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Ritual Weirdness

By Sarah Larson | Comment Diversions | April 21, 2010 |

By Sarah Larson | Comment Diversions | April 21, 2010 |

I once went to a movie, which was sold out and thus extremely crowded, where the impressively large woman sitting next to me whipped out a gigantic bucket of fried chicken and started gnawing on it and sort of grunting as she masticated whilst intermittently belching, and at one point she farted so violently that I felt the vibrations in my seat. I can’t remember now what the movie was, but I never saw the second half of it because flatulence-related earth tremors are not something I will voluntarily remain in close proximity to, so my friend and I walked out. That remains, to this day, the grossest thing I’ve ever seen anyone do in a movie theater, including the time a drunk high school kid projectile vomited and it got in a little girl’s hair and then she horfed all over the place and then about six other people started gagging and it was like a festival of vomit. Fried Chicken Farts Lady was still more unpleasant.

Neither of those incidents are the strangest thing I’ve ever seen a theater patron do, however. That prize goes to an old man who sat in the front row with his bare feet sitting in a small tub of water, engaging in animated conversation with the empty seat beside him, on the back of which he had perched a ladies’ straw hat.

I used to have a roommate who would walk out of the theater and ask for a refund if she couldn’t find a seat precisely in the middle of a row exactly halfway up, and she would only go to theaters which served caffeine free Diet Pepsi and sold gummy bears in a box, not a bag. Needless to say, I always had “other plans” when she wanted to go see a movie.

Point is, people are weird as hell when it comes to the strange and often off-putting rituals in which they will engage whilst watching a movie. Many of them seem not to care that a theater is, in fact, IN PUBLIC and perhaps other patrons are neither charmed by nor thrilled to witness their little freakshows.

What are your movie theater quirks? Do you smuggle stuff in? Bring 12 pillows and build a fort? Refuse to wear a shirt? Require a gap of no fewer than five seats in any direction between you and another living being? Or maybe you’re relatively low key and normal about watching movies, but you’re married to (or otherwise partnered-up with) a total nutter who refuses to go to the theater closest to your house because they don’t like the armrests? I mean, who actually uses armrests, anyway? It’s not for resting your arm, stupid; it’s like a bundling board between you and the weirdo sitting next to you!

Tell me all about your experiences with ritual weirdness at the movies.

Sarah Larson lives in Minnesota, where she is usually up to no good. She rarely goes to movies in a theater, because other people are loud and weird and Netflix is her best friend. She can be reached by email here.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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