Introvert Fairy Tales: The Princess and the Pea

It wasn’t that the chairs were uncomfortable. After shelling out for what had been billed as a “Premium Cinema Experience” they were practically four poster beds. The red velvet was new and plush, the back and headrest were at the ideal angle for viewing the screen and the armrests were sturdy enough to keep distance enough between strangers (and movable enough to close that distance for other purposes if and as required). Even the film itself was living up to expectations.

No, the problem wasn’t the upholstery. The problem was the people. The people who brought in food in crinkly wrappers. The people who couldn’t go more than three scenes without illuminating their phones, creating for the people behind them the galaxy’s most transient and irritating constellations. The people who slurped. The people who rustled. The people who TALKED.

Some time thereafter a small, experimental screening series started at the cinema. They never played on the larger screens and maybe they never would be in the theatres with the hydraulic seats, but the “Silent Movies” sessions became a modest success. The rules were simple: you could laugh at something funny, gasp at something shocking or discretely cry at something sad, but otherwise you were silent. The premium ticket price went to paying the ushers who ejected those who preferred, shall we say, a more interactive cinematic experience.

Not everyone understood the appeal, but those who did went all the time.

41 thoughts on “Introvert Fairy Tales: The Princess and the Pea

  1. Pingback: Friday Links | Consider the Tea Cosy

  2. This truly sounds like a fantasy! I won’t even tell you what the guy behind me in the theater was doing last month – I’ll leave that to your imagination. The usher would definitely have removed him. I’d pay for the silence! Thanks for the tale, and congrats on being FP!

  3. So I am totally following your blog just for the title. Introvert fairy tales indeed.

    And your description of seats that can bar you from your neighbors, plushy and comfy, and hopefully a quiet theater…amazing.

  4. It’s about general respect for the people around you…for some reason a lot of people show up for every event in their mental sweat pants…I would pay extra to have a movie theater experience that didn’t annoy the enjoyment out of me.

  5. I came here for the title too, but it is a great story. For my own part, I haven’t decided if I’m introverted or extroverted. Being quiet was always just the path of least resistance in our house. Now, I am constantly criticized for being too quiet, which can really annoy a person into talking (without making either side happy at that!)

  6. Your post made me smile. I have also experienced something similar and have overcome it. These days I wait until the movie is available on dvd. Now I make my own viewing rules.

  7. I experience similar people every time I go to the cinema. We have also drunk and cursing and stinking ones.

    I love films and it hurts me. As well as the price you have to pay for a ticket. I go there less and less often.

    I have no idea when that started to change.

    Very pointy post. Thanks.

  8. Got me! You describe exactly what is keeping me out of cinemas. Grimy seats with attached chewing gum, popcorn underfoot, risk of getting a gulp of coke in your collar, loud and totally unembarrassed talking audience are enough to keep me away from such kind of amusement.

  9. Are you happier at home ,in front of the TV watching a DVD or streaming a movie?
    There is nothing like a live audience when the whole theatre is locked into the movie.
    Your ushers are a kind of thought police, so be careful what you wish for.

  10. The title was a definite attraction. I understand the word introvert. What’s more, you have described the very reason I haven’t been to the cinema in decades. Thanks.

  11. Watching movies at home changes behavior in theaters, especially for those darned extroverts. Talking, eating noisily, moving around, who cares, we can rewind and play it again if we miss something, can’t we? No question about it, where we do a thing becomes a factor in how we habitually do it, and evolution is inexorable. But evolution usually brings good things along with bad ones. After all, now we CAN avoid high ticket prices by watching at home. And we CAN rewind, not only when someone’s rudeness makes us miss something, but also when we like something so much we want to relive it again, or review the dialogue to remember an exceptional phrase.

  12. Are you a member of the @wittertainment community? If not, you really need to be since it’s a global movement of people who believe in the sanctity of cinema.

    Look forward to reading more from you. Congrats on the FP!

  13. I came across your Post via Freshly Pressed and may i declare myself in awe. My My My, i love the coherence and cohesion in your words. It is almost silky. I have been trying to get to your previous works, but i daresay they are in disarray. I have also checked your About Page, but it doesn’t say much, as in, i thought it should be having definite links to all your works.
    No Denying, your works are an honor to read. Go On!

  14. One of my favourite fairy tales. I’ve often felt akin to the princess in the story, her empathy and sensitivity to things others may not notice. I’ve always thought this was a characteristic to be adored, one that is often dismissed and looked down on in our present societies.

    I absolutely love going to the cinema, I love how all encompassing it is, how you’re totally immersed in the movie with all your worries taking a back seat for at least an hour and a half. But I only go on the least popular days. There’s nothing sweeter than having the cinema all to yourself!

  15. Boy did this ring a bell…It amazing and very sad how many people have lost the ability to remember and USE the basic manners we were taught and learned in kindergarten. Or maybe the problem is nobody cares if they are disrespectful any more. I say bring on the ushers with a big stick!

  16. I’m going to be a bit of a hypocrite here. I can’t stand seat-kickers, slurpers, phone-users and noisy eaters in the cinema, but I’m terrible myself for talking. It’s usually during movies that are based on books; I start murmuring things like “I can’t believe they left that bit out” and don’t realise I’m getting louder until I actually need to be shushed by my friends or, worse, a complete stranger. I like the idea of a silent cinema, but I’d need a substantial amount of duct tape for the good of my fellow cinema-goers!

  17. After working in a chain cinema as an usher for a while and then projectionist, I really hate movie goers ,well not all movie goers just the ones you mentioned. crinkly bag man, and the crazy crisp cruncher, are to me the worst. When someone is talking you can eject them but someone eating the popcorn they just paid a fortune for is not acceptable even if they are more of a disturbance. I think smaller cinemas are the way to go, even for the popular films, yes they are a bit more expensive but the atmosphere is far better. We did play some silent movies and they were a great experience. as I was there already I watched quite a few of them people seemed to respect the silence more if that makes sense, either that or there were not many younger people in the audience. Still they did not compare to testing a 35mm print before it was shown to the public, a whole 400 seat cinema to yourself and you can even adjust the volume!

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  19. I can totally relate. I’ve recently seen a movie and whispered to my friend seated beside me, “Why the heck do these people think we need a commentary?!! Why won’t they SHUT UP?!” I can’t stand the “talkers” in the movies. I enjoyed this post. You write really well.

  20. Pingback: A Quest For A Genre: Fairy Tales | The L. Palmer Chronicles

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