I am about to offer you a quick course on several techniques to employ when confronted by talkers, gum snappers,wrapper rustlers, chair kickers, those who sing aloud to the sound track or warn the actors on the screen what is about to happen next as well as the heavily congested.
Take heart, you are not alone. After years of suffering through expensive trips to the movie theater, I have perfected a system that I am about to share with you.
I have had little choice but to become a "Shusher" a "Throat-Clearer" or a "Turn-and Glarer." And I am not the only one.You've seen us in action and now, after this brief tutorial, you too can
First, like me, you can become a shusher.
|President Obama shushing |
during a recent viewing
of "Stargate Atlantis."
A shusher is simply one who, well, shushes. The shush is probably the most common tool used in subduing unruly theater goers. Children, adults, people on oxygen with tanks that click every twenty minutes all get shushed. Shushing knows no demographic boundaries. Another popular technique, the Turn-and-Glare, or the TAG, more often than not, will precede the shush.
Done as theatrically as possible so as to maximize effect without actually making noise yourself, the TAG is traditionally done when someone behind you is taking an hour to unwrap candy, loudly clawing at the interior of their popcorn receptacle or making frequent comments to their seat mate. Often the TAG, the most complicated of all the techniques, is effective on it's own.
Typically the first weapon in your arsenal, the TAG should be done quickly at first. The velocity of the TAG can be decreased based on whether the offender has taken the hint. The slower the TAG, the greater your rage and, depending on the offense, their are countless variations of the glare.
When glaring, timing is important or it renders itself ineffective--too long a glare can invite confrontation, too short can be misinterpreted -- in the darkness of the theater -- as comraderie or, worse, a desire to join the conversation.
If you have someone in front who is talking too much, there is an alternate move that is rarely done since it is likely to incur actual fighting. It is the Lean-Forward (LF).
If you employ the LF, you are entering someone's actual physical domain (although in the new theatres, the space between the aisles has increased, rendering the LF virtually useless). People are often surprised by the LF because they have totally forgotten where they are and that there are actually people, who have also paid $10 for a ticket and $75 for snacks, behind them.
The LF can be accompanied by a Shush or the rare spoken sentence. Here are three examples: "Please tell me if you plan on talking during the entire movie so I can change my seat right now," or "Are you aware that you're in a public place and not your living room?" My own personal favorite is, "Are you always this rude or is it only when you're at the movies?" If you use this last one, choose your victim carefully. If it's anyone other than two very old women with hearing aides who you are certain you can out run, you'd best be prepared to rumble.
|That granulated sugar can|
The throat-clear (TC) has gone out of favor as have all things of subtlety and nuance. Originally an alternative first step to the TAG, now people simply think a Sour Patch Kid has gotten stuck in your craw or that you may be about to choke on your popcorn.
So, you see, movie viewing is more complicated than it looks. Look for Part II tomorrow for tips on how to maximize your viewing experience and what it may really mean if you seem to always be seated near a badly behaved person.