Hell Is Other People: Etiquetteer’s Experience, Vol. 6, Issue 35

To continue with the theme of "Hell is other people," Etiquetteer feels compelled to share some of his own recent experiences:

In daily life Etiquetteer works on a large university campus, one feature of which is a large number of restrooms. One day not too long ago Etiquetteer entered a men’s room with some urgency and was disgusted – disgusted! – to find the toilet seat running with someone’s urine. Quite possibly that is the most cruelly inconsiderate thing one man can do to another: urinate without lifting the seat. Etiquetteer thinks it’s even worse than not flushing. At least that’s corrected simply! It’s the easiest thing in the world to lift a toilet seat. The squeamish can even do so with their shoes rather than soil their dainty hands.

The squeamish have another bad behavior Etiquetteer has seen on the rise, too. Snowdrifts of paper towels now appear near the men’s room door, discarded by exiting users who didn’t want to touch the doorknob with their bare hands. Littering is not the way to solve this problem! If you must do this, pocket that paper towel and throw it away in the office,not on the floor. Littering in this way – in any way – shows contempt for the other people in your community. They deserve your respect, and you deserve better yourself.

Etiquetteer, of course, recognizes that the squeamish have a point. Not everyone chooses to wash their hands after Performing a Bodily Function. Omitting this essential function of Perfect Propriety really isn’t an option. Your mother may not be watching over your shoulder, but anyone else in the restroom is aware. The time lapse from flush to exit is apparent to all! Please, spend 30 seconds purifying your filthy hands before leaving the room.

Etiquetteer has a couple special messages for members of the audience at last week’s "Night of Stars" gala presented byBoston Ballet:

To the woman across the aisle: If you absolutely must unwrap a cough drop while in the theatre, please use your intelligence to do so during applause, when it won’t disrupt those around you. As it was, those in your vicinity were vexed in the extreme. Your ability to stretch out all that crinkling to two minutes per cough drop defied all reason. Unless you can show more thoughtfulness to others, Etiquettteer suggests you stay home.

To the audible man: During a ballet, it’s not uncommon for a female dancer to part her legs. In fact, it’s quite usual. Female dancers have even been known to part their legs while being lifted by their partners into the air. This movement during any kind of dance is so ordinary that folks ceased commenting about it, oh, about 150 years ago . . . and certainly not in a voice audible seven to ten rows away! Please remember that a theatre is not a stadium, and also that people attend ballet performances to see ballet, not listen to the opinions of total strangers.

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