City & Politics, Essay

The Social Beef: Rules & Regulations

This week, The Social Beef issues their first installment of “Rules and Regulations” for those icky situations we often get ourselves into but are not sure how to handle. Sometimes we do things thinking we are doing  the “right thing” when really it’s not socially acceptable. Who says? We do. Rather than rant and rave, we thought we’d break it down into quick snippets. Please feel free to email us with your thoughts on what should be a rule and regulation for The Social Beef. *Also we are now taking suggestions for our Christmas Tipping Guide: who to give that holiday tip to? Who to avoid?*

#53 Elevator door etiquette.

For some people – let’s call them creetens, shall we? – when an elevator starts to close, this formation of mental objects form inside their head when they see someone running for the door: “should I keep it open or pretend that I didn’t see them at all?” Normally the latter gets played out. Why? Well, because it’s just “too hard” to help someone right? All that is needed, by the person inside the elevator, is to press the hold button a mere step away and they’re an instant saviour. But not doing so has incredible social implications. Did you know, you then become known as a class-A moron? No? Well it’s true. Would you shut a public door in someone’s face? No. Some people love the fact the elevator exits the scene of the crime quickly. One moment you are there, then, you vanish,  never to see that person again. Just because the elevator door is controlled by a machine (and partly you) it doesn’t mean you can simply blame the door on its own for “somehow” closing. And, using a half-arsed hand gesture to explain this, as the door is shutting is embarrassing. Having an elevator door shut in your face is like being rejected. It’s basically saying: I don’t want to take this 30-second elevator ride with you for no reason at all.  If you see someone running for the door and the door is less than halfway closed, you are obligated to hold the door. Society’s ethics says so. Sometimes though it may be too late. The earlier you sight your future elevator partner, the better chances they stand of getting a ride and not being late for anything.


#187 Bubble gum:

Bubble gum doesn’t fit in with a clean world. It’s grubby. It’s disease-carrying. It loses taste in less than five-minutes. There’s an underlying theme here:  basically there’s no place for gum in this society of proper manners. Here’s a few things to consider: don’t put gum under tables, on seats or behind ears before bed . Don’t chew it while talking (we don’t want to feel your gum-spray). Don’t spit it out on the pavement in front of a family of five waiting at the bus stop. Don’t twirl it in your hand and have people believe it’s a magic trick. Don’t put gum on the end of a pencil and pretend it’s an eraser. Don’t wrap gum in paper and put it in your pocket — trust me, you’ll forget about it and then your pocket is jammed shut forever. Don’t use the vacant wall at home as a dart board (and use your throw-away gum as the dart), guests will see the gum-juice stains on the wall and see where you’ve had to hack at the dried iron-like ball of steel of the wall with a Swiss army knife. Five minutes, in your mouth, that’s all the time you need with gum. Take it out of your mouth, place it your hand when no-one is watching and bin it. Don’t pretend you’re in the outfield for the Yankees and try to throw the ball of chewed bits across the road over traffic. It’s not a ball or a toy. Don’t play with it. It’s a germ missile. Don’t taunt citizens by trying to infect everyone and throwing it in all places public. Just don’t.


#13 Public displays of affection:

Locking tongues at a bus stop is bad news. For the 20 commuters it’s like watching pigs duke it out in a trough full of carrots and slops. For lip-lockers it’s a joyous occasion; for everyone else that has to endure it, it’s awkward city. Bus stops aren’t the only the places that should carry prohibit signs for public french’ing. Here’s a few more blacklisted locations: shopping centres, banks, any type of public transit, queues, baseball games and restaurants. While we are at it, placing this under “occasions where public displays of affection are not welcome”, we can safely say funerals, grandparents birthdays and hospital-visit tongue sessions are off the table. Ok, so that’s the bad news. Places that are ok to fondle and French kiss are: bedroom, movie theatre (back row only), a random alleyway, behind a school dumpster or school tree and in your car. No-one needs to see you swap fluids and hear you make groaning slushy sounds. Hand-holding, goodbye hugs, high-fives and pecks are all permitted in public. Though, save grinding for your local night club — at least it’s dark and it can be disguised as your latest dance move.


#129 Movie theatre behaviour: how to be a quiet watcher.

Why must movie theatres become a magnet for the worst habits ever known to mankind? The crunching of single kernel eaters, the sound of the popcorn bag cracking like an old apartment door, the opening of candy wrappers, the slurping fountain pop, seat kickers, iPhone users (and their audacity to answer calls), movie line repeaters, constant soft talkers, the “what-did-he-just-say?” guy – the list goes on. It’s alarming. Theatres should be treated like libraries. When you step foot into a library strict rules apply: no drinks or food and you must deathly quiet. You follow these rules or you die. It’s simple. One thing movie-goers should note, when you watch a film in public, remember you are not at home on your couch. That means you must wear pants, you can’t yell at the screen when you want to and when food and drinks come into play, keep it in your mouth. Just because it’s dark doesn’t mean you can get away with uncouth social acts. Keep popcorn loads to a minimum; try and get most of your eating done before the halfway mark of the movie (the sooner the better) and unless the seat in front is free, keep your feet down. Most of all, act human, be quiet and think like a librarian. Sssshhh!


#9 Dog park manners (how to be a good owner)

When you are at the dog park and your dog comes toward you, jumps on you and licks your face off, it’s ok. Life is good. It’s your dog. But when strangers go walking around the park oblivious to the whereabouts of their canine while on their iPhone and it’s their dog that ravishes you with muddy paws and drool, then it becomes a problem. But then what do you do? Call the dog-park police? Have them ejected? (good idea, though).  What about when you see a dog owner not clean up their own dog’s mess? And, at some point you’ll probably tread through it. Right? If you know your dog is a loose cannon off the leash, don’t let it off the leash. If you know when it sees other pooches and people that it gets super excited, have it trained. Teach it how to behave in public. Most of the time, if a dog is behaving badly, normally the owner is a by-product of bad manners too. The two go hand-in-hand. A good owner will carry disposable bags, will know if he/she’s dog is a raving lunatic or not and will fix accordingly.


Justin Robertson is a freelance journalist. You can follow him on Twitter:@justinjourno

Illustration by Sarah Jennings.

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