at all. If you are climbing over me and getting all up in my way, that is rude. Sit your ass down and wait like the rest of us. You are only going to get stuck in the parking garage, anyway. Calm the hell down.
And that is how you should behave in a theater.