Tag Archives: manners

City Paper’s Free Movie Night @ Charles Theater Tonight

The good news? It’s movie night. The bad news? There is no bad news. We all get to go to the movies for free. What could be bad about that?

The City Paper loves and appreciates its readers so much that they’ve decided to partner with the Charles Theater to treat us all to a free movie tonight. And not just like “Oh look, Sony Pictures gave us 200 promo passes to that crappy Green Hornet movie, so go see that.” No, not like that at all. They’re doing it open house style, and letting everyone choose what they’d like to see from among the Charles’ current selection of movies. First come, first served.

A visual approximation of the Chop at the movies.

For our money (or in this case, for free) we’d recommend snagging a seat in the theater for Casino Jack. The Jack Abramoff scandal was big. It was huge. It was so big that we should still be talking about it today- big enough that Abramoff should still be in jail for a long time yet, instead of making pizzas in Park Heights. At least Kevin Spacey is one of a very few actors you can point to in Hollywood and say “That guy’s a good actor. If he’s in a movie, it’s probably a good movie.” And since Oliver Stone was nowhere near this one, we’re betting we’ll be able to stay awake the whole time.

Your other choices tonight are:

Rabbit Hole, a boring movie about old people feeling feelings. Nicole Kidman and Sandra Oh. Yawn.

Blue Valentine, a boring movie about slightly younger people feeling feelings. Sundance may like it, but we’re betting there’s not enough sex and nudity to keep us interested.

The Fighter is all about loudmouth assholes from Boston running around acting like loudmouth assholes from Boston. It’s got Marky Mark in it, and Conan O’Brien’s sister, who is now in jail.

The movie Somewhere is directed by spoiled Hollywood brat Sofia Coppola, and is about a spoiled Hollywood brat. Very meta. Bill Murray isn’t in it though, so to hell with it.

As we said, it’s first come-first served, with about 800 seats available total. All screenings start at 7 pm, with doors opening at 6 pm. We say get there at 5:45, bring a flask and tweet about it in real-time while you wait.

Also: let’s get this on record Baltimore… One (1) person may save one (1) seat at the movies. This business of one guy trying to save 4 or 5 seats in a theater is bullshit. It’s got to stop. If you try to save 4 seats by yourself, you’re being rude. Even if you say “Oh sorry. SORRRRREEYYYY. These are saved.” in your most conciliatory and saccharine tones, you’re still being an asshole. We will call you out on it, especially if there’s 2 minutes to showtime and the place is full.

2011 is the year of not taking any shit off of people who are pretending to be nice but actually being rude.
Fair warning.

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House Rules: Who Should Pay on the Last Date

You know, the discussion of who should pay on a first date is a pretty old, circular and tired argument. There are tens of thousands of opinions on the question in books and magazines and all over the internet, including our own sage advice on the matter. It’s the kind of question that most people ask simply because they want their own opinions reinforced, and most answers, whether foolish or wise, fall on deaf ears anyway.

We’re here today though to answer a question which is just as important, yet seldom ever discussed; namely, who should pay on the last date.

'It's not you... it's on me.'

We’ve got the answer, but before we give it to you we’ve got to figure out if a last date is even necessary. It can be a tough thing to end a relationship with someone. We’re not even talking about serious relationships here either. We mean Dumping someone, with a capital D. You don’t ‘Dump’ your long term significant other, and even if you did we wouldn’t have much advice to give you.

No, we’re talking about those sorts of relationships that get past that crucial third date, and may go all the way up to boyfriend or girlfriend status, but definitely stop short of “in love”. So, 99% of most peoples’ relationships.

Sometimes things just don’t work out, and if you’re not Dumping someone for a specific reason (like cheating, an argument, etc), you may think the most gentle and forthright way to go about it is over dinner, or at least over drinks or coffee or something. The Chop subscribed to this logic for many years, but plenty of very bitter experience (on both ends) has convinced us otherwise. It’s a sort of juvenile, emo record, life-as-romantic-comedy sort of idea that backfires more often than not.

The truth is that if you’re about to Dump someone you’re not in love with, you sometimes have very little idea how they might react. They might become angry or withdrawn or resentful or confused. They might even be indifferent. At any rate, Dumping someone halfway through a dinner is a sure-fire guarantee that the rest of the meal will be excruciatingly awkward and uncomfortable. The only thing worse than getting dumped is getting dumped in public.

Another strategy that some people pursue is to schedule a date, but then meet up and say “Oh, let’s not have dinner after all. We need to talk…” This is not any better, as it’s basically the equivalent of standing someone up one last time. If you arrange a date, a date should happen. Although this tactic is slightly preferable to calling the person you’re seeing on the phone and saying “We need to talk…” and then refusing to say anything else until you see them again. For the love of God, don’t do that!

We truly believe that in most cases a face-to-face Dumping is not necessary. On the rare occasions when you feel it is an obligation, the best way is to go over to someone’s house and be matter of fact about it. Any pretense of dinner or anything else will all come to nothing in the end.

But supposing you absolutely feel you simply must meet someone out in public for a pre-scheduled Dumping, because you “owe them that much at least” or whatever, the least you can do is pay the goddamn bill. That’s right. We’re calling it right now. It’s a new rule. From now on it will be a point of etiquette carved in stone: The person doing the dumping pays the bill. It doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight, man or woman. It doesn’t matter if you’re dumping them over beers at the Dizz, coffee at the Grind, or a Feast at 4 East. if you’re dumping, you’re paying.

It’s the least you can do. You owe them that much.

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House Rules: How to Make a Polite Introduction

It’s Monday Baltimore. It’s a new week, and the perfect time to introduce the first in an occasional series of posts called House Rules. House Rules will focus primarily on Barroom etiquette. The art and science of buying rounds, what to drink and how to tip, rules for last call, how to choose the proper bar for the right occasion… all will be covered. Over time the House Rules category will become a comprehensive guide and one-stop resource for proper behavior in the modern bar and nightlife scene.

A visual approximation of the Chop's weekend.

Rule #1: Introductions

It constantly amazes us how many people we know in Baltimore that we don’t actually know. It’s a shameful testament to the poor social graces of the Chop’s friends, who have failed to introduce us. It’s shocking when we come across someone on Facebook who shares more than 20 Friends whom we’ve never actually met socially.

The point was driven home at a show recently when a friend failed to introduce us to a friend of theirs. It really stuck in the Chop’s mind, because we had encountered the same non-acquaintance at the same bar a month prior, where she was chatting with Roommate, who also failed to make the introduction. We bumped into her a third time this weekend, this time with no common friends present. It would have been nice to be able to say hello and chat for a bit.

Now, the Chop is no wallflower, and isn’t afraid to introduce himself to anyone on principle, although in practice this can be very socially awkward, as a self-introduction will never go as smoothly as a proper social introduction.

An introduction must be made. It sounds simple, but the first and most important step in making an introduction is that you actually have to do it. This is a case where doing it wrong is far preferable to not doing it at all. Don’t ever assume that two people you know know each other also. If you’re unsure, there’s no shame in simply saying “Do you two know each other?” In any case, if you’re in a bar and someone you know joins your circle or takes the next stool, an introduction is required.

Respect is due. Social Primer gives the guidelines for who should take precedence in an introduction. A lot of the old rules don’t fully apply to Baltimore nightlife, but it is a good idea to present men to women. All things being equal, the Chop says give deference to the friend you’ve known longest, or to whom you’re closest.

Say who’s who. In any case, you should say the full names of all the people you’re introducing. It’s also good form to state your relationship to each party or how you know one another. For instance: “Brian Matusz, this is my cousin from Colorado Garrett Atkins. [then to Atkins] I met Brian at the University of San Diego.” or something similar to that.

Note what’s common. It’s always good form to let your friends know if they have anything in common, aside from knowing you. In our example above, you might say something like “Garrett has just been signed from the Rockies, and Brian was actually born in Grand Junction.” This will go a long way toward helping two strangers feel much more familiar with one another.

State the facts. It will be polite to note something current and significant about each person. If you’re introducing a guitarist in a local band to someone who regularly does volunteer work for a non-profit, you should say so. If you’re introducing someone who engages in no particular notable activity, it is also acceptable to address a hobby or interest they might have. This is to encourage conversation between your friends.“Garrett can play first or third base and Brian likes dinosaurs and gummy bears.”

It’s pleasure, not business. While there are exceptions, it is traditionally impolite to mention someone’s job during a social introduction. Not everyone particularly likes their job. Some people can even be downright ashamed of what they do for a living. Still others have good jobs they may enjoy, but which are conversational dead ends. No one wants to discuss desks and cubicles and memoranda while they’re out at night. A fairly large income gap between your friends might also be a factor. Personally, the Chop has a very interesting job which we like and usually don’t mind discussing, but it’s uncommon enough that it provokes the same set of questions often, and answering them can become tiresome quickly.

Keep the conversation going. If you’re in the middle of a conversation you mean to finish when one of your friends approaches, You should pause to make a quick introduction and then resume the conversation, now including the person who just approached. If we were talking with Brian Matusz about who in Baltimore serves the best hamburgers when cousin Garrett stepped up to the bar, we might say to Atkins “I was just telling Brian about the burgers at Alonso’s. Have you had a chance to try Abbey Burger Bistro in Federal Hill yet?” Which will go a long way toward making a new arrival feel welcomed and valued.

And really, isn’t feeling welcome and valued the goal with all social interactions?

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