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When 9-Year Old Girls Steal Your Joy

I was attending a midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show at a local theater, but was about an hour early. Midnight showings are meant to be wild, crazy, and sexy, with everyone having fun, so in the spirit of the show I had dressed up as “Columbia” from the “floor show” sequence of the film (it’s common for people to dress as characters). The outfit was very revealing, but I was wearing additional clothing while waiting in the lobby with some friends. However, I had lots of face paint on because the character wears clown-like face paint during the scene.

I saw a flash to the side of me, and turned to see some girls, aged about 9, taking photos of me without my consent and giggling. They had accidentally left the flash on, and acted shocked and embarrassed when I glared at them but soon resumed taking photos of me, laughing and making comments like “what a freak” purposely just loud enough for me to hear.   I have some social anxiety, and at this point I was devastated and depressed. I felt like a big idiot. I wanted to curl up under the table.

Soon, two adult women came over to the girls, who pointed me out and gleefully told them how weird I was. The women scolded the girls and told
them to leave me be, because “if her momma lets her go out in public like that, let her do it.” May I add that I am an adult, and my “momma” does not dictate how I dress. But I did appreciate them telling the girls they were wrong.

The women began to approach me. I thought they would apologize on behalf of the girls, but instead one of them said coldly to me “You know, they’re just kids. Okay?”
I was shocked but I managed to say “Uh…I know…”  She repeated, “Kids. They’re just little kids, okay?” Then she gave me a look that confirmed she, too, thought I was a product of Satan, and marched away with the kids in tow, still giggling and pointing their phones at me. No apology. She had the nerve to insinuate that I had been the rude one!   I haven’t been back to see the show at that theater again. I can’t bring myself to. 0425-15


For those unfamiliar with Rocky Horror Picture Show characters, this is what “Columbia” looks like.

Two of my daughters dress up in full costumed regalia for the premieres of movies like the Pirates of the Caribbean series and the Lord of The Rings/Hobbit movies so this custom is not unfamiliar to me.   It’s loads of fun and movie premieres can be highly anticipated events in our family primarily for the opportunity to show off costumes that have required months of preparation.  My daughter’s dwarf costume complete with realistic beard and craft foam “leather” armor was pretty amazing.

However, there is an unspoken understanding that wearing costumes in public places most certainly does attract attention.  The vast majority of it is positive or at least neutral.   My daughters have been asked to pose with theater patrons, particularly children, for photographs because  people perceive them as being a live interpretation of what they have or about to see.   It just adds to the fun for everyone.   Are there the occasional curmudgeons who whisper under their breath about how stupid it is to wear a costume? Yep, there sure are…and who gives a flying flip what they think?

You permitted a few 9-year old girls to steal your joy. Two total strangers who haven’t yet celebrated a double digit birthday had such enormous power over you that they changed your entire attitude and mood and altered your future behavior.  At Ehell.com, we really discourage the unfortunate practice of giving other people considerable power to affect our thoughts and actions negatively.   A polite spine also includes the ability to simply not care what the rude riff raff of the world thinks or says about us.

When you glared at the girls, all you did was send the very clear message that you can be manipulated to react poorly and that you have lost control of the situation to a pack of little girls.  I would never give anyone that kind of information about myself so that they have a power advantage over me.  The beauty of etiquette is that it gives us a framework of behavior so that we retain control of ourselves and often of the situation itself.   You could have completely ignored the girls since their opinions of your costume and make-up is totally irrelevant to you due to the fact that they are strangers who you have never seen before and will likely never see again.  The gutsy Ehell way of doing things would have been to stride right up to the girls with a happy smile on your face, introduce yourself as follows,  “Hi, “I’m costumed as ‘Columbia’ from the movie ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ playing in about an hour. She’s a pretty cool character in the movie, are you familiar with her?   Would you like a photo with me? ”      If they decline, giggling, you confidently stride back to your waiting friends waving, “Good bye, enjoy the rest of your night!”  Doing so sets the atmosphere for the situation to be a positive one with you clearly in control of yourself, the situation and you come off looking powerful and gracious.  Win-win all around for everyone.



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • JWH April 29, 2015, 8:38 am

    Granted, it’s a professional situation wherein an actress is paid to be a spectacle, but the antics of Disney’s Wicked Queen might be a useful guide:


    If you’re in costume and thus a bit of a spectacle, then you might as well OWN IT, by gum!

  • giani April 29, 2015, 8:45 am

    As someone who has to travel in costume for events, I’ve learned that most bad behavior towards me is rooted in envy and fear. How dare I flaunt my free spirit, my nonconformity! How dare I do something the killjoy is afraid to do! Once I understood the stunted mindset of those who took issue with my being in costume I came to pity them and they stopped having any power over my enjoyment.

    • iwadasn April 29, 2015, 8:40 pm

      I don’t think the girls’ behavior was due to envy. At nine years old, they still have the mindset that different = bad. This could have been a great opportunity for the mother to teach them that different people enjoy different things and that’s okay, but unfortunately she squandered it.

  • Shalamar April 29, 2015, 8:48 am

    That reminds me of when a very non-PC friend of mine went to a fetish bar (leather, dog collars, that sort of thing) and started loudly talking about all the “freaks”. The bouncer approached him and said politely “Sir, you’re more than welcome to stay, but if you do, keep your comments to yourself. In this environment, YOU’RE the freak.” My friend shut up. (The fact that the bouncer was a very large and intimidating man probably had something to do with it.)

    I also remember when I was changing in the locker room of my gym, and two teenage girls passed by when I happened to be naked from the waist down. They both burst out giggling as they passed me, which annoyed the heck out of me. A partly-nude woman in a locker room? Oh my stars! I now wish that I’d told them to grow up.

    • EllenS April 29, 2015, 4:53 pm

      There are quite a lot of young people who can’t deal with the dissonance of realizing what they will probably look like when they grow up/get older/go through different life phases. Our next-door neighbor is very young, fashionable and perky, and I see her face of horror when I putter outside to get laundry or pull weeds in my “housework clothes.” I just think at her, “yep, this is your future babe. It happens to all of us.”

      • Keepinaustinweird April 30, 2015, 12:14 pm

        I think you are missing some great points from this post. One important one being: everyone is different and that’s ok. I am a mid-30’s, self-employed woman that has consciously chosen to not act “old and boring”. I live in a city full of “weird folks” that do the exact same thing. I’m the type of woman that walks 10 feet to my home office every morning in high heels and jewel studded bra, just because I can. The man next door to me is only 15 years older than me but might as well be 100 by the way he acts – wearing his house robe all day and not taking care of himself. Not everyone will end up the same. I reference Madonna, Cher, etc along with many personal friends of mine.

    • Kate April 30, 2015, 5:18 am

      I hate seeing gossipy teenage girls in changing rooms. One giggle or comment, which may or may not be about me, and I feel like I’m 14 again and getting made fun of by the popular girls. It’s so bizarre.

    • Jessiebird April 30, 2015, 1:42 pm

      I’ve spent several years in Japan, where a wonderful custom are the onsen, or hot spring public baths. They are separated by sex, but within, you will encounter the entire life course of your sex in the nude. I saw babies, little girls, teenage girls, young women, pregnant women, middle aged all the way up to the most elderly of elderly. The range of difference in their appearance was striking, of course, but even more, I was struck but the common humanity. Two legs, two arms, faces, breasts, and so on. It is really beautiful and I feel sorry that some people who don’t get to encounter bodies in a intimate but nonsexualized environment. Sitting naked together, talking, in the outdoor hot spring at night with snow falling down…it’s magical and bonding.

      • admin April 30, 2015, 5:11 pm

        Sounds lovely.

  • Michelle April 29, 2015, 8:49 am

    Admin’s advice was exactly what I was thinking.

  • KimB April 29, 2015, 8:51 am

    The OP admits to having social anxiety so I don’t fault her for being embarrassed and upset. Even though ideally it would have been great if OP had done what the admin suggested, I get that it’s hard when you’re living it and on the spot.

    The 9 yr old kids were rude, along with the moms. OP did NOTHING wrong. She was having fun and being a superfan. Since when was that a crime? Those young girls would be horrified at comicon or any of those conventions where EVERYONE wears a costume. The girls are bullies in the making.

    I have a 12 yr old, 10 yr old and an 8 yr old. My kids would NEVER have laughed at anyone in public or done what these kids did. At 9, those girls are old enough to know better and I would challenge anyone who said, “They’re just kids, poor little dears.”

    • AMC April 29, 2015, 12:12 pm

      Here, here! This is exactly what I was thinking!

    • JO April 29, 2015, 4:36 pm

      At this movie, especially a midnight showing, everyone DOES wear a costume!

    • TimeLadyUK April 29, 2015, 6:33 pm

      Agreeing with KimB! Firstly, social anxiety is a horrible issue and it’s very much easier said than done to acquire the good ol’ steel Polite Spine we aspire to. Secondly, the parents/relatives of those kids ought to be ashamed of their behaviour; they’ve just demonstrated to the kids that making fun of people is A-OK. So not cool.

    • flora May 1, 2015, 5:12 am

      This is what I was thinking. Anxiety is a tough thing to deal with on a daily basis, social anxiety doubly so since you can’t just decide to never be around people ever again. I think the ehelldame was a little too hard on the OP.

  • Green123 April 29, 2015, 8:54 am

    What on earth were two nine year old girls doing at a midnight showing? What on earth were two nine year old girls doing at Rocky Horror? Good grief!

    • vjcole April 29, 2015, 10:34 am

      I just assumed they had been at an earlier movie showing.

    • WillyNilly April 29, 2015, 11:02 am

      The 9 year olds were in a movie theater lobby waiting for their mothers. And it was an hour before the OP’s movie, so 11ish. They were probably on their way out, their movie having probably recently ended, not on their way in.

    • Ergala April 29, 2015, 11:30 am

      That’s what I was thinking. I have the movie on DVD and my kids aren’t even allowed to look at the cover of it.

    • ColoradoCloudy April 29, 2015, 11:48 am

      I was thinking the same thing!

    • Ernie April 29, 2015, 12:19 pm

      Yes, this is what I was thinking when I read this. Yes, they are just kids, which is why they shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Movie theatres run Rocky Horror at midnight for a reason.

    • twik April 29, 2015, 1:54 pm

      Possibly they weren’t there for the RHPS, but for some other reason. But I do agree that 9 year olds out that late is – strange.

      Also, I’m wondering why the parents came over to remonstrate that “they’re just little kids”. I suspect the OP’s reaction must have been a little stronger than she indicates, because this sounds very over the top if they just noticed she was looking sad.

      • Miriam April 30, 2015, 7:50 am

        Or it could be “attack is the best form of defence”…? My brother will escalate his volume and rage until the other person admits to being “wrong” in asking him to moderate his bad behaviour. At the party to celebrate our wedding, I quietly asked him to not [repeatedly] call my husband by my ex-boyfriend’s name, which provoked 25 minutes of screaming as to why I was an awful “thing” [his insult of choice if I ever stand up to him] who had ruined his life. My mum tried to force me to apologise to him the next day, and couldn’t see that my request was reasonable or that her ‘baby’ had done anything wrong.

        I don’t spend a lot of time with my family of origin…

    • Rebecca April 29, 2015, 3:16 pm

      That is what I wondered. And weren’t other patrons dressed up? Any time I’ve gone to Rocky Horror, a lot of the other patrons are in costume, so nobody would be at all out of place. The only exception I have heard is a group of guys dressed as Frank N Furter and such, were on their way to a midnight showing, and their car broke down and they had to get out and walk.

    • Marozia April 29, 2015, 3:23 pm

      That, @Green123, I think, is the question here that we would all like to ask!!
      As for the comment by the 9 year olds ‘What a freak’, I would’ve answered back ‘Takes one to know one, and my dears at this showing, YOU are the freaks!!’. I have anxiety as well, but no one steals Marozia’s sunshine!

    • JO April 29, 2015, 3:42 pm

      This is EXACTLY what I was wondering!! I love Rocky Horror Picture Show and have attended midnight showings (in costume; I make a fabulous Transylvanian ????) but I have never seen children there, nor would I expect to! But I suppose parents who lack the parenting skills to realize it isn’t an appropriate kids activity can hardly be expected to teach their kids manners.

    • MCJ April 29, 2015, 7:55 pm

      I was wondering the same thing about the two 9 year olds! My mother wouldn’t let me even watch the movie until I was 13 with full understanding what it was even about.

    • Marozia May 4, 2015, 3:29 am

      The only thing I can think of is that it was school holidays and they were allowed to go to late night showing.
      Still doesn’t excuse the fact it was late at night and no parents areound.

  • vjcole April 29, 2015, 9:04 am

    Admin’s advice is spot on. If you’re going to go to a public theater dressed in costume, you have to expect to attract attention, and you have to be able to laugh and ignore it. I’m just surprised that someone with social anxiety would do something that would make her stand out so much. That’s just asking for trouble.

    I will add, however, that while I’m willing to give the little girls a pass – they’re nine years old, and at that age, girls ARE silly – but NOT their mothers. If they had to speak to the OP at all, it SHOULD have been to apologize – or maybe say something like, “I’m sorry if my daughter was rude – I hope you can forgive her since she’s only nine.”

    • Lisa H. April 29, 2015, 10:15 am

      I agree with vjcole

  • WillyNilly April 29, 2015, 9:06 am

    I completely agree with the Admin, adding your costume was covered up. So you were not clearly in costume. The reality is, you did look pretty outrageous no doubt. You could have thought about how absurd your face paint and partial costume looked to a couple of kids who likely were wholly unfamiliar with RHPS, and had a good laugh. Or you could have ignored them. Or played up the outrageous by posing absurdly. Instead you decided to give them nasty looks and expect an apology. It’s not nice to be laughed at if you aren’t expecting it, but if you wear “clown like face paint” out in public, it should be considered par for the course. (As a side note I would totally disagree with that interpretation of Columbia’s make up.)

    • Stephanie April 30, 2015, 12:45 am

      “Nasty looks” is a heck of a lot more tame than openly calling a stranger a “freak” in public while taking pictures of her without her permission. OP didn’t do anything wrong, and it’s messed up that you’re blaming her for the rudeness of the girls and their mothers.

      I don’t care what someone is wearing. The girls’ behavior was not even slightly acceptable. Wearing a costume–which is completely normal at RHPS in any case–doesn’t make you a valid target for cruel, nasty treatment. It is in no way “par for the course” to behave like that under any circumstances, and nine-year-olds are old enough to know better.

      OP had every reason to expect an apology. She was owed one.

      • Margo April 30, 2015, 8:00 am

        I agree with Stephanie. Calling someone a freak is not acceptable behaviour, regardless of what they are wearing, how they are made up, aor whether you recognise their costume.

        OP was due an apology. And when the girls’ mother came over and told her they were just children, saying something like “I realise that. I hope that as they get older they will learn better manners, but in the mean time, I’m happy to accept your apology on their behalf” would have been fine.

        OP, I hope that you don’t let this put you off dressing up and having fun in future. You did nothing wrong, and it would be a shame if one rude woman and a couple of badly brought up kids spoiled your enjoyment.

      • Bellyjean April 30, 2015, 10:16 am

        Thank you, Stephanie. I completely agree with you. The children were rude, the mothers were rude. The OP did NOTHING wrong. She was accosted – both with having her picture taken, with the children’s comments and inane giggling (their 9, not 3, and I’ve met some incredibly polite 3 year olds), and their hurtful, disrespectful mothers.
        There is etiquette with having your picture taken, regardless of costumes.
        The poorly behaved, obviously poorly educated children are a sad reflection on the small-minded attitudes of their mothers.

      • manybellsdown April 30, 2015, 11:37 am

        Taking the photos without permission is the real sin here as far as I’m concerned. At comicons, they will often post reminder posters that “costumes are not consent”. As in, just because I’m wearing a costume that might look outrageous or skimpy, I have not consented to be touched, hit on, or photographed.

        • WillyNilly April 30, 2015, 8:19 pm

          But this wasn’t a comic con, and its doubtful there were any signs. Before this post I would have never imagined there is some unspoken rule about photographs (Hence the major problem with unspoken rules.) Everyone out in public is pretty much constantly being photographed or video taped, it’s just a given in todays society as far as I know and am concerned.
          I think the way the girls were photographing was rude, but I chalk that up to immaturity. Taking photos, even of people, in general however is not doing anything wrong whatsoever in my opinion though.

  • Wild Irish Rose April 29, 2015, 9:20 am

    “Riff raff.” Good one, Admin. I’m with you on this.

    OP, clearly your social anxiety doesn’t really dominate you or you probably wouldn’t have gone out in public dressed like Columbia–even to a theater showing “Rocky Horror.” Kids are not known for being the most polite and/or compassionate creatures on the planet. They aren’t born knowing how to behave well; they have to be taught. And costumes in public are eye-catching and interesting. If they weren’t, what would be the point of Halloween?

    My 20-year-old daughter and her friends have been dressing up and attending midnight movie premiers since they were in junior high school. They either dress as movie characters, or they make shirts with words and pictures on them that reference scenes from the stories. They aren’t alone in this (and I’m sure you weren’t either) and they have a ball doing it. Don’t let children and stupid adults dictate how you should feel when you are doing something you enjoy.

  • Cat April 29, 2015, 9:24 am

    It took me some time to rid myself of shyness and the notion that other people can determine my behavior or my sense of worth. What I say to myself is this, “If I am not married to this person nor am I his/her mother, this is not my problem.”

    It would have been funny, however, if you had been sympathetic to the mothers and commiserated, “Ah, yes, I remember when my daughters were that age. Time passes so quickly.” and walked away, leaving them to wonder just how old you are.

  • Yellow Rose April 29, 2015, 9:25 am

    Dissed by two nines? You should have made them think…scared both of ’em off with an evil wink. You could have shaken ’em up and taken ’em by surprise, gave them an evil look with the Devils eyes…Their ugly glares made you feel a change…go back to the show, and don’t feel strange.

    Remember, don’t dream it, be it!

    ps~what the hades were they doing out so late? Were they there for the Horror Show?

    • MCJ April 29, 2015, 7:56 pm

      Yellow Rose, you just made my night! 😉

  • Devin April 29, 2015, 9:44 am

    Bravo Admin, your response here was perfect!

    I too have had to deal with ‘ridicule’ while costuming for a midnight showing of Rocky Horror. In my case it was a midnight showing on a college campus. My dorm mates and I got all costumed up, sequins and boas and top hats, and walked to the show that was across the quad. We didn’t bother with the modesty you had shown because it was midnight, on a college campus. We crossed paths with some ‘frat bros’ on their way to the bars who had some unflattering things to say about our dress. We laughed it off and went on to get special recognition for our group costuming!! Only you can let someone else steal your sparkle (literally in this case).

  • DanaJ April 29, 2015, 9:49 am

    A friend of mine is an extra in a lot of movies and TV shows filmed here. It’s not unusual, due to the production’s budget, for her to find herself in costume or partially in costume on public transit. One day, she was scheduled to be in the background as a… lady of the night in a cinematic red light district. The unwanted attention she got was interesting to say the least.

  • MyWorldtwo April 29, 2015, 9:56 am

    What were 9 year olds doing out on the street at 11 pm anyway!

    You did nothing wrong! Do not let them ruin the show for you! Go back! Dress up again and have a blast!
    The fun of TRHPS is becoming part of it!

    • WillyNilly April 29, 2015, 11:03 am

      The 9 year olds were in a movie theater lobby waiting for their mothers (perhaps in the restroom or something).

    • Wild Irish Rose April 29, 2015, 11:56 am

      “On the street”? They were with their mothers!

      • iwadasn April 29, 2015, 8:45 pm

        It sounds like the theater was part of a mall, which would explain why OP was the only one in the area wearing a costume. What’s wrong with children going to the mall with their parents?

  • Dan April 29, 2015, 9:56 am

    My friend used to do steampunk cosplay all the time for conventions and the like. One time, she and her friends had to stop at the store to pick some random thing on their way to a convention.

    They walked in wearing their costumes and the looks they got were just like the ones I’m sure the OP got from those women. They ignored them and acted like they normally would.

    My friend even turned to someone staring and said, “You should see what we wear to church.”

    I think that’s what you should do in situations like that – have fun with it. Especially at a place where costumes are to be expected This was a Rocky Horror screening, after all. I think the nine year olds and their parents were the ones out of place.

    • EllenS April 29, 2015, 4:58 pm

      Reminds me of when I was in our high-school production of “Sound of Music.” The locker rooms weren’t really suitable as dressing rooms, so lots of us dressed at home and arrived in costume. I asked my dad to stop at the gas station so I could grab a snack and drink – in a full nun habit! (There are no convents anywhere near the area)

      The cashier’s face was priceless. I only wished I had been old enough to buy beer and cigarettes.

      • NostalgicGal April 30, 2015, 9:28 pm

        Love your last sentence!

  • ketchup April 29, 2015, 9:59 am

    Yes, admin, the OP did let them ruin her evening. It’s hard for some to ignore other people’s rudeness. I think it’s something you can learn though. And yet, we all have our weaknesses, our buttons to push.

    The moment the chaperones (mothers) approached you, you could have used the conversation to politely remind them, that yes, they are children and that’s why it’s the women’s duty to teach them. Also, you could’ve asked them why they felt the need to tell you they’re kids. To defend them.

    • PrincessButtercup April 29, 2015, 11:06 am

      I had the thought that my reaction would be, “yes, they are kids, and it’s your job to teach them manners.”.

  • CW April 29, 2015, 10:14 am

    Due to the content of Rocky Horror, I’d sure hope a 9 year old is NOT familiar with it.

  • Annie April 29, 2015, 10:32 am

    When I was 15, I dated a guy with a pink mohawk. I took him to church with me once. A little kid pointed and laughed at him as the children were leaving the service. My aunt tracked him down afterward and told him, “We do NOT laugh at people who are different from us.” There were also a few adults who told my parents that “he shouldn’t come to church if he’s going to do that with his hair.” My parents told them that God didn’t care so maybe they shouldn’t either.

    • Weaver April 30, 2015, 1:03 am

      Sounds like you had a lovely family, Annie. Bravo to your aunt and parents!

      • just4kicks April 30, 2015, 11:04 am

        @Annie: my now 11 year old had a Mohawk a few years ago.
        I thought it looked awesome….my parents?!? Yeah….not so much! 🙂
        I was disappointed when he wanted to get rid of it.

  • Kat April 29, 2015, 10:39 am

    I think the Admin is correct, but I also think it’s worth noting that the mothers should have prevented the girls from photographing a stranger without permission. They also should have refrained from commenting on what “her momma lets her” wear, and scolding the OP for….something. I’m not even sure what that was for

    Bottom line, I’m willing to let the girls off the hook here, but their moms messed up.

  • AFS April 29, 2015, 10:41 am

    What were nine-year-old girls doing outside a movie theater just before a midnight showing? They sound like little hellspawns of their Satan mother, and I’m sure they terrorize any girls who are “different” (read: shy and cool) from them at school.

  • Jelly_Rose April 29, 2015, 10:42 am

    I used to dress up for Live Action Role Play, or LARP as it’s more known as. During one event four friends and myself had to go to the store but since our makeup could take hours to reapply the local convenience store was visited by five Drow elves. Sure we got funny looks and some strange comments but we were having fun and we didn’t let it bother us. It’s hard to ignore when people are making a deal out of it but strangers shouldn’t dictate your fun.

    • Phitius April 30, 2015, 10:05 am

      Hello fellow LARPer!

      My group used to do a weekly vampire larp in our downtown area. Most of the places we frequented for dinner were used to us being in costume, but sometimes the customers would just stare or point and laugh.

      The best part was when the staff at whatever place we were eating would defend us or explain to the these people what LARP was. We even gained a few new players that way.

    • manybellsdown April 30, 2015, 11:40 am

      I was sent out for burritos once in full SCA garb. People were a little bemused.

  • Lex April 29, 2015, 10:48 am

    As a fellow cosplayer and similarly shy person, I can understand why this affected you. Unlike you, when I cosplay I experience an empowering disembodiment – if these girls passed you in the street on a ‘normal’ day they wouldn’t even remember you. When you cosplay you become something else. Be proud of your costume. They might post the pictures on their Facebook or MySpace page to get cheap laughs from their immature peers but if they ventured to mock you beyond their private sphere you would find that suddenly they become the ones being mocked – it’s amazing how cosplayers and like-minded people will stick together and you’d find a great degree of support and encouragement.

    As a HUGE Harry Potter fan, I cosplayed as Rowena Ravenclaw at every event from the release of ‘Order of the Phoenix’ right up to the last-but-one movie. We booked midnight tickets for Deathly Hallows Part 1 and a small group of us arranged to cosplay together. We had a Harry, a Death Eater, Rowena Ravenclaw (me) and a Rita Skeeter. We got to the cinema expecting a big turnout of costumes (there had been loads of cosplay at previous book and movie releases). Nothing. Not a thing. We were shocked. So there we were, 4 adults playing dress-up at midnight among a bunch of other midnight viewers. But you know what? Not a single person made a disparaging comment (that I heard). The staff at the cinema took photos of us and posed with us. The atmosphere was great. This is what it is to be a cosplayer. You have to brush off the haters and immature kids and see the bigger picture. I bet when other patrons arrived you fitted right in.

    Honestly, I’d have had more to say about the rude attitude of the parents than the kids tbh.

    When a kid makes fun of me for cosplaying they are doing it to get a rise. They want to feel big and clever. So the best way to disarm them is belittle them right back. Feel sorry for them and show it. Pity their lack of personality and character. Let it show.

    • Anonymouse April 30, 2015, 8:55 pm

      Harry Potter midnight releases were always the great times for cosplay… On the last movie, a group of friends and I all dressed up. We had a Harry, Bella, Ginny (me), Tonks, Malfoy, and best/worst of all… Umbridge.

      The second we walked in we were greated with a loud, booing from the entire theatre (even He Who Must Not be Named joined in). It was entirely in jest, and one of the greatest cosplays we’d ever done.

  • lakey April 29, 2015, 10:52 am

    What bothered me about this post was the mother’s reaction. I spent thirty eight years teaching 9 and 10 year olds. What they said to their children when they corrected them would have been fine if the comment about how your momma allows you to dress had been left off. That was just as rude as the children’s behavior. I am also bothered by the mother using the kids’ age as an excuse to you. In my experience when parents say “They’re just kids”, it is not a good sign. 9 years old is more than old enough to know better than to openly laugh at people. I hope they didn’t hear her say that to you, because I have seen kids use it as an excuse themselves. Kids make mistakes, it is important to not let there be excuse making. Simple acceptance of responsibility is the way to go.

    • Mal April 30, 2015, 5:55 am

      Actually, I think the phrase “They’re just kids” would have held up in a different context, as in:
      “I’m very sorry about the giggling. They’re just kids, they giggle about everything at that age. Please don’t take it personally. If they actually knew the movie I’m sure they’d actually be envious of your costume. You look great!”

      Which is what I would have said if one of those girls had been my offspring. Right after confiscating their phones, telling them they’re being rude and deleting the pictures, of course.

    • Annie April 30, 2015, 10:46 am

      I totally agree. Also, the mothers should have confiscated those phones until the kids learned that you do NOT take pictures of someone without their permission.

    • Anonymouse April 30, 2015, 8:57 pm

      This. I am just beginning my teaching career, and I know 9 year olds can behave better than this. I wouldn’t have even accepted it from my kindergartners…

  • just4kicks April 29, 2015, 11:02 am

    Echoing some other posters, my comeback to the mom saying, “They are just KIDS!” would’ve been, “YES, they ARE just kids! Why aren’t they in bed at midnight, instead of at a movie which is definitely NOT for children!!!”

    I hung out with the drama kids in high school, and one night over thanksgiving break, a group of about ten of us went to the midnight showing of Rocky Horror.
    I loved it! It’s one of my best memories from high school.
    I had never been before, and (I don’t know if they still do this) they had a full cast up on a stage right underneath the screen acting along with the movie.
    Before the movie started, the “Dr. Frank-n-furter” asked if they were any “Rocky Horror Virgins” in the crowd tonight???
    My friends who had all been several times, jumped up and pointed at me and said, “RIGHT HERE!”
    I was then led up on stage with a male virgin, and we were given a maraschino cherry to feed each other, thus “popping” our Rocky Horror cherry.

  • PrincessButtercup April 29, 2015, 11:04 am

    It is not uncommon for me to wear a tail in public (furry fandom. And if you’ve heard the lies about how they are all sexual freaks, come chat with me, I’ll tell you the truth that is too boring for TV) and as such have had my picture taken many times. Usually I don’t pay them much attention. Maybe hold still if they are trying to sneak a picture but otherwise I don’t stress it. The point of wearing something odd in public is to be a spectical, to draw attention. If you hate attention, then dressing odd in public is a bit ridiculous. If the girls kept on for a while, turn to them, smile, wave, pose for a picture. Again, dressing odd is done to catch peoples attention. You caught their attention, play it up.

    • just4kicks April 30, 2015, 11:05 am

      @Princess: okay, I’ll bite! What is furry fandom???

    • Laura May 1, 2015, 9:08 am

      I actually went to a Furry convention for a day, to see what it was all about, when it was in the same city as my nerd convention (Mensa). Lovely group of people who put a lot of time and effort into these amazing costumes. The amount of overlap between the two groups was not insignificant and there was a lot of good natured teasing between the two groups.

    • TimeLadyUK May 1, 2015, 5:30 pm

      @PrincessButtercup – I think I’d like to disagree slightly regarding your sentence ” The point of wearing something odd in public is to be a spectical, to draw attention. ” I don’t dress unusually for attention, I do it because I like the clothing more than what I could get off the rack – and it fits my horrible figure better too! I think everyone dresses/does their makeup/does their hair in a particular way for particular reasons, and perhaps sometimes it *is* to be a spectacle, but to tar everyone with the same brush is a trifle remiss.

  • just4kicks April 29, 2015, 11:20 am

    Also, about two years ago, my oldest son and his girlfriend, along with a few other kids who were at our house decided they were going to see Rocky Horror at the ten pm showing.
    I was getting ready to go up to bed, and my son asked if it was okay if they go, seeing as it was pretty late for a movie.
    I said, “Sure! Just wait one minute…..” and grabbed a bag which I then filled with a few rolls of toilet paper, uncooked rice, and a loaf of bread.
    My son, and those in the group who hadn’t seen Rocky Horror before were completely confused until the two kids who had seen it before, looked in the bag and said “toilet paper? Check. Rice? Check. Bread??(which should’ve been toast) Check!”
    The kids said “we will explain on the way what this stuff is for…..let’s go! Thanks, Mrs. K! You’re the BEST!!!”
    I then set about getting my bedtime snack and drink, singing “Sweet Transvestite”, which got me a horrified “MOM!!!!!!!” from my son, and several “You GO, Mrs. K!” from the others.
    My son did run back in and say, “Hey….my friends want to know if you want to come with us!”
    I laughed and said thanks, but no you guys have a great time now.
    I wish I would’ve gone!

    • NostalgicGal April 30, 2015, 6:16 pm

      Just caught this now, and got a major laugh. Thank you.

      Neighbor at one place I lived had her oldest grandson (17) living with her, long story. This lady is a mother of 12, and grandson and I were talking about RHPS. She had no idea what we were talking about. I got to put an arm around her shoulders and inform her she was a ‘virgin’ (she’d never seen the movie). I rented a laserdisc of it, and we had her over for a viewing (her, youngest son who was visiting, and her grandson) and on the projection tv it was pretty good. And she got…educated. Oh. I did ban all viewing aids as I didn’t want to clean up after it, but we still enjoyed our show…

      • just4kicks May 1, 2015, 10:53 am

        @NostalgicGal: Thanks! 🙂
        That got me some “street cred” for about two days, and then it was back to old fuddy duddy Ma!
        I love watching Rocky Horror when it’s on, (fast forwarding through some scenes) for the little ones.
        When my son said he’d never seen it, I said you’ve watched it with me on tv, but you HAVE to go at least once to see it in the theater.
        My friends and I also started a tradition of tipping the ushers working the midnight showing, because of all the extra stuff they need to clean.
        They always said, “Oh! Thanks, but we are not allowed to take tips.”, which then one of us would save a popcorn container and “pass the bucket” before we left amongst our friends, and like minded people around us, throwing in change and bills and covering it all with a few napkins.
        One teen age girl who was an usher, (that we passed on our way out), I gave her the popcorn bucket and said, “Sweetie, could you please throw this out for me?!?” which got us a VERY dirty look, until I leaned in and whispered, “Look under the napkins…..that’s all for you for cleaning up after us tonight!”
        Her look went from “BITE ME!!!” to “Oh my God…..THANK YOU!!!”

  • Kimberly Herbert April 29, 2015, 11:22 am

    I’m shocked at how many people are excusing the girls’ rudeness because they are kids. They are old enough to know better than to
    1. laugh at people
    2. take pictures of anyone without their permission

    If the kids in my family did this they would get a complete public dressing down for being bullies (Laughing at someone) and they would have lost their phones/Ipads/cameras for taking inappropriate pictures – because photographing someone without their permission especially with the intention of/as part of making fun of the person is an appropriated photograph in our family.

    The OP has social anxiety – tried to step out of the box and was made fun of by preteen girls some of the cruelest people on this planet. I think we should praise her for trying to overcome the anxiety, and call the girls and the so called adults with them (They allowed this behavior without a real correction so they don’t deserve the title parents) on their behavior. The admin’s strategy is great if the person is able to follow through.

    • Stephanie April 29, 2015, 10:22 pm

      I completely agree with you. Thank you for raising your kids to know better.

    • just4kicks April 30, 2015, 3:33 am

      @Kimberly Herbert: Amen.
      When did being polite stop being one of the first things parents teach their kids?
      My kids aren’t sporting solid gold halos, but manners is one of the things I’m a stickler for.
      I can remember MY mom turning around in the front seat of the car, no matter WHERE we going, and saying, “You and your sister are dressed like ladies, ACT like ladies!”
      There have been times my kids have been told by strangers “you have very good manners”, and I tell my kids that means a great deal to me, in my book, it means I’m doing my job.
      I coined a phrase with my kids since they were very little….”SOS”….Stop Obvious Staring.
      They know that means please stop staring, and you can ask me questions….later.
      An example: when my daughter was much younger, we were food shopping and in front of us at the checkout there was a couple with a young boy in a special wheelchair who seemed to be mentally and physically challenged.
      He was talking to his parents in kind of a forced, garbled speech.
      My daughter at that point had not encountered a person with mental challenges and she was staring at him and I could see the questions that were about to pop out.
      Not wanting to hurt this dear boys feelings, or his parents, I leaned into to her and said, “Hey! You promised Mommy a kiss in frozen foods! Gimme!!!” as I got close to her ear I whispered, “S.O.S.”.
      She understood and nodded, and business herself looking at the candy bars on display.
      As soon as we were driving away from the grocery store, I said, “okay, Sweetie, ask your questions about the young man in front of us at the checkout.”

      • just4kicks April 30, 2015, 3:36 am

        …..”busied” herself….that should have read…..not business….

    • Margo April 30, 2015, 8:01 am

      Hear, Hear! I agree with every word of your post, Kimberley.

  • Yarnspinner April 29, 2015, 11:29 am

    Hugs, OP, I have been there and I have done that. It’s amazing what walking into a McDonald’s dressed as a 13th century lady in waiting will do to the people around you. Thank God, I wasn’t wearing a hennen as it would have scared them all away. (Yeah, I was in the SCA for a couple of years)

    As someone who has, in fact, allowed small children to hurt my feelings, I know where you are coming from and I know that you can take a deep breath and finally say to yourself “They are only nine, but when they get to be my age, they will be unable to learn to have any kind of fun at all because they will be so hung up on their appearance. They will be boring and bored.”

    I don’t know if this would have worked on these little creatures and their mommas, but I have, on occasion, used garb as a way of interacting with the “you’re a freak” crowd. You can do poses while they take the pictures, overact as Columbia and even tap dance and sing if necessary. Give them a strong, confident and talented Columbia to take pictures of–they would either get the idea that you are someone to be reckoned with or they would realize that they weren’t making you uncomfortable and cut it out…maybe they would even begin to be uncomfortable themselves.

    My all time favorite renaissance faire experience was at a small faire where I was telling stories. A little boy and his mother walked by, both of them looking very uncomfortable even though they were both wearing garb–long black robes. Mom was wearing a witch’s hat. My friend noticed that the boy was wearing a pair of big round glasses and had a scar drawn on his forehead in lightning shape.

    Friend and I looked at each other and without even planning it raced over to them and immediately started pumping the boy’s hand and asking for his autograph. “Oh, Mister Potter,” my friend gushed “we are so thrilled that you decided to come to our poor little faire!”

    His mother told us quietly that a couple of garb-critics had given them a snippy reception about dressing as fictional characters and I guess the little boy was downcast. We were both SO glad we did what we did because he perked right up. That “freak” thing works both ways I guess and one of the reasons I left the SCA was the people who couldn’t give anyone a break on their efforts at garb. Ren Faires are usually more forgiving.

    • Anne S. April 30, 2015, 6:53 am

      Thank you for doing that. The thought of hurting a child’s feelings just kills it for me. I remember when my husband didn’t want to take our son to the grocery store because he was dressed up in a fireman’s garb. He wondered what people were going to think, I told him that they would think, what a nice dad for playing along and letting his kid wear what he wanted. That’s what I always think and I try to make sure that I comment on the costume. Nothing puffs up a kid’s feelings, when they hear, “You look just like Spiderman” or “You must be a real princess”.
      It can take so little to make someone’s day.

  • Calli Arcale April 29, 2015, 11:40 am

    Cosplay is great fun, and I think you should absolutely keep doing it! Unfortunately, it does attract unwanted attention, just as dressing in a feminine way does. That doesn’t make it right to giggle and point or take pictures without permission, and as an FYI, it can get much worse than that. Cosplayers, particularly those in suits where their faces are not visible, have been groped and kicked and worse. It’s rare; fortunately most people were taught in childhood that hitting and touching without permission are not acceptable. But being in costume confuses some people’s internal filters — it puts you into the uncanny valley where their unconscious isn’t quite sure if you’re a person or not. This is also why some people are terrified of clowns. The usual result is that their automatic reactions are off; they don’t quite know how to interact with you. This will lead to more than the uusal number of misfires, and worse, some will recognize that internal discomfort and get hostile as a defense. If there’s alcohol involved, it of course ramps up even more.

    So as a cosplayer, it’s good to learn some defensive strategies. Never apologize for dressing up, and never take responsibility for other people’s misbehavior towards you, but do learn to recognize the miscreants and find strategies to defuse their hostility. A little humor can go a long ways, by putting htem back on familiar turf. And probably don’t go alone, just in case.

    Cosplay is getting bigger and bigger, so those girls will need to learn how to understand it or have a very hard time in years to come. I imagine that someday they will have the perspective to realize how rude they were, and it will haunt them. We all have rude moments, especially from our youth, that we’d give anything to reverse, but of course we can’t.

  • Ashley April 29, 2015, 11:43 am

    I am a cosplayer so believe me I understand those stares.

    That said, I also COMPLETELY agree with admin.

    When I first started cosplaying, the stares I got from people who weren’t there for the convention did bother me. But then I realized, yeah, I’m wandering around in a full Victorian outfit with goggles (my first costumes were all Steampunk) in a world of people wearing jeans and t shirts. I look funny. People are going to stare.

    I’ve got anxiety too. It comes from my OCD. But cosplaying has actually help me overcome that anxiety SO much. And it’s from doing what Admin said, by being proactive, and taking steps to help explain to people why you are dressed like you are.

    For me it started with a day I was in a Steampunk costume, and this particular costume had a big skirt with an elaborate bustle, and a fancy corset with a fancy blouse underneath. All the sudden I felt a TINY little tug on my skirt, and I turn around, here’s a little girl who couldn’t have been more than five. Then I see a man behind her who introduces himself as the little girls father. He explains to me he has no idea what is going on or why I am dressed like I am but his daughter is very shy and thinks I look like a princess so she wants a picture to show her mother. They weren’t there for the convention, they just knew that going through the convention hall was the fastest way to get from A to B. So I gladly posed for a picture with this girl (she had the biggest smile I’ve ever seen!), and then chatted with them for about five minutes explaining the convention and cosplay. Then I explained there was a whole costume parade on Saturday, and sure enough, Saturday rolled around and this dad, and his daughter were in the crowd watching.

    It’s gotten to a point where I actually think up poses I can do with other people, to help with situations like this. If I’m dressed as Black Widow, I know people are going to recognize her even outside of the convention because of the popularity of Marvel movies. So if people start snapping pictures, I invite them to come do a superhero pose with me. When I’m dressed as Daenerys, I have a prop crate of dragon eggs, and invite people come “present” the crate to me like what happens on the show. I have a pose like that for all my costumes, and then it opens the gates to talk about what I’m doing. Even people who were laughing AT me before end up being engaged and then I usually see them coming back through the hall on other days, talking to other cosplayers.

    This got long winded and I’m sorry, but my point is, BE PROACTIVE! NOT REACTIVE!

  • Dee April 29, 2015, 11:50 am

    OP did nothing wrong, she (rightly) glared at the girls. The girls were being rude and OP gave them “the look”. Well done. The problem is that those girls’ poor behaviour was reinforced by their mothers. While they did receive a talking to it wasn’t enough and then they were let off the hook because they were just “children”. Nine years old is a very reasonable age to expect kids to respect others’ appearances and to understand boundaries. OP did the best she could given her feelings and lack of support from others. Hopefully, she will learn to enjoy such an outing again, maybe in the company of friends who will give her the sense of “safety in numbers”.

    • Stephanie April 29, 2015, 10:09 pm

      Yeah, I was especially disgusted by the moms’ reactions. Not only did they defend their kids’ awful behavior to OP, they also “slut-shamed” her–I use quotes because obviously there’s nothing actually “slutty” about wearing revealing clothing, but that’s absolutely the implication of comments like that. They’re teaching their kids that if someone shows skin in public, it’s okay to degrade them. That’s a really messed up thing to tell little girls.

      • ArtsBeatLA April 30, 2015, 1:43 pm


        What Stephanie wrote — “They’re teaching their kids that if someone shows skin in public, it’s okay to degrade them. That’s a really messed up thing to tell little girls.”


  • mark April 29, 2015, 11:52 am

    While I agree with admin that ignoring them is the best action. The whole taking pictures of random people with your cell phone camera (with possibly the intention to post the picture on facebook or other social media sites) has gotten oh so tiresome.

  • AMC April 29, 2015, 12:31 pm

    The little girls sound like a couple of bullies in the making. What a shame their parents didn’t set a better example for them and teach them that ALL people deserve to be treated with respect and dignity no matter what their appearance. Had it been my daughter, I would have made her delete the photos and apologize to OP.

    • Emmy April 29, 2015, 9:31 pm

      AMC, you have great parenting instincts. If only their mothers had the common sense and empathy that you do. These girls have the bully part down already. It is never acceptable for them to act that way and they are plenty old enough to understand that they are being cruel and hurtful.

    • Stephanie April 29, 2015, 10:02 pm

      Well said. Their behavior (as described in the letter) was completely inappropriate. Dressing in costume doesn’t magically make it more acceptable for people to publicly mock you.

  • Aurora April 29, 2015, 12:33 pm

    When did it become appropriate to point and laugh at strangers and refer to them loudly as “freaks”? I would think that at the age of nine, those girls were old enough to have been taught that such behavior is unacceptable.

    • admin April 29, 2015, 6:06 pm

      Of course people act like rude idiots. What are you going to do, shoot them? Give them the evil eye? Let them destroy your happiness? Scream at them?

      • Cat April 29, 2015, 9:35 pm

        Take their picture?

        • Aurora April 30, 2015, 10:34 am

          How about, as their parent, teaching them that it is never appropriate to mock someone because of their appearance? If I had behaved in that fashion at the age of 9, my mother would have come down on me like a ton of bricks. She had this notion that part of her job as a parent was to teach my siblings and me to behave like civilized people. There were certain standards of behavior that decent people followed, and while we were in her care, we would follow those standards or face negative consequences. Activities such as attending movies and going to the mall were privileges, not rights, and she would not have hesitated to take us home if she felt our (mis)behavior warranted it.

          • Cat April 30, 2015, 8:45 pm

            The question is not whether a parent should insist that their children be polite, but what one does if he/she meets up with ill-mannered children. Some parents appreciate a stranger correcting their children and others feel that no one else has the right to reprimand them.
            I just read an article about two women who had a knock-down, drag out, fight over a parking space. I would not want to try to correct the child of anyone with that short of a fuse.

      • Stephanie April 29, 2015, 10:06 pm

        Glaring at them is well within the bounds of acceptable reactions to behavior that cruel. Children especially should be made aware when their actions are socially unacceptable. I don’t think it’s fair to expect people to respond positively to being openly mocked.

  • NostalgicGal April 29, 2015, 12:34 pm

    I used to dress up a lot, both for theme fan clubs I belonged to, scifi conventions I used to attend (and sell stuff at) and more. The best one was a world fan convention was held downtown near where I worked (a conservative bank type place) and I stored stuff in my cube all week and took part of the weekend flanking off to attend, and showed up in full garb to sign in and get my stuff (was not scheduled that day to work so I had to sign in as guest by the rules) and blew everyone’s mind. I’ve rocked a rabbit fur bikini in 45f on a city bus on the way to something; and more. If you dress up, own it!

    I can understand, OP. The girls were rude, the woman was just as rude, and what single digit girls were doing at that theater at 11 pm … doesn’t make sense to me either. I would have gone over when they started and introduced myself as another said, as I’m dressed up as X from the movie, and asked if they wanted to pose with me.

    They laugh and get to live rent free in your mind and your life ONLY if you let them.

    Doing those conventions, I also seen plenty of ‘you have GOT to be KIDDING’ and learned to roll with that too. OP, don’t let them live rent free… do as you want, and OWN IT! 🙂

  • Lorie April 29, 2015, 1:15 pm

    OP, if you want to cosplay, go for it and don’t look back! My daughter was very socially awkward growing up. Once she started cosplaying, the world opened up to her. My husband and son cosplay also. At the Ohyocon (SP?) in January this year, they went as Midguard Odin (hubby), Bruce Banner and Human Big Mac from My Little Pony (son) and Female Thor and River Song from Doctor Who (daughter). She also was a caricature from an anime but I don’t remember the name. (I was home with the dogs and cats)

    If you see a camera flash, strike a pose. If they call you a freak, pity them for they will be forever stuck in their tiny worlds never to venture into the unknown. Little lemmings following the status quo for fear of being different…like their mothers

    Now about those mothers! 9 year olds out at 11:00 PM!?! Were they going to see Rocky Horror!?! YIPES!

    • iwadasn April 29, 2015, 9:57 pm

      I think it’s unnecessarily harsh to condemn nine-year-olds to being “forever stuck in their tiny worlds.” They’re NINE. They still have a lot of growing up to do, and chances are they’ll soon learn that this kind of behavior is inappropriate. They’ll look back on this and cringe; it’ll be one of those I-can’t-believe-younger-me-did-that moments that we all have. I doubt you would want someone deciding what your manners would be like for the rest of your life based on one thing you did as a young child.

  • Girlysprite April 29, 2015, 1:29 pm

    Oh this brings back memories of cosplay events and larping. The greatest moment was when I went to an event as a demon mistress; corset, black leather pants, horns, hooves. I had two little minions (played by friends) and I’d let little kids borrow them. Anyways, I was sitting in the metro and going through all my props. Dog collars, leashes, bullwhip…some people’s eyes were about to roll out from the staring. I thought it was hilarious.
    There are also bad experiences, like the guy that kept leering at me and kept asking me to whip him. Or the time when I was waiting for the train in an elf costume and a large group of 50+ ages ladies kept whispering to themselves , something along the lines of ‘people these days’.

    You know what helps for such cases? Having other people like you around. Friends is for the best of course, but at such an event, you can try to chat up with another dressed up person, maybe even talking about ‘how ‘some people’ point an laugh at you, do they experience the same?’ It distracts you and may help you to get an ally to face the situation with.

  • Miss-E April 29, 2015, 2:13 pm

    Very well put Admin! My sister used to be really into the goth-industrial scene and would wear wild outfits with crazy hairpieces that she made herself. I once went with her to see a band in Times Square. She dressed me up and decked out my hair (I wish I could include photos here because the hair is really fabulous). We drove in to the city so the only time we encountered people was walking through Times Square (wearing coats but unable to hide our pink/purple/blue hair pieces).
    We got a LOT of stares but we just laughed it off. We even took a bunch of photos with tourists. It was pretty fun! Like Admin said, you have to acknowledge that walking around in costume is unusual and just go with it.

  • Kendra April 29, 2015, 3:22 pm

    Okay, first of all, the picture above is Time Warp Columbia. Floor Show Columbia is white facepaint with a black border, eyes and lips. Secondly, it’s a midnight showing of Rocky Horror where coming in costume is practically a law. The consequences for those who aren’t costumed can be……….interesting.

    To the OP, the administration is right that you let a couple of poorly raised children and the people who are raising them the power to spoil your evening and your enjoyment of Rocky Horror. It can be hard but rewarding to remember that the opinions of strangers mean nothing. They simply don’t count. In this scenario the non-costumed kids and parents were the freaks. Too bad you couldn’t sic Frank N Furter on them. When the woman approached you with they’re just kids, you could have coolly replied “yes, I can see that. I’m shocked they’re here considering this show is not appropriate for children.” Then give them the they just great big, green, oozing lump on their face and return to chatting with your friends.

    Lastly, please don’t let these boors steal your enjoyment of Rocky Horror. I’ve been doing Rocky Horror (Underwear Janet) for almost a quarter of a century. It’s worth keeping your free spirit alive.

  • Emmy April 29, 2015, 3:30 pm

    I feel for the OP. For some people it is so easy to make the most of it by striking outrageous poses or let it run off their back (or come up with a great comeback after the fact). Those girls were acting like nasty little twerps. Evil Emmy might have gotten my camera out and started taking pictures and snickering at them to freak them out. My advice to the OP would be to try not let something like that get her down and just remember the worthlessness of the opinions of those being so rude to her.

    Sometimes it is hard to control your feelings. It is similar like telling somebody not to be hurt if a stranger calls them fat, if their friend talks behind their back, or they put work into something and somebody else got the credit. Some people have the confidence to let these things roll off their back, but not everybody does. The admin has good advice for next time if something similar happens, but I don’t think it is fair to blame the OP for being shocked and hurt at such heinous behavior from those ill mannered girls.

  • Stephbwfern April 29, 2015, 3:39 pm

    I don’t know why everyone is commenting on the OP’s emotional reaction – thought this was an etiquette blog, not an advice column or Agony Aunt.

    What horrid children. I can overlook a 5yo doing that, but not a 9 yo – especially audibly calling her a freak. I’m wondering if the mother’s were trying (albeit very badly) to “apologise” by at least acknowledge g the girls bad behaviour to OP?
    I agree with ketchup – it would have been a good opportunity for you to say “Yes, they are children – that’s why they need to be told not to bully and ridicule people in public and take photos without permission. That’s where you two step in, ladies”.

    • Stephanie April 29, 2015, 10:15 pm

      I’m glad you said this. That was my reaction too–why so much judgment of OP’s emotional reaction? If someone told me that story, I’d think, “Yes, that was incredibly rude of the girls and their mothers, and I’m sorry they pooped all over your night like that.” Not “Oh, you shouldn’t have let them rattle you.” OP literally said they suffer from social anxiety–might as well tell someone with depression to “just cheer up”.

    • Mary April 30, 2015, 6:11 am

      That would have been an excellent response. However, most of us can never come up with the right comeback until ten minutes later!

  • JO April 29, 2015, 3:45 pm

    While normally I would agree that someone in costume in public should expect to attract attention, I highly doubt the OP looked out of place in this instance. At a midnight showing of this particular movie, anyone OUT of costume would be the ones looking silly.

    • JO April 29, 2015, 5:51 pm

      In fact, I wonder if that might have been a factor. Could it be the girls, realizing they had arrived underdressed (so to speak), have tried to curtail their embarrassment by teasing someone who was in costume, thereby drawing the attention away from themselves? Of course that is pure speculation, but I would be curious to know…

  • Aje April 29, 2015, 3:53 pm

    So none of the girls or their Moms seemed to know what they were about to see. It gives me some amusement to think of how they felt later, realizing OP was dressed as a person from the play. One hopes there might be a little shame or embarrassment. (Although since apparently their kids can do no wrong, not likely!)

    Social anxiety or no, no one likes being made fun of. Don’t worry OP. The true freaks are those who belittle and make fun of people for not being their own idea of “normal”.

  • Sally April 29, 2015, 4:51 pm

    While I agree with admin on the response to this OP, when did it become okay, with respect to etiquette or just common sense, to take pictures of people without asking permission first? Yes, I realize I’m an old fogey (late 50s) but I don’t feel the need to take pictures of stuff I might see in the course of a day.

    The mothers in this story should have used this as a good lesson to their daughters that you ask someone whether it’s before you take their picture.

    • Stephanie April 29, 2015, 10:17 pm

      You’re right, it’s not okay. Cosplayers call stealth photos like that “creepshots” and it’s considered extremely inappropriate. You’re supposed to ask the person if they want a picture, give them a chance to make sure their costume is in order and pose, and only then do you take the shot.

      • Ashley April 30, 2015, 10:46 am

        I HATE CREEPSHOTS!!! Every time I cosplay, there is always at least two people every day who see me and want a picture and come darting through the crowd and snap a picture right as I’m adjusting a bit of my costume or doing something awkward while I gather my props. Then they dart right off again. It’s like, okay, come on, how good can that photo possibly look, it’s probably blurry and everything with how fast you were darting around. Ugh.

  • mark2 April 29, 2015, 4:51 pm

    I agree with what admun said here, I will just add my own two cents. First of all I am not at all familiar with the idea of dressing up at movie premieres, although it sounds like fun. I do know 9 year olds very well, 🙂 however, and I can assure you if they were taking your picture they really liked your costume and wanted pictures of it. When they use words like weird or freaky, they do so often times in a flattering way, and not a dissing kind of way. i really doubt this is monsters or bullies in the making here, but girls who seem to be extroverted and enjoy being out with their mom(s) late in the evening enjoying this movie. I’m not sure you glaring at them did anything but maybe alert their mother to your status as stranger, I would have simply smiled at the girls and ask them if they wanted to take a picture with you.

  • Stephanie April 29, 2015, 9:26 pm

    In the cosplay community, it’s considered very poor etiquette to photograph someone without their permission (aka, to take “creepshots”). I don’t think the letter writer was out of line.

    • ALM April 30, 2015, 10:55 am

      But the OP was not going out among cosplayers. While I agree the children were rude, they were also children and the OP was not at a cosplay convention. The OP is dressed as a burlesque dancer with by the OP’s description, clownish make up, in a public movie theater, and isn’t hanging out amongst cosplayers. It is unreasonable to expect con-etiquette out in public, and as rude as the girls are, the OP is also thumbing her nose at social convention by the way she is dressed.

  • MM April 29, 2015, 9:44 pm

    You know, being a kid should stop being an excuse for bad behavior after the age of five. These kids obviously knew what they were doing and were purposefully being harmful. They SHOULD and most likely DO know better.

    At that age, kids are selfish. They take, take and take and drain all others of their love and emotion (lol)

    • Ergala April 30, 2015, 2:25 pm

      I think it should stop after the age of 4 to be honest. My 4 year old was able to be told he was behavior rudely and had to apologize for his behavior. He has delays and he was able to grasp this concept quite well. Now I have kids whom when they are asked to do something instead of saying “I DON’T WANNA!” they say “No Thank You”….we’re working on that HAHA!

  • AnnaMontana April 30, 2015, 1:45 am

    Well those girls would’ve had a real issue with me! As a member of an am-drams group, I often have to go to events full costumed. In the last 2 years alone I’ve been Princess So Wise in Aladdin, A Nun, A Whore (let me tell you, that involved some seriously short skirts and I’m not exactly small!), A PA during the 1940s, The Fairy Queen in Sleeping Beauty, Barbra Amory in Black Coffee, The White Witch in Narnia and I’m currently working on Jackie in Noel Cowards HayFever (which involved 1920s costumes with a LOT of make-up and too much jewellery – she’s basically a parody of the 1920s)
    I am often out in public, stopping at shops, take-aways or pubs to buy supplies (the pub local to one of the halls we perform in has a great system of buying 2 jugs worth of beer and then if you return the jugs they give you a pint free!) for myself and other cast members. I simply don’t care!
    Anyone who gives me odd looks or whispers things gets “I’m in this great show tonight/tomorrow/whenever. It’s all about x. Want a couple of cheap tickets? I can tell you’re the type of person to enjoy it.” Obviously I don’t sell tickets to kids. But their parents? Hell yes!
    Often they buy full-price tickets on the door and they end up as members of the group.
    As far as I’m concerned, all publicity is good publicity if it’s something I love doing!

  • Kate April 30, 2015, 5:21 am

    I’m willing to give the mothers a ticket to E-Hell based on their reaction. The girls were rude, but the job of a parent is to use situations like this as a ‘teachable moment’ to educate their kids about appropriate social behaviour.
    I teach 10 year olds, and if I saw my students laughing at a member of the public and taking photos of them without their permission, they’d be getting a talking to about manners and the sheer rudeness of taking someone’s photo without asking.

  • Heather April 30, 2015, 6:24 am

    Totally agree with everyone who’s mentioned the creepshots! You DON’T take pictures of cosplayers (or anyone, really) without asking their permission. OP, if the girls were just giggling and laughing, I would agree with just hamming it up and having fun with it, but when they started taking pictures, you were will within your rights to tell them that that is not acceptable, in a very stern voice.

    • NostalgicGal April 30, 2015, 1:50 pm

      Out of about forty years of dressing and owning what I was doing; at some of the conventions the camera dingdongs were usually the worst thing to deal with. At one convention because of the number of artists that were getting disgusted that THEIR booth was the backdrop of choice for people to take pictures; that they instigated as part of the dealer room rules that you had to ASK first to take pictures in front of someone’s wares (not following the con rules could get you ejected so if it was in print you better behave). RHPS is one of my early dressups and I usually opted for bathrobe, squirt gun, toast, rice, and my newspaper… I left bustiers and fishnets to some of the others. I also did SCA for a number of years and it depends, you could always run into a few that were snitty about the costume accuracy. Most groups let it fly unless they were being filmed or something. Still. Never take a picture unless you ask first; and with today’s snaphappy yodedoes with cellphones, this gets pushed hard. Another thing, cosplayers need downtime too. There are times even if they are all dolled out, they’re taking time out. Leave them alone. They are not public property and don’t have to perform on demand. By all means, someone is taking your picture, without your permission, you have a right to go talk to them about it!

      • TimeLadyUK May 1, 2015, 5:41 pm

        Oh for a “Like” button, NostalgicGal! As a cosplayer myself I’ve been made aware of a few exceedingly unflattering “creepshots” of myself from a couple of events, when I was sat down with bits of cosplay missing (apparently taking a break now = being a dreadful cosplayer who shouldn’t bother leaving the house). I wish more people understood that cosplayers are as human as everyone else!