Social Minesweeper is a recurring feature exploring the student body’s continuing struggles with mastering social etiquette at the University of Chicago.
You’re at a concert. A bro and his bro-dette are attached at the hip. His arm is slung around her shoulder, and they’re bobbing up and down in unison. The elbow jerks back wildly at your face.
“Hey, could you move your arm? You keep elbowing me in the face.”
No response. Okay, you think. Stay calm. Maybe he didn’t hear me. I don’t want to seem whiny. Maybe I should just deal with—SHIT! The elbow makes contact, almost taking your nose off. You tap his shoulder again. He turns around to look at you.
“Seriously, could you move your arm? You’re hurting me, dude!”
His eyes glaze over. His head snaps back around, arm firmly glued around his girlfriend’s neck. No hint of adjustment, just more jerking and pulsating from the two-headed ogre. What the hell, man! You don’t need to have your arm around your girlfriend the entire concert. You’re fuming. There’s plenty of time for that after the concert.
Another swing. You fall down. That’s it. You seize his arm and try to force it down yourself. Several people nearby say, “Man, you’re elbowing us in the face! Could you please just move your arm?”
He finally acquiesces. The arm goes down…to her ass. The song continues. His elbow is now dangerously close to annihilating your manhood. Miraculously, a tiny bit of room opens up to the left of you, and you finally escape.
You run through the possibilities in your head. Why wouldn’t he just take the arm down the first time? Was it that they were blissfully in love and thus could not possibly be in the wrong? That you were the dick for disturbing their awesome, can’t-be-physically-separated-even-for-a-moment sphere of inviolable passion? Well, shit. Your bad.
My point: There’s a certain amount of common courtesy you have to exercise when you’re going to a concert, especially one in which there’s really not an iota of room to spare. We get it. You’re in love. You want the world to know: She’s hot, you’re hot, blah blah. Maybe she just has the world’s best shoulders and you need to touch them all the time. Sure. But when you’re in an asses-to-elbows space, writhing and jumping around to a band that only plays upbeat music, please, for god’s sake, just allow yourselves to be separate human beings for a couple of hours and you can spoon the night away later.
The same issues of common courtesy go for people who turn around to talk to each other while the concert is in full swing. Why are you having a long conversation in the middle of this really loud song? Why is it that my nether regions are in full contact with four different bodies, while you’re standing half a foot away from your friend, chatting it up?
You really just have to remember one thing about concerts: Everyone’s sense of personal space is inevitably compromised, but that doesn’t mean you have to physically injure the people around you. It requires a little sacrifice of individual comfort, but the greatest concerts—the transcendent ones—happen when everyone (read: not just you and your lady friend) is feeling it.