Holding the door open when leaving the movie theatre

The calm before the storm

I’m a huge fan of social observation and experimentation. Even as a little child I was fascinated by the choices people would make. In fact, I loved observing patterns in peoples behavior and even attempting to manipulate that behavior with subtle changes in the environment… or whatever.

One common social observation has resulted in a life-long rule for me:Never hold the door open for someone as you exit the movie theatre.

In virtually every other environment on this planet, I find that people will ‘take the door’ from you if you hold it open for them. And if they don’t take it, the next person will. It’s almost like it’s built in: “Oh, this guy got the door for them. Now I’ll take it from him”. And the line continues in this manner.

But not in a movie theatre. Something makes movie-goers walk right past you and out the door if you hold the door open for them. There is no acknowledgment of your courtesy; No attempt to prop the door open for themselves or the next person.

I don’t know if it’s the benefit of anonymity from the dark theatre, or a desperation to ‘make potty’ after sitting quietly for a 2 hour thriller… but the concept of general courtesy, and ‘door etiquette’, is completely eliminated when exiting a movie theatre.

There have been times in which I have stood there, waiting for the people behind me to bare the burden of the heavy steel door. But no, it’s as though I exist solely to prop this door open for them.

This creates an epic internal battle for me. My mother always taught me to get the door for people – male or female, although it was alwaysladies first at my house. So it’s hard for me when I get stuck there… what if I let that door go? Will someone take it? Will it hit someone in the face? My conscience is weighed with this question every time I think about letting the door go.

How do I reconcile my learned desire to be courteous and polite, with my carnal desire to not be a push-over door man for selfish movie-goers?

It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and from this point forward… keep your eyes open, because that door ain’t gonna get itself.