It Is Not the Children’s Fault

Writing on the wall

"Social Q's" is Philip Galanes's advice column in the New York Times.  Every Tuesday in Anti-Social Q's, I will answer the same questions as "Social Q's," with a greater regard for the sad state of the human condition.

This week Philip doles out some advice to a bunch of adults and a child.  The child is the most mature of the lot.  We are doomed.  It will not be long before this poor soul starts imitating the buffoons that surround it.

Old Enough at Heart

I am a seventh grader in New York City, and I love going to the theater, especially with my friends.  Now that I can no longer buy under-12 tickets, mine cost just as much as everyone else’s in the theater, but I am still treated like a child who can’t behave.  How should I respond when anxious ushers tell me not to kick the seats in front of me before I’m even seated?  Or when adults warn me that taking pictures is not allowed, which everyone knows?  I don’t want to whine (like a child), but I don’t want to be patronized, either.  Any suggestions?

Zoe, Brooklyn

Aw Zoe.  You are such a sweet little heart, are you not?  First of all, do you look older than twelve?  If not, why buy the older priced tickets?  Anyway, if any of these bozos bothers you, it is time you behaved like the astute young lady that you are.  Give that jerk a stern talking to, "Listen, usher boy, I paid full price for this ticket so I expect to be treated like the adult that you expect me to be when I pay for my stub.  Now if you persist to be an annoying little gnat, more so annoying than the little brats in here, I will expect a refund of my ticket to the child's rate.  Do you understand?  Also, do you know I plan to be an attorney in just a few short years.  Oh, and also a journalist.  I will have the media on your ass in no time flat.  Are we understood?  Good.  Thank you for showing me to my seat and have yourself a wonderful evening, I know I will."  That should take care of the problem.  If you do not feel like asserting yourself in such a manner, try this, "Listen jerk, I paid full price for this ticket so I will behave like all the other boorish adults you have showing up to this dump." and gracefully go sit yourself.

May I add, that the behavior of the usher is in no way a reflection on the person you are.  It is a reflection on the person the usher is.  Just assuming that every young person is sure to be immature is a sign of an unhealthy mental state.  We should also not discount the fact that the theater may be forcing him or her to say that.

Thoughtful Gestures

I recently received a notice from a charity that a donation had been made in honor of my birthday.  The charity is a favorite of the donor, but certainly not one of mine.  I couldn’t care less about it.  How should I recognize this “gift”?


Drop the "friend" and move on.  Being charitable is a good thing, no make that a great thing.  But be charitable with your own money, not somebody else's.  Grow up people.  Also, you need to start looking for happiness in non-material things.  Now that I think about it, you are both wrong.

A Real Meeting

On Facebook groups, I have met some people who are great to know.  We often start out in profession-based groups, but come to have bracing conversations of personal importance.  I travel often enough to arrange face-to-face meetings with some of these people.  Is this in the cards?  Or is the implicit agreement in online communities that we trade frankness for not asking to meet for a cup of coffee?


Your problem begins with the second word in your question.  I did not bother to read past that.

The Joke’s on You

I am planning a party for my dearly beloved three months hence and I want to send Save the Date announcements that include one of his favorite sayings: “The only excuse for not coming is death — your death!”  One reason it’s so funny is that my beloved is a gentle soul.  Would including the statement be offensive?

Suzaan, Queens

Yes.  So is the spelling of your name.  Learn to spell, parents.

Image courtesy of Jason Taellious.



Profile photo of FlossyFlossy
December 10th, 2013  11:51 AM

#1 is so sweet. Who would dare to talk to a sweetheart like her in such a manner. I am willing to bet that the little devils that would kick the chairs in front of them are accompanied by their worthless parents and probably do not get the talk from the usher.

Profile photo of photog17photog17
December 10th, 2013  12:18 PM

#2’s friend is an asshole and was appropriately placed in the #2 spot.

Profile photo of blybly
December 10th, 2013  1:33 PM

#3 is probably a creep.