using a fan at the theater, was I being unreasonable?

(121 Posts)
carlajean Mon 13-Jan-14 22:53:28

We were at the theater tonight and a woman two rows in front had a fan that she was using most of the way through the second half. It was a tense drama, but having a white fan constantly flicking backwards and forwards really put me off. Was I unreasonable to approach her afterwards and tell her (calmly) how annoying it was? She looked at me as though I was mad, and now I feel an idiot AND irritated.

maillotjaune Mon 13-Jan-14 22:57:54

It wasn't electric, no? Perhaps she was hot? I can see it might have been a bit annoying but that's the risk you take when you go places there are people. smile

BackforGood Mon 13-Jan-14 23:02:08

As long as it wasn't one the size of those used by the Tiller Girls, I think it's OK.
Some theatres get very hot. I've used a fan before now. I can't see how it could be that distracting.

carlajean Mon 13-Jan-14 23:04:38

No, it wasn't hot (to me)

carlajean Mon 13-Jan-14 23:04:55

No, it wasn't hot (to me)

WorraLiberty Mon 13-Jan-14 23:05:15

YWBU to approach her afterwards - yes.

I'm not sure what good it will have done?

I doubt she's going to stop using the fan when she's hot and tbh, I don't see why she should.

GlitzAndGiggles Mon 13-Jan-14 23:08:11

What reaction were you expecting?

BackforGood Mon 13-Jan-14 23:09:02

Yes, but she might have been hot. We all have different levels at which we are comfortable, and then some of us can have several hot flushes during one evening.

Bit pointless to approach her afterwards to tell her - that ship has sailed. grin I'd probably tell you where to stick it in her shoes, but would be more amenable if approached at the time or during the interval.

Beamur Mon 13-Jan-14 23:14:31

She might also be unwell or menopausal - hot flushes aren't much fun.

sonlypuppyfat Mon 13-Jan-14 23:15:52

It must have been off putting for you but I suffer with being hot I feel like I'm going to explode its awful.

AnyFucker Mon 13-Jan-14 23:17:21

I think that was unreasonable, actually

I presume the flashing back/forwards was in your eye line and was distracting ?

I also wear contact lenses and suffer from dry eyes towards the evening, so if there was a constant draft it would be uncomfortable for me

I woudl have very politely asked her to stop during the performance though, if it bothered me that much

carlajean Mon 13-Jan-14 23:17:48

Oh well, I stand corrected. BTW I couldn't have said anything at the time as she was two rows in front and only did it in the second half.

Peekingduck Mon 13-Jan-14 23:20:25

I had horrible flushes during the change and wouldn't have thought it was reasonable to use a fan in the theatre, cinema or any public performance other than an outdoor concert. She was an inconsiderate PITA. OK, saying something was too late for you, but maybe it saved some other poor sods putting up with her and her fan in future.

AnyFucker Mon 13-Jan-14 23:21:51

Actually, not very clear there

I think the woman was U for using the fan

RussianBlu Mon 13-Jan-14 23:26:39

I think you were within your rights. You could hardly get up and crawl over people to ask her to stop. I'm sure the people near her were annoyed but weren't brave enough to say anything. Hopefully she will think more in future.

iheartdusty Mon 13-Jan-14 23:26:47

I think YANBU.

Much of the point of theatre is the spectacle, no? So having someone flicking a white thing about in your line of vision would be very tiresome.

she should have thought how it would seem to anyone sitting behind her.

coco44 Mon 13-Jan-14 23:27:46

How old was she? Hot flushes?

MrsBungle Mon 13-Jan-14 23:30:38

She must have been wafting it with some gusto for it to affect you two rows back!

AwfulMaureen Mon 13-Jan-14 23:39:52

YANBU. How annoying. Mum consistently faints in I see why she needed my Mum maybe she should avoid the theatre?

BillyBanter Mon 13-Jan-14 23:54:26

I would imagine it could easily be just as annoying as someone looking at their phone, which got a very different response a couple of weeks ago. confused

sykadelic15 Mon 13-Jan-14 23:56:03

You were NOT BU to tell her it was annoying. It would have bugged me too... seeing something constantly moving in my line of sight.

IAmNotAPrincessIAmAKaleesi Mon 13-Jan-14 23:59:19


She was being unreasonable to have been using it

Picturesinthefirelight Mon 13-Jan-14 23:59:46

2 rows in front & it annoyed you!!

I've been in a hot theatre where everyone was fanning themselves with their programmes.


Spermysextowel Tue 14-Jan-14 00:07:15

Precisely what Billy said. This would really have ruined my evening.

Caitlin17 Tue 14-Jan-14 00:10:01

I usually have a fan with me for events in the Edinburgh Festival and Edinburgh Fringe as surprisingly it can get very warm up here in August, venues are packed and often venues are not air conditioned.

Whether I use it depends more on what others are doing. If there are other people fanning themselves with flyers ( which one collects by the bucket load at that time of year) then I will use it. I wouldn't if no one else was. The etiquette of fan usage seems to find its own level. Outwith the festivals I would take a fan if it had been a hot day but would only use it at the interval.

Caitlin17 Tue 14-Jan-14 00:11:06

I don't see the point of telling her afterwards. It won't undo matters.

Rosencrantz Tue 14-Jan-14 04:09:11

I take it that you've never had a hot flush OP!

Yabu. Just because you're not hot, doesn't mean other people are mad for being too warm.

kmc1111 Tue 14-Jan-14 05:58:53

That would seriously annoy me if it was in my line of sight. Much more than the light from a phone. It's the movement that's the problem, it would keep catching your eye, and it's almost impossible to ignore something like that.

TwatWeevil Tue 14-Jan-14 06:01:42

I've been in a theatre before that handed out fans to audience members on entry, because they knew the place got hot and didn't want people to faint. I don't recall all the fanning being distracting, sorry.

SiliconeSally Tue 14-Jan-14 06:25:00

Totally bad manners to sit in a serious tense drama flapping away with a white fan.

diddl Tue 14-Jan-14 06:50:55

"Totally bad manners to sit in a serious tense drama flapping away with a white fan."

Absolurely-she should have useed a black one!

coco44 Tue 14-Jan-14 08:09:08

So how conmea diabled child stimming in a theatre is OK, but a menopausal woman fanning is not?

SilverApples Tue 14-Jan-14 08:13:26

One is not under the person's control, the other is a choice. hmm

Caitlin17 Tue 14-Jan-14 08:15:28

twatweevil me too, but that's what I meant about the audience finding its own level of etiquette. If there is an assumption it's ok it will be ok. If only one person is doing it, then possibly not ok.

Caitlin17 Tue 14-Jan-14 08:18:33

coco not sure what you meant to say but anything which interrupts the performance/detracts from the experience is equally not ok as far as I'm concerned.

polythenespam Tue 14-Jan-14 08:20:53

My mum uses a fan in public due to hot flushes. She also suffers from anxiety and it takes her a lot of courage sometimes to go out into certain situations. If somebody told her she was annoying for using a fan, she probably wouldn't go out for about 6 months. I really hope that the woman you approached isn't as sensitive OP and has been able to brush off your rudeness.

How big was this fan if it was distracting you from 2 rows behind anyway?!

NotNewButNameChanged Tue 14-Jan-14 08:24:42


And I say that as someone who works in the arts. It's actually very hard to properly heat a lot of theatres because of their age and if they are listed. For example, I work in a listed theatre and we aren't even allowed to replace old cast iron radiators with modern ones, which means we cannot control each individual radiator, only the temperature of the boiler for the whole system. As a result, it can easily be very warm in one part and relatively cold in the other. This means occasionally some people will fan themselves - usually with a programme, occasionally they will bring a fan.

Flapping with a fan has been part and parcel of going to theatres since time began, pretty much. In Victorian times, you'd have seen the vast majority of the women using a fan. When people went to opera, they often used to be able to buy the script and follow along and you used to hear the sound of 700 people all turning the pages at the same time.

I find the unwrapping of sweets a far more annoying problem (which is why we don't sell wrapped sweets, but of course people bring their own) or the constant sound of crushing of plastic glasses underfoot now that more theatres are allowing people to take drinks into the auditorium with them because they can't cope without a drink for 60-90 minutes.

vixsatis Tue 14-Jan-14 08:26:53

Fully familiar with hot flushes; but any sort of fidgeting around in the theatre is completely unacceptable.

The fan sounds irritating; but sweet-eating is worse- all that rustling and chomping, as is sipping from a bottle of water throughout. Have a drink before you go in and one in the interval: no play is so long that one needs to drink during the performance. I also cannot stand couples who fidget with one another at the theatre.

It goes without saying that talking and phone checking are completely beyond the pale

carlajean Tue 14-Jan-14 08:27:16

So i'm not allowed to say (quite calmly, as I said) to your mum polythenespam that she spoilt my enjoyment of a tense drama by using a fan in case I upset her! I spent £50 on my ticket and it was so distracting having it flickering away at the periphery of my vision. Thanks to all who get my point. It wasn't the size of it, it was just the constant flicking that was distracting.

chemenger Tue 14-Jan-14 08:35:40

It would annoy me to have something white constantly moving in my visual field at the theatre. Maybe she now might at least buy a dark coloured fan, ie think about others around her and their (expensively bought) experience. If I was sitting next to her I would have asked her to stop and if she didn't I would have complained to theatre staff. From two rows behind I would have been annoyed but wouldn't have done anything.

I would think there are more effective ways of cooling down in a theatre than vaguely moving warm air around. Maybe take a cool pack (those frozen wine cooler things or lunch box cool packs), wrap in something and apply as needed. Maybe I will take one to the theatre in future in case I have to ask a fan wielding person to stop. Maybe it's a business opportunity....

whois Tue 14-Jan-14 08:35:52

I have been in a situation when someone a rows in front was fanning themselves. The movement was distracting, and the breeze she created was much worse. Really bugged me.

I don't think you were U for saying something OP.

Agreed that sweet eating, drink sipping, looking at phones are all annoying too and shouldn't be done in theatres.

So how conmea diabled child stimming in a theatre is OK, but a menopausal woman fanning is not?

If I was had paid £45+ (probably more like £80) to see a tense drama I would be fucked off if someone was stimming near me. Its not cool to be making noises or arm movements at something like a tense drama.

GlassCastle Tue 14-Jan-14 08:46:44

I had hot flushes and I did make decisions about where I went because of them. I had no desire to sit trapped in a theatre seat looking like somebody had emptied a bucket of water over me.

Some places and events are unavoidable (work) but i did avoid certain pubs and restaurants because they were heated to subtropical temperatures and changing rooms of shops were universally ruled out.

Shitehawke Tue 14-Jan-14 09:00:39

Why couldn't she use a discreet electric fan!? At least you hold that still.

choceyes Tue 14-Jan-14 09:18:10

YANBU at all. I think a tense drama is quite different to musical theatre too. A drama needs concentration and silence. At a musical with all that music going on, these things don't really cause much distruption, but in a drama it's not on. Whenever I've been to see a play/tense drama etc, nobody ate, drank, fanned themselves or whatever, and it would have been extremely odd to start doing so.

longjane Tue 14-Jan-14 09:46:33

What would happen if she had fainted ? Or got up and walked out and walked back in again .

What should have done if she was feeling hot /faint seeing as like you she had spent 60 quid on ticket .

Please tell us what she should done?

chemenger Tue 14-Jan-14 11:07:16

What should she have done - since she clearly anticipated that she might need to cool down she should have thought of a solution that was less likely to disturb other theatre goers. Booking an aisle seat so that she could leave and return with minimal disturbance might have been a better idea. Now that someone has pointed out to her that her fan was a problem she has the opportunity to find a better solution.

NotNewButNameChanged Tue 14-Jan-14 11:16:16

Chemenger - I know some women who take a fan IN CASE it may be warm. But you don't actually know until you get to the theatre. And when you book there may not be any aisle seats available. A venue with 400 seats could have as few as 20 aisle seats. Regardless, what about those people who don't anticipate they might need to cool down? They will just fan themselves with a programme (if they happen to bought one). There will be VERY few front of house staff who would ask a patron NOT to fan themselves and it is not something they could throw you out for in the same way they might ask you to leave if you had a phone that went off and you answered it, or didn't take out your screaming child, or got up and pissed against the wall (yes, it's happened).

Crowler Tue 14-Jan-14 11:20:25

I think it's a bit strange to bring a fan into a theatre. Do people really do this?

NotNewButNameChanged Tue 14-Jan-14 11:24:33

Crowler - yes, some do. Although I have to say it's more prevalent at opera and musicals than plays. And certainly something that regular theatregoers are more likely to do and, by the same token, regular theatregoers are more likely be used to seeing people fanning themselves and therefore not find it distracting.

wowfudge Tue 14-Jan-14 11:25:07

This is very similar to someone looking at the brightly lit screen of their mobile phone in the cinema. It's a distraction to other audience members. However, if it was such an issue I would have either spoken to the person or got one of the front of house staff to do so. I don't agree with NotNewButNameChanged - if patrons have a issue, who else do they turn to? Too many people are inconsiderate of others in these kinds of social situations.

Crowler Tue 14-Jan-14 11:27:10

I thought we were referring to the cinema, my bad, where I normally bring my ski gear. Freezing.

It does get hot in a lot of the old theatres. If you're really far from the actors and it's really hot....? Some of the balcony seats get fantastically hot.

NotNewButNameChanged Tue 14-Jan-14 11:36:37

Wowfudge - I manage a theatre. I know what I am talking about. Most front of house stewards would regard a patron fanning themselves as acceptable behaviour. If an audience member complained to front of house (unlikely - in my 10 years' experience I've never heard of it in my venue) a steward might possibly ask them to cease but if the patron chose not to, that patron would not be removed from the theatre, which would or should be the case with someone who uses their phone, talks through a performance or pisses themselves against the wall. Fanning simply isn't regarded as a disruption in the same way.

Recently someone complained about an issue in the orchestra pit. The patron found it distracting that they could see a violinist's sheet music and they found the whiteness of it distracting. What are we supposed to do, tell the musician they can't PLAY?

LessMissAbs Tue 14-Jan-14 11:52:13

YANBU - because you didn't bellow out in the middle of the performance, ruining everyone else's enjoyment.

YANBU also because you say she used the fan for most of the performance. The mobile phone light in the previous thread was for a few seconds a few times.

Mind you, I would still probably have ignored it. I just don't find small lights that off putting in a cinema, although if the noise of the fan was audible and constant then that would have annoyed me.

What sort of fans comes with lights?

wowfudge Tue 14-Jan-14 12:02:32

NotNewButNameChanged - my opinion doesn't mean I think don't know what you are talking about. I just don't agree with you that staff should do nothing if a paying punter is having their experience spoiled by the lack of consideration of another audience member.

NotNewButNameChanged Tue 14-Jan-14 12:18:39

Wow - OK. I'm genuinely interested what you think should be done in these circumstances:

Person A is fanning themselves throughout Act I.
Person B complains to front of house at the interval.
Front of house asks Person A if they would mind not fanning.
Person A says they find it too warm and no they won't.

Should front of house refuse to let Person A remain in the theatre for Act II and kick them out?

kelda Tue 14-Jan-14 12:25:17

YABU. I've had someone faint in the seats in front of me due to the heat - that was far more distressing, not to mention distracting. I wish they had used a fan.

BIWI Tue 14-Jan-14 12:25:28

No matter how tense the drama, if you go to the theatre where there are hundreds of other people, something will be distracting. People cough, or shuffle, or read their programmes during the play.

What on earth did you expect? Everyone to keep stock still for the hour or so?


How about a bit of empathy for the woman who was so hot that she had to resort to using a fan? Presumably the heat was also spoiling her enjoyment of the 'tense drama'?

wowfudge Tue 14-Jan-14 12:50:40

NotNew - apologies; I should be fully concentrating on one thing, instead of trying to do several at once! I saw your post in which you stated that very few front of house staff would speak to a patron fanning themselves. I see you have said in a later post that if someone complained then FoH staff might possibly speak to that person and ask them to cease. If someone asked me to stop as I was distracting other people, I would, even if it made me uncomfortable, as a courtesy to others.

If the person were selfish enough not to stop fanning themselves in a manner distracting to others, what recourse would the other audience member(s) have if they felt the performance was ruined for them?

LessMissAbs Tue 14-Jan-14 13:03:05

I'm beginning to get the feeling theres more than a few people who go to the cinema/theatre/whatever to look at other people in the audience, rather than the performance...

SilverApples Tue 14-Jan-14 13:04:10

'No matter how tense the drama, if you go to the theatre where there are hundreds of other people, something will be distracting. People cough, or shuffle, or read their programmes during the play.'

That was one of the hardest things to teach my Aspie, that you couldn't scold parents for their annoying children, and that as it wasn't illegal to unwrap and eat sweets in the theatre he couldn't object to that either.
He's the one who embarrassed me by saying 'For God's sake woman, can't you control your children?' when he was 6 and at the cinema. Loudly, standing up and glaring. Yes she was allowing them to misbehave, but I wasn't expecting him to do that. (Channeling his grandfather)
Last time we went to the theatre with Dsis and her children, he was so irritated by her that he moved seats.
If you are sharing a space with a number of other people, much of what they do will probably on your nerves. It's part of the experience, sadly.

MelanieRavenswood Tue 14-Jan-14 13:16:38

I am shocked by the posters on here saying that menopausal women and disabled children shouldn't go to the theatre for fear of annoying others. Wtf? So you are such a precious flower that you can't cope with movement from someone else (who can't help it) when you are watching something? Maybe you are the one who should stay home.

SirChenjin Tue 14-Jan-14 13:22:42

I think - as someone upthread said - there are other ways of cooling yourself down which don't involve waving a fan around. Generally when you go to the cinema/theatre/opera/anything which costs an arm and a leg the rule of thumb is that you should be as unobstrusive and cause as little disruption as possible to those around you - unless you have no alternative. Patently there are alternatives to wafting a fan around.

NotNewButNameChanged Tue 14-Jan-14 13:26:52

Wow - it's about balance and the level of the distraction though, isn't it? As fanning is generally not uncommon behaviour and has been in theatres for probably 200 years, for most people and for most theatres, it simply isn't a distraction in the way that someone using their mobile phone is. I'm not denying that for some people, it can be a distraction, but it's managing reasonable expectations. If this were 1894 when almost all theatres were still lit by gas, almost everyone would be fanning because of the heat generated.

I mean, you could be 5ft tall and the chap in front of you be 6ft 3 and as a result you can't see a lot of the performance. The show is sold out and there is nowhere else to move you. Do you expect the theatre to remove the person who is too tall because they have ruined your experience? Should the theatre ask people their height when they make a booking? Should you be entitled to your money back? Of course not.

I'm afraid It's a public building and it is always possible than one person out of 200 may be distracted by someone doing something - that just has to be accepted. If behaviour in unreasonable, then staff will do something, but, as a rule of thumb, a fan in a hot theatre is not generally regarded as unreasonable by most if not all theatre managements and most, I suspect, regular audience members.

Of course if the production is really good, it should take more than a bit of fanning two rows away to distract you from the drama! wink

Caitlin17 Tue 14-Jan-14 14:08:01

Crowler during Edinburgh Festival events in August which get very crowded and hot I always take a fan. I have seen venues offering them.

Not a battery fan though, that wouldn't be acceptable.

Caitlin17 Tue 14-Jan-14 14:08:02

Crowler during Edinburgh Festival events in August which get very crowded and hot I always take a fan. I have seen venues offering them.

Not a battery fan though, that wouldn't be acceptable.

BakeOLiteGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 14:08:07

I've worked FOH in a theatre for years. Getting the temperature right is something that is worked on all through the performance. At the venue I worked, we did regular temperature checks. But, due to the nature of air conditioning in the old venue, it was usual for people just two rows in front to be baking hot, while someone sat two rows behind would be wrapping themselves up in coats.

What is more distracting than a fan, is having to move an unconscious person or fainter from the middle of the row. I've done it regularly. It's hard to do without causing a massive disturbance to those around. In that instance, a fan would be less intrusive.

Also to the comment about people with disabilities stimming, there are laws in place to protect these people's right to see theatre.

SirChenjin Tue 14-Jan-14 14:52:46

This is an interesting thread. Someone recently posted about her friend who checked the time once on her mobile phone during a cinema performance and was given a bit of a bollocking by another cinema goer after the film. The general consensus from MN was that it was distracting, extremely rude and unfair on those who had paid a lot of money to see the cinema.

I would find the constant movement of a fan far more distracting during a quiet theatre performance far more distracting that one quick flick of a mobile phone light during a performance containing light, movement and noise.

NotNewButNameChanged Tue 14-Jan-14 14:56:50

Sir - how often do you go to the theatre, out of interest?

SirChenjin Tue 14-Jan-14 15:13:30

Not as often as you.

NotNewButNameChanged Tue 14-Jan-14 15:42:15

Ha ha, probably not! I live here. My suspicion is that people who go often or regularly would probably think absolutely nothing of fanning but those who rarely go might well find it annoying. There'd be exceptions but think as a general rule of thumb that's probably the case.

I find people who have never been to the theatre before find it incomprehensible when a theatre doesn't allow them to take drinks into the auditorium because they are used to it in a cinema.

SamU2 Tue 14-Jan-14 15:46:10

I bet this was my mother in law hmm

ComposHat Tue 14-Jan-14 15:47:11

Fans at the theatre? Where did you go to theatre? The Regency Period? Did she peer coquettishly over the top?

SirChenjin Tue 14-Jan-14 15:50:31

I don't think it matters how often you go to the cinema/theatre/opera/any other public area you've paid money to - it's perfectly possible to have opinions on what you find annoying or unacceptable from other people regardless.

gleegeek Tue 14-Jan-14 15:59:44

YABU. If the lady felt the need to fan herself, she was obviously feeling the heat. Theatres can be absolutely boiling hot and she had a solution with her to help - unless it was absolutely vast then it was probably less distracting than someone waving their programme around to cool down.

Am so sad at some of the comments about disabled children and menopausal women being too distracting to allow into the theatresad and shock

NotNewButNameChanged great posts! When did we become so precious?

This is the only possible reason for spending a small fortune on a programme, so that you can flap it like a fan without attracting attention.

carlajean Tue 14-Jan-14 16:14:46

Well, this being mn, in 12 hours we've jumped to posters taking umbrage at menapausal women being dissed. She definately didn't look old enough to be menapausal. Have any of the POs considered that she might just be a PITA with no consideration for othe people? Also, it IS January - no way was it as hot as many posters are hypothathising.

MelanieRavenswood Tue 14-Jan-14 16:16:59

well, since there's obviously no such thing as early menopause, and no such thing as medical conditions that might make you feel hot, and there's no such thing as feeling too hot inside just because it's January, clearly the only thing left is that she must have decided to irritate a few people on purpose.

SirChenjin Tue 14-Jan-14 16:26:49

Or maybe she was just one of those people who is oblivious to people around her? Not necessarily wanting to piss people off, just a bit thoughtless.....

NotNewButNameChanged Tue 14-Jan-14 16:29:30

MrsCakes - West End programmes are a rip off, often costing £5, totally agree with you there. Ours are between 50p and £2 depending on what the show is.

Carla - you need to go to more theatres and you'll know about heat in the winter months!

Sir - didn't say it wasn't possible or valid to have a different opinion. I was merely suggesting that people who did certain activities more often and are therefore used to certain behaviours are probably less like to find things distracting than those who rarely do them.

Melanie - yes, think you're probably spot on there wink

kelda Tue 14-Jan-14 16:44:04

oh yes, that must be it, she was using a fan just to annoy everyone else in the theatrehmm

BakeOLiteGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 16:57:40

Theatres can get exceptionally hot all year round. Especially when wearing black polyester and trying to calm down customers who complain about everything from the price of white wine to the pattern of wall paper.

NewtRipley Tue 14-Jan-14 17:10:05

I think I'd have been distracted, and if I felt strongly enough I'd have approached her at the interval to ask her to hold it down a bit.

But I think approaching someone else after the event is pointless.

Don't sit and fume - decide to put up with it or do something about it.

She wasn't being unreasonable to use the fan but maybe there was a way for her to do so without annoying others

manicinsomniac Tue 14-Jan-14 17:28:54

YABU I think

I go to the theatre a lot and absolutely do not allow either my children or myself to talk, eat, drink, look at phones, wriggle about etc. But a fan? That's normal and surely can't be that distracting. You're not in there by yourself, things will happen to take your attention away.

Have you ever been to the Dunmar theatre in London? I went in Summer and it was almost unbearable (Jude Law shirtless made it somewhat more bearable but no less hot! grin) I'd say the majority of the audience was a sea of rolled up programmes fanning away. It did help.

And those who have said that disabled children shouldn't be allowed there - not cool, we've been through all that before and many of us have learned not to so unempathetic and disablist. There is a campaign about that but I don't know what the link it.

This is the campaign.
The remarks about stimming were disgusting. angry

SirChenjin Tue 14-Jan-14 17:48:50

I completely disagree. It is possible to do something on a regular basis (use public transport, for example) and be irritated by something that another person does - and yet others may not mind that behaviour at all.

Caitlin17 Tue 14-Jan-14 17:49:04

The difference between using a phone or a fan is that fans are quite normal in a theatre and I've never been in a venue where they are banned. Some venues even supply them.

So far as phones apart from standing non classical concerts all venues tell you to switch them off.

Caitlin17 Tue 14-Jan-14 17:59:55

In relation to children with special needs how far is this expected to be tolerated by the audience?

If a child is shouting out or talking through a play/ballet/opera is that just tough luck for the rest of the audience?

I expect I'll get flamed for asking this, but so be it.

BakeOLiteGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 18:09:21

Adults with special needs shout out during performances too. I've seen audiences been tolerant and empathetic. There are some people who have screamed and shouted at the theatre manager because of it. People both adults and children with disabilities have every right to go to the theatre and this is protected in law.

I think when Relaxed Performances are more commonplace, it will be better for people with disabilites to enjoy the theatre in a more supportive environment.

I am really passionate that people with additional needs get the opportunity to enjoy theatre.

Caitlin17 Tue 14-Jan-14 18:14:00

Bakelite even to the point of ruining the performance?

So basically you think the level of tolerance should be whatever happens?

manicinsomniac Tue 14-Jan-14 18:18:11

Caitlin17 - yes, it's tough luck.

I'm ashamed to say that it took another mn-er to get me to understand this last year but I have now fully understood it and am horrified by my previous, unthinking and cruel views.

An average theatre goer might experience disruption caused by someone else's involuntary behaviour once or twice in their entire lives. A disabled person faces discrimination and judgement and the consequences of their own involuntary behaviour every time they go out. It is up to as the people without the disability to show some compassion and deal with any annoyance or disappointment just that once.

BakeOLiteGirl Tue 14-Jan-14 18:18:34

I have never seen a performance ruined. Carers come too and at my old venue there were staff allocated to deal with access issues.

I've seen families leave performances because one of their party with additional needs was being loud and they felt badly about it. I think this is really sad.

JessieMcJessie Tue 14-Jan-14 18:27:46

OP, YWBU to mention it to her at the end. Chances of you two ever being in the same theatrical proximity again-negligible.What did you hope to achieve? Did you tell her out of altruism,or just feel the need to tell her off?

KareKare Tue 14-Jan-14 18:39:35

That would have driven me to distraction.

If this women can't sit still or finds it too hot, I think she should cross theatre trips off her list of things to do or she should be considerate of others and sit in the back row.

carlajean Tue 14-Jan-14 19:01:46

But, as i've said twice already, she did it in the second half and i was two rows behind her, so i couldn't say anything at the time. I don't mind be ing told iwbu though, that's why i posted.

hoobypickypicky Tue 14-Jan-14 19:03:46

"She definately didn't look old enough to be menapausal."

Oh, so that's ok then, just because she didn't look old enough to be menopausal.

You do realise that as well as women who undergo premature menopause naturally there are those who experience it in their 20s and 30s as a result of surgical procedures like oophoretomy, don't you?

Perhaps you don't. If you did you'd surely also know that the flushes are often far more severe and frequent than those experienced by women who are "old enough to be menopausal" and that the side effects can be miserable and excruciatingly embarrassing enough without some insensitive, thoughtless and entitled person going up to them after a theatre performance to tell her that her attempts to prevent herself from suffering significant distress and discomfort were "annoying" them.

Joysmum Tue 14-Jan-14 19:51:02

People can fan themselves from a level lower than the eye line. Still works, can't be seen by those behind.

carlajean Tue 14-Jan-14 20:17:49

So what's the likelehood of that being the case hooby?

Devonsmile Tue 14-Jan-14 20:18:04

Wow OP you are in for a massive shock, when the menopause hit,

I had a cancer so had everything out or off, and cannot take any hormone replacement, and you would think me far too young to be menopausal.

Personally I think the inventor of fans should be give a Nobel prize.

The panic feel as a flush hits would make you strip naked and jump into the sea in mid winter, if did what you really feel like doing,

a top of the range electric fan three inches from your face only just gives you hope,

the sleep you get makes being a single parent of teething triplets look like an easy option,

sometimes you feel that ripping your own skin off as sensible,

If feels as if all the oxygen has been sucked out of the room and someone has mistaken you for a Christmas pudding,poured brandy and set light.

I have no idea how you don't have the concept that this happens to women, you should perhaps in future before berating someone for doing something that irritates you, just take a few moments to think if there is a logical reason they may be doing it, if you can't come up with a logical reason ask someone else before you jump in.

Because hopefully this woman will brush off her encounter with you as unfortunate meeting with a twonk with limited life experience, but you probably soured her evening and knocked her confidence to go out,

and all because you haven't bothered to find out what happens next.

hoobypickypicky Tue 14-Jan-14 20:32:01

"So what's the likelehood of that being the case hooby?"

I don't know, carlajean, I'm not a statistician or a consultant in women's health, but I do know it happens, I do know how awful it is and I can't think of many reasons apart from menopause why a woman might be hot enough to be fanning herself on a January evening. Can you?

Devonsmile, you have my sympathy and my empathy.

carlajean Tue 14-Jan-14 21:03:38

Well, thanks for the warning, but I went through the menapause several years ago. And, if you think I berated her you haven't been reading what I wrote, just jumping to your own conclusions.

Devonsmile Tue 14-Jan-14 21:17:31

well I look at it as I'm getting it out the way,

anyway while I was going throughout chemo (and flushes) I did chat to a lot of women in the same boat, I'm really surprised that people are not aware lots of women go through this in their twenties, thirties and forties,

I'm sure I would of died of hipothermia by now if I was single, in my sleep(deranged thrashing about) I throw open the window, take off anything I'm wearing, throw off duvet (or sheet(you only want a sheet) and switch on the fan,

my husband often wakes to find me totally freezing, but asleep, I refuse to take any covers, as in my half wake state I'm terrified it will start again,

it's wretched when you are in your own space, and can strip naked and jump in the shower,

I held a mini ice pack clutched to my chest wrapped in a silk scarf all the way through the children's end of term concert, and contemplated making a jacket with secret pockets which I could fill with ice packs,

the thing with flushes is you have an equal and opposite reaction,

So one minute you wonder if you are actually on fire and have blanked out what you are protesting about and you will do anything to make it stop, then after you go so extremely cold it is like you just swam from Kirkcaldy to North Berwick in mid winter, you can't function.

It's a bit like having extreme flu over and over again.

Having a bath is dangerous, you either sit in one so cold, you go blue, anything warm will set off a flush,

anyway if you are lucky you will live long enough to find out for yourself.

I don't recommend the accelerate experience, the blockers make sure that no hormone slip through so I didn't ease into it, instant shock for my body.

Devonsmile Tue 14-Jan-14 21:21:33

sorry cross post there carlajean I was replying to hoobypickypicky

and there is no way you have been through the menopause, or you would of got why she was fanning, so , just no.

never mind you were doing well.

Caitlin17 Tue 14-Jan-14 21:26:48

Devon not every one gets hot flushes. I had no symptoms at all apart from periods stopping.

hoobypickypicky Tue 14-Jan-14 21:27:07

You forgot to add, Devonsmiles, that horrible state where you wake up to find that even the calves of your legs are sweating, and the broken sleep night after night, week after week, month after month, year after year.

I still genuinely can't think of any other reason why a woman would be fanning herself on a January evening.

hoobypickypicky Tue 14-Jan-14 21:30:09

Caitlin17, are you referring to normal age-range onset menopause or early and/or surgical menopause? The effects of the latter two are generally far more extreme than the effects of the former.

Caitlin17 Tue 14-Jan-14 21:35:49

I was around 46/47. Is that early?

hoobypickypicky Tue 14-Jan-14 21:41:14

Not to my knowledge, Caitlin17. That would come into the category of normal menopause which is entered into gradually, a lot different, AFAIK, to being hurled into it literally overnight as a result of surgery as a young/younger woman.

Caitlin17 Tue 14-Jan-14 22:27:06

It's not relevant,just that some one said OP couldn't have gone through the menopause without having hot flushes but not every one does. I didn't.

JessieMcJessie Wed 15-Jan-14 07:19:20

carlajean your response to my opinion that YWBU becuase you didn't raise it with her till the performance was over:

"But, as i've said twice already, she did it in the second half and i was two rows behind her, so i couldn't say anything at the time. I don't mind be ing told iwbu though, that's why i posted."

What I meant was, why say anything at all then? The performance was over, so irritation also over. What were you hoping to achieve by telling her? She was never going to irritate you personally again. You're not her Mum, responsible for educating her in what is and is not acceptable behaviour. As many have said, the risk is that she had an unpleasant health condition and you made her feel guilty and ashamed of that and soured her experience of the theatre.

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Fleta Wed 15-Jan-14 14:22:45

Surely it depends how she was using the fan. Discreetly at chest level so the cool air fans up into her face would be ok.

Huge over the top fanning movements around her face wouldn't. I can totally see how that would be distracting.

I go to the theatre regularly and would be distracted by the latter.

I was once working at a performance where someone fainted due to heat. They had thermal vest, shirt, jumper, fleece and coat and scarf on. When asked why they hadn't removed them when they started feeling ill they replied saying they weren't prepared to risk their property being stolen.

101handbags Wed 15-Jan-14 14:25:28

Better not go to the Proms on a boiling hot summer night... the Albert Hall gets sweltering and every second person is fanning themselves...

Elsiequadrille Wed 15-Jan-14 14:29:34

I don't know. I sympathise, as it can get very hot in the theatre. But can also imagine just how irritating it might be, and pity the people sitting next to her.

I don't think you were being entirely unreasonable to approach her actually.

NotNewButNameChanged Wed 15-Jan-14 14:32:40

You're right 101handbags. Especially the last night. All that flag waving and balloons being thrown around would really distract from watching the orchestra and singers.

Fleta Wed 15-Jan-14 14:37:01

But LNOTP would be a different thing to serious drama wouldn't it - you'd have different expectations.

MissMilbanke Wed 15-Jan-14 14:37:52

This would have irritated me massively too.

Theatres are always hot - but I know this and always dress in something lightweight.

I wouldn't have been as brave as you and probably wouldn't have said anything but inwardly I would fume.

Mind you I am in the camp where I scowl at anybody eating popcorn in the cinema.

NotNewButNameChanged Wed 15-Jan-14 14:38:04

Fleta I was being sarcastic. I apologise.

Elsiequadrille Wed 15-Jan-14 14:38:55

Fan waving at proms wouldn't be so noticeable or distracting, especially last night, as others have said.

Fleta Wed 15-Jan-14 14:43:32

Sorry NotNew - completely missed the tone there. Oops!

I think the general rule is you try and be considerate don't you. You know you get hot in places then you dress to be as comfortable as possible, have an aisle seat so you can leave if necessary etc.

The absolute worst I have ever sat through was two ladies who - at every small bit of action - repeated "did you SEE what he did", "what did she say" "why are they doing that".


BackforGood Wed 15-Jan-14 20:22:15

Just another complication - I've got theatre tickets for March, April May and July this year.
They were all bought in September last year.
At that point, I wasn't having hot flushes.
All this 'dont' go' or 'book an aisle seat' suggests that you knew you were going to be going through a phase when you booked. (Obv not referring to the people who say dress appropriately)
That said, my answer would be the theatre should adjust the temperature to a reasonable level. Theatres vary, but I have been in some that they've just got the thermostat turned up too high. Of course you won't know this when deciding what to wear - I've been in them where they've got the air conditioning too high too grin

I still say if she was fanning subtly in front of her chest then you must have very high levels of distraction to be bothered by someone doing that. If it was an enormous foot long feather thing, or it was luminous or sparkly then you had a point wink

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