About 15mins in, a gentleman sitting not directly behind us, but to my boyfriend's left, tapped my hand that was resting on the aforementioned shoulder. Much like he would swat a fly. I, in a meeker moment it must be said, moved my arm immediately, muttering to my boyfriend why I'd had to move, and then sat feeling slightly embarrassed and annoyed.
Embarrassed that my occasional shoulder stroking had provoked such a response. Annoyed that something so minor had prompted the man to act. How many times have I sat in silence as a fellow theatregoer chomps through a sandwich, unwraps sweets, turns off their beeping phone, moves their head incessantly thus blocking my view, or, heaven forbid, talks throughout. Seriously. We have no idea how to behave in the theatre anymore, a generation of movie goers, used to tweeting and watching. Well, we're not tweeting in the theatre yet, but give it time. Though to be fair, I also think we're still a tad reverential when it comes to watching theatre - staying to watch something that we'd have turned off if it was on the telly.
But, was my shoulder stroking just as bad as the other theatregoer crimes? I'm not sure. Put it this way, if someone had been doing that in front of me, I wouldn't have said a word. Amusingly, and rather hotly, it must be said, my boyfriend challenged him at the Interval. The gentleman in question looked rather shocked, which was nice to see. The boyfriend refrained from making an out and out threat, but did suggest he shouldn't be touching women in public, which was rather amusing.
---We are rather against PDA's in this country, British as we are. And if I'm honest with myself, the image of me snogging my boyfriend for about 2hrs on date 2 in a busy bar, make me slightly cringe, enjoyable as it was at the time. Though in my twenties, there was nothing I liked more than some public tongue action. Quite why I liked the exhibitionism of that is for another blog :-) but it raises the more pertinent question: Why do we generally frown upon PDA's - is it that we're not 12 vodka shots down? Do we just grow up? Or is there something more inherently reserved and British about it all?
And it's not just PDA's in a romantic sense. I'm not a mother, but I have many friends who are, and I've seen it all. From the friend who waps out her boobs whenever the child is hungry, with no care in the world, to most recently, a friend who put on a black apron type garment to breast feed in public. Admittedly we were having lunch with her parents, so maybe revealing a nipple to her Father wasn't an option. And maybe she feels more comfortable wearing it. To be honest, if you've pushed a baby out, I think you deserved to do whatever you want. But I did find myself joking that the child might be traumatised into only eating in the dark in later life, preferring camping etc etc.
Maybe it's nice to be more restrained. It's all about what's hidden underneath, what is constrained. All about the reveal. But I wonder if there's something idealistic about that. Life is surely about the nitty gritty; the pungent, messy, happy, sad, stretch marked, wrinkled, insecure, strong, fleshiness of it all. Maybe it's good to get the full reveal, curtain back, to know what you're dealing with, and still choose to embrace it. And I wonder if for my generation, that desire to be a little more forthright, a little more public, is a counter to our parents' generation of repression. Or certainly mine!