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August 19, 2014

Michelle Miles: How to Behave in Public

This past weekend, the husband and I went to see the Dallas performance of Phantom of the Opera at the very beautiful Winspear Opera House. It’s a newer venue here in the area and I’d been wanting to check it out. I bought the tickets way back in May and had been looking forward to it since then. Plus, it was a great cultural date with the husband.

It was an afternoon performance. We dressed business casual for the event. I actually wore heels.

We arrived about an hour early. We weren’t the only ones hanging around there. It was already starting to fill in with people. Our seats were on the third level, so we headed up there to hang out and people watch, an activity we both enjoy.

What amazes me about people in general is when they go to these types of events, they wear everything. There was a lady in a lacy, very low cut dress. Her boobs were so big, they were about to pop right out. I don’t know. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but this was just inappropriate to me.

There were people dressed in jeans—inappropriate. If you’re going to spend that much money for an event, have the decency to wear nicer clothes, at least. Jeans don’t belong there. I don’t care how comfy you want to be.

And then there was the dad talking to his 9 year old daughter. She was dressed in jean shorts, an oversized tank and sneakers. “You’re nine now. You need to start dressing better when you come to things like this.” And he waved to the general patronage milling around the lower level. He had taken her aside to give her “the speech” and then they walked off. I don’t know if he realized we were standing there, but the husband heard every word. Not that he was being mean to his daughter, but he was trying to make a point. To that I say – Bravo! He was dressed in khakis and a button down dress shirt.

Our row was interesting – it was one long line of seats. We didn’t want to climb over a bunch of people to get to them, so we went around to the other side. We finally got settled, but there were the usual folks who were last minute arrivals that made everyone in the row – because their seats were in the middle – get up. There isn’t a lot of leg room in these places, don’t you know. 

Anyway, a woman and her young daughter plopped down a couple of seats to our right behind us. The girl was rather rambunctious before the show started. I kept thinking she would cool it once the performance got underway.

But here I have to pause. This is Phantom of the Opera not Toy Story for crying out loud. There is mild violence (gunfire, images of people hanging). Why on earth would you bring CHILDREN to something like that? My kid is nearly 13 and I wouldn’t even think about taking him. Because I know he’d be bored to tears. And a kid under 10? They’re going to fidget, talk and experience general boredom as well.

Anyway, the show starts and the first act is quite long – over an hour. The kid talks through some of it. The mom replies. They are mildly annoying and somewhat loud but thankfully the production was loud enough to cover their talking.

Intermission came. Husband and I chatted about how rude it was they were talking during the performance. Then he poked fun at me because I get so irate about it – even when we’re at home and he’s talking during my show. I think I’m just watching the showing and ignoring his talking but he KNOWS that inside I’m just about to explode. I hate that he knows me so well. Totally not fair, that. ;) We had some laughs about it.

Act Two starts. It’s shorter, faster paced. But the mom and the kid TALKED THROUGH THE ENTIRE THING. I was beside myself. The mom was actually explaining the story to the kid. Now, to my mind, if you have to explain it, then the kid is likely way too young to be at something like that. And the fact that you are so inconsiderate that you are TALKING IN A NORMAL VOICE during the performance just blows my mind. I paid to hear THE PERFORMANCE, not their frigging conversation.

At one point, it got so bad, I turned around and shushed them. I couldn’t stand it anymore. They did dial it back a little but they still talked.

When my son was very small, I’d take him to the movies. I made it very clear to him that there was no talking whatsoever during the movie. And if he got fidgety, I’d leave. Even to this day, he doesn’t talk during movies. The only time he DOES is during the trailers and even then he’s leaning over to whisper. He gets it.

So, how to behave in public? Be considerate of those around you. Keep your pie hole shut. And if you’re taking a kid with you to something like that and you have ANY DOUBT that the kid won’t understand or behave, do your fellow patrons a favor and leave them at home. Because I paid good money to hear the performance, not your conversation.

Michelle Miles write fantasy, paranormal and contemporary romance. Her biggest pet peeve are people who talk through movies and live performances. Even her husband isn't immune to her shushing. Visit her website for more on her and her books.


Sylvia said...

I love Phantom of the Opera and would be so upset that someone talked the entire time. For me its the singing and the music that I love and they would be interrupting the music. People are definitely interesting to watch and NO, I don't enjoy looking at another woman's breasts hanging out for all of us to see. Cover them girls up!!

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Hi, Michelle! I don't know what is worse: talking or being smelly. We went to see a ballet and the man next to me smelled terrible. So bad, we moved. Seems like some parents are teaching etiquette. Like wearing suits to weddings and funerals.

D'Ann said...

Ugh. That is all.

Liese said...

There is something to be said for how society has changed with respect to clothes and behavior--not always for the better. Maybe we need the kind of ushers they had in Russia when I was there. Older women who accepted no backtalk. They wouldn't let me in with a light overcoat once. I tried to explain I got cold sometimes in my very best Russian. Her response: "This is the Bolshoi, you don't wear your coat. Take it to the coat check area."

You don't argue with the Babushkas.

Judy Baker said...

I too do not talk in movies or plays and expect others to respect those around me. The other thing that upsets me is when I'm being kicked in the back of my seat by a someone - totally unappropriated abuse to the person in front of you. Thanks for sharing.

Lani said...

I've taught my son not to talk during movies, but to whisper if need be. And I don't take him to events that might not be appropriate for him. He's eleven now, so I can bring him to a few more events.

I enjoy sharing culture with my son, but only when i think he's at an age where he appreciates it. Although, we've gone to the museum where I've bored him to tears on numerous occasions. We've never gone to something like Phantom, because, honestly, I want to enjoy it, and I'm fairly certain he wouldn't. So I'd figure out a sitter instead. I do appreciate parents trying to share culture with their children and think that's good, but sometimes it's better to leave the kiddos at home with Spiderman and a sitter.

Unknown said...

Thank you, Michelle. This kind of behavior needs to be talked about.
This is all about education. If you weren't taught a certain cress code and way to behave during a concert, opera the movies, your children will grow to be just as ignorant. Same goes for restaurants; it blows my mind when I observe a couple seated across from each other texting through the entire meal without exchanging a word. I wonder, why spend that money if you don't get some enjoyment out of it. I would venture that it has to do with being able to say "I saw a live performance of 'Phantom of the Opera.'"
I rest my case.

Nicholas Genovese said...

Ggrrr. That would upset me immensely. I think my second comment to the rowdy bunch in back of me would be to say that I paid good money to see this show, now let me enjoy it. The nerve of some people. Society just isn't the same any more.

Michelle Miles said...

Sylvia, I love Phantom too do I was upset this happened. Whatcha gonna do? :)

Michelle Miles said...

Vicki -
Smelly is pretty bad! LOL

Michelle Miles said...

Liese I think that would solve everything!

Michelle Miles said...


Michelle Miles said...

Lani, I'm all for sharing culture with my son but when it's appropriate. I didn't take him because I figured he'd be bored and hate it. I am thinking is taking him to The Nutcracker and the symphony. I think it's time :)

Michelle Miles said...

Rayne, I think it more peoe called the rude folks out, maybe it would alleviate some of the rudeness. It's definitely as sore subject for me LOL

Michelle Miles said...

Judy, me too! That's another thing that gets on my nerves.

Michelle Miles said...

Hi Nicolas -
That's exactly what I'm going to say to them next time!

Melissa Keir said...

I went to see Phantom in Vegas one year. It was wonderful. I can't tell you how amazing it was. I agree that is horrible that someone disrupted the show. I wanted to sing along and knew to keep my mouth shut! :)

Unknown said...

An interesting post. I agree with everything you did. Children should be left at home and people should dress nice in public.