Tips for a perfectly proper audience

May 4, 2016


This story can be found in the book, "The Majorettes are back in town and other things to love about the South."

Well, well, well … what have we here? Could it be a springtime graduation or recital? How about an end-of-the-year awards ceremony? It’s a good thing the Alabama chapter of the Committee for the Preservation of Loveliness has issued new guidelines — not for the graduates or award winners, but instead, we’ve just updated and revised the standards of behavior for the most important element of all productions — the audience.

Ahem, now that we have your undivided attention, which in this day and age is a difficult thing to do, let’s start with the attendee’s appearance. Those who take to the stage are often required to wear nice clothing or a cute costume, so the audience should also wear their best.  Please notify Paw-Paw that his overalls and Flora-Bama baseball cap will have to wait until another time. Ditto for cousin Clawdine’s tank top that says, “We whooped the *#@& out of LSU.”

Trust us, it won’t kill you to put on proper slacks, a shirt with a collar or a lovely spring dress, but just in case, emergency personnel is usually present during such events so you’ll be well cared for if you have spasms or break out in a rash from actually tucking in your shirt and wearing a belt. And unless your darlin’ Tiphany Rae is graduating from the Hoot-N-Holler School of Fashion Design and Typing, there’s no need to wear your stretchy rhinestone tube top. Regular old schools call for regular old non-sparkly clothing.And unless your darlin' Tiphany Rae is graduating from the Hoot-N-Holler School of Fashion Design and Typing, there's no need to wear your stretchy rhinestone tube top. Regular old schools call for regular old non-sparkly clothing.

The next order of business is to know your surroundings. Are you in a concert hall watching little Mae-Mack dance across the stage in the role of lead-possum in the production of "All Things Bright and Beautiful?" Well, her stunning performance calls for hearty applause (hand clapping) and perhaps a quick, yet enthusiastic call of "Bravo!" Fist pumping and shouts of "Woo - you go girl!" are reserved for outdoor events such as hog callings.

Are you sitting in a hot football stadium watching graduates teeter across the field in high heels and slippery soled dress shoes? In that case, I guess we can bend the rules and allow for a brief verbal affirmation of the graduate's name, as in, "Way to go, Pickles!" But here's an addendum; you are the only one who thinks your air horn or cow bell is a good idea, so unless you are attending a Mississippi State football game or a cattle show, which I know is sometimes difficult to tell the two apart, please save all noise devises for when you are stranded at sea.

Is your recital in a house of worship? Some don't like to cheer, clap or shout in their church, out of reverence and fear of waking Jesus, while others feel the need to make sure He knows, along with everyone else, they've shown up, so just take your cue from the regular attenders.

The last issue the committee addressed, was that of clods who think they can head for the exits before the ceremony has concluded, just because their twins, Jaxsin and Braxsin have received their "good effort" certificates and they want to beat the traffic. Here it is as nicely as the committee could phrase it -- sit the gosh darn heck down! Apologies for the vulgarity of the language, but to leave before the entire ceremony is complete is the ultimate lack of good breeding. I promise you, The Golden Corral will still have plenty of gravy on the buffet, so there's no need to climb over legs and step on the toes of others before the final curtain call. Who knows, there may be a future Martin Luther King, Pavarotti or Baryshnikov on that stage, and wouldn't it be a pity to miss one single second of the inception of what could be a stellar career?

Now, turn off your phones, curtail the talking, and for crying out loud, no one needs that much chewing gum in their mouth. Congratulations to your loved one, and by all means, we hope you enjoy the show.

  • You are so right- twelve years and you get to see the back side of the people in front of you leaving after their grads’ name is called and just as bad are the air horns.I am laughing at your story but it is so true.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Let’s hold hands and laugh at our pain together.

  • This is wonderfully funny and fine advice 🙂 Love that little graduate’s photo…so sweet, it put a tear in my eye.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Oh, you recognized my little guy! Looks just the same, doesn’t he?

  • Hysterical! Thanks for the great laughs. I sent it to my friend in Texas who has a great sense of humor, too. Birmingham probably is not as bad as some areas in this regard, but I don’t get out much, so what do I know? Your column just gets better every time!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thanks so much Ellen. It would be funnier if it weren’t all true!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      A fistfight broke out at my son’s high school graduation . . . between the parents in the stands!

  • Oh my goodness, I am so glad you are using your weekly column to address this. It is simply amazing the happenings of a graduation ceremony these days. You touched on everything I would say in a much nicer way!!!!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      You must have been to a recent ceremony. I think even ten years ago the feeling of the events were different!

  • I’ll be smiling all day…unfortunately, those that need to read this won’t…I was at Walmart yesterday, which is always a jaw dropper! As my husband says, “you had to get dressed today,” why would you ever choose that!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      A lot of good stories start with, “I was at Walmart yesterday . . .”

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