DEAR AMY: I have a question about dancing etiquette. I am a middle-aged woman. My daughter and I recently attended a concert of the B-52s at a theater venue. Most of the audience members were my age. People were seated and quite stationary during the concert. I wanted to dance but didn’t want to bother anyone. Finally, a couple of people near the front started dancing, but the people in back of them complained that the dancers were blocking their view. Is there a right answer when it comes to dancing at a concert in a theater?
DEAR WANNA DANCE: What kind of superhuman can stay seated during “Love Shack”? (Not I...)
I shared your question with my friend Dan Smalls, a concert promoter in New York and New England, who has dealt with acts ranging from Jackson Browne to Modest Mouse.
He responds: “This is a constant problem in seated theaters, as most acts are in favor of scaled ticket prices (meaning the seats closer to the stage cost more than those farther away).
“Artists also want people standing up in front of the stage during these kinds of songs to create that energy during the performance, but when folks from the cheaper seats move toward the stage to dance, and block the view of those who paid more, the promoter and venue are the ones who take the flack, not the artists.
“There is no easy solution, except maybe to step to the side aisles if one feels the need to get up and groove — that way you aren’t in front of anyone . . . except other dancers.”
I would add that a dancer might handle this by inviting those who are seated to dance, too.
DEAR AMY: I had a happy middle-class childhood. I have three sisters with whom I had a good relationship until about five years ago. At that time, my mother revealed that she asked my sister, a medical practice administrator, to look up my husband’s medical records to find out if he really had a diagnosis of a specific chronic neurological disease, as I had told them. I’m stunned that my sister would be willing to violate HIPAA regulations and that my mother would then share it in what felt like a mean and provocative way. I sent both of them an angry email demanding an explanation for what I see as a violation of the law and my trust. I copied my other siblings on the email because I knew they would all discuss it, anyway. I never heard another peep from any of them. They didn’t deny it or apologize for it. My mother expressed that she considers me overly dramatic about medical issues. From my point of view, she underreacts, and criticizes people for serious medical needs, including their choice to use medication to treat their illnesses. She is a “tough it out” kind of person. My mother is 80 years old and she’s not going to change. It really hurts that all of my siblings have gone silent. They all live on the opposite side of the country. I miss them terribly and want to mend the relationship, but I feel very angry about this.
DEAR DIAGNOSIS: There is no question that what your mother and sister did was very wrong. Looking up your husband’s records and disclosing his diagnosis was a serious legal and ethical violation on your sister’s part. I assume she could lose her job over this.
You have made a mistake, too, however. Your choice to include all of your siblings on the angry email you sent to your mother and one sister violates their privacy, and almost guarantees that all parties will circle the wagons and shut down.
“Tough it out” kinds of people tend to be tough on others. If you really do want to mend the relationship, you should make a plan to travel to see these family members. If you have any regrets, be open about them, and try to loosen this closed circle.
DEAR AMY: “Sweetie Pie” objected to a co-worker continually calling him/her “Baby,” “Honey,” etc. Years ago I did secretarial work at an engineering firm where 100 engineers sat at desks in one big open space. One day when I delivered some typing to one of the engineers, he said, “Thanks, Honey.” I replied loudly, “You’re welcome, Sweetie Pie.” Everyone laughed. And he never called me anything but my name again.
My name is Linda
DEAR LINDA: Brilliant.