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Movie Viewer Etiquette
14 ways to make movie going a great experience for everyone involved.

Going to the movies can be a great date night, if everyone's on their best behavior.

Dinner and a movie is a great way to spend time together. That is, until someone’s phone rings in the middle of the movie… and it’s yours. Before your wife jabs the corner of her box of chocolate covered raisins into your side, take a tip, "Silence is Golden" in the movie theatre. Following are a few more kernels of movie etiquette wisdom:

1. Leave the dialogue to the actors. Don't be that couple that carries on a conversation throughout the entire movie. There should only be one conversation and it's playing out on the big screen. An occasional whisper to comment on a particular scene is fine, but if you can’t keep your comments to yourself, do everyone a favor and rent the DVD.

2. Texting is a definite don’t. Even if you are smart enough to silence your phone, don't forget that texting is also off limits. The irritating light of your phone is distracting unless you plan to moonlight as an usher during the performance.

3. Be courteous to the ticket taker. Make eye contact, smile and say something pleasant like, "Have a great day" as he hands you your ticket stub.

4. Save seats with discretion. Saving a seat for your wife, and even her best friend is not a problem. If you are saving an entire row for your family, friends and neighbors—the movie is crowded and your peeps are nowhere to be found—take your shoes, candy bars and coat off the row of chairs and let the late arrivals find their own seats.

5. Clean up your mess. Okay, so you don't have to bring in your personal mini vac, but don't leave your sticky candy wrappers, empty popcorn buckets and discarded soda cups on the floor. That oversized trashcan on your way out is your first clue.

6. Check the movie rating. An eight-year-old does not belong at an R-rated movie and it’s also inconsiderate to those adults who aren't expecting a Disney crowd.

7. Hush your baby. If your darling little baby wakes up in the middle of the movie and proceeds to start screaming at the top of his lungs, the place to quiet him is outside of the theatre, away from the noise and fellow moviegoers.

8. Save the PDA for later. If you plan to spend your movie time "making out" rather than watching the movie, sit in the back where you are out of sight and out of the way.

9. Hit the bathroom before you find your seats. If you must get up during the movie, face the person you are annoying as you say, "Excuse me, pardon me, excuse me."

10. Close your mouth while chewing. Even though you are in a dark, loud theater, it is extremely annoying to be sitting next to someone that is shoveling down his or her popcorn like a ravenous wolf and smacking so loudly that the noise actually competes with the show. Ditto for crunching on ice and nachos.

11. Take off your boxing gloves. If you are having an issue with the behavior of a fellow moviegoer, rather than taking him out with a solid left hook, allow the manager to handle the situation. The theater should not have more action scenes than the actual flick. If the management does not fix the problem, by all means ask for a refund and return at another time when both the patron and the manager are off duty.

12. The chair in front of you is not a footrest. Keep your feet in front of you or on the floor.

13. Don’t ruin the surprise. Refrain from talking about the movie’s ending as you are exiting the theater so you don’t spoil it for those waiting in line to see the next show.

14. Don’t use the movie theatre as a daycare center. If you drop your teen off at the movie (and notice I use the word "teen", not "child"), give him or her enough money to pay for the movie, buy a snack and make an emergency call if necessary. Inform him or her of a specific time you will pick them up and then be there on time yourself.

Enjoy the movies!

Diane Gottsman, a nationally recognized etiquette expert, is the owner of The Protocol School of Texas, a company specializing in etiquette training for corporations, universities and individuals, striving to polish their interpersonal skills. You can reach Diane at 877-490-1077 or www.protocolschooloftexas.com.

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