For part I, please refer to post April 14, 2008
General rules of etiquette (all behaviors and quotes were present at ‘Swan Lake’ presented by Ballet West):
1. There is such a thing as over-clapping. Clapping as the swans emerge from the dry ice, as the children successfully skip in a circle WHILE holding hands, when the bad guy flaps his wings…enough. I can appreciate the difficulty of 32 consecutive fouetté rond de jambe en tournant and a prominently placed lift. Clapping at those instances is deserved and expected. Being over-excited at the ballet is both distracting and weird…especially when it’s an adult man.
2. Sullen teens need to leave their attitudes at the door or not come in the first place. There is nothing so annoying as a whiney teen…except maybe the 2 whiney teens sitting next to me. 1. They are old enough to behave appropriately in public, 2. they should be capable of not texting for an evening, and 3. parents should have the guts to tell their teens to shut off their phones, ipods, and psp instead of trying to come to a compromise. These teens are the inspiration for this post.
3. Don’t resume your conversation during interludes. Just because the stage goes dark doesn’t mean it’s an intermission. When the music swells during a set change, don’t turn to your neighbor and ask if you ‘think the American ice dancing team will be any good this year.’ The ballet is still going, idiots!
4. Clap for performers. I am repeating this rule from my previous post. To my right were two sullen teens who didn’t know that they were expected to shut up let alone applaud. To my left was an obese lady so concerned with her Swedish fish and M&Ms that she couldn’t be bothered to clap AT ALL during the performance. Amazing. Absolutely amazing.
5. Don’t be rude. As simple as this rule might be, I was pretty floored by the sheer audacity that came from several y chromosomes that had to announce how much he didn’t want to be at the ballet. Dude. No one thinks less of you for being there. In fact, most of the other men are in the same boat. In addition, you don’t need to constantly grope your date to prove that you aren’t a homosexual; which leads me to #6:
6. If it isn’t appropriate with the lights on, it’s not appropriate with the lights off. I don’t feel that an explanation is needed for that one.
7. Don’t ask when it will be over 20 minutes into the performance. If you decide to go to a 3 hour ballet, you should probably know that it’s a 3 hour ballet. This rule is brought to you by one of the Negative Nancies sitting next to me. She also had a minor aneurism when an announcement told the audience to please refrain from texting during the show.
8. If you are afflicted with TB, Emphysema, or any other lung disorder which causes you to hack up a lung through act III, have the decency to get up and exit the theater. Your phlegm monster doesn’t really add anything to the dying swan.
9. Dragging little children to a 3+ hour ballet to teach them ‘culture’. Most of the parents trying to hold their toddlers down were having a hard enough time paying attention to the ballet. Maybe next time, try a kid-friendly ballet such as ‘Cinderella’ or ‘The Nutcracker.’ ‘Swan Lake’ was a poor choice on your part.
10. Stay in your seat. Unless you are under the age of 6 or have raging case of hemorrhoids, you can sit through a ballet. Seriously.
Rule of thumb: If you can’t sit through it, neither can your 7 year old.
Quotes of the evening:
‘Just hit me if my head starts nodding, heh, heh.’ Dear douche bag: you are not funny nor are you clever. In fact you just told me that you spent $150 so you and your two insufferable offspring can be miserable for three hours. Brilliant, douche.
“If this thing is going to be longer than an hour and a half, I am so out of here.” As spoken by one of the sullen teens. Her father didn’t feel the need to say anything as he probably agreed.
“It’s a shame my wife dragged me to this. I would rather be at the Elton John/Billy Joel concert!” Wow. Is the fact that you’d rather be at the Elton John/Billy Joel concert really supposed to prove your manhood? Missed the mark there, camper.
Interesting side note:
As I was jotting down the above rules in my trusty notebook, I heard the nodding douche-dad ask his daughters if they thought I worked for the newspaper (which is silly since I went CLOSING WEEKEND). He told his daughters that he bet I was from the Arts and Entertainment section for the Tribune.
An awkward moment passed.
The closest Negative Nancy turned to me and put her arm on my arm rest. “So,” she began with impressive wit, “do you work for a newspaper?”
Without making eye contact, I said “No,” adding in my head, I am complaining about you on paper.