If you’re anything like me, thoughts of what a character could have done or should have said are hard to ignore while watching a movie. So in the spirit of Richmond Proper’s mantra of “calmness, consistency, clarity,” this week we’re introducing a new feature here at Richmond Proper: do-overs of your favorite etiquette blunders from movies, TV, and pop culture in general.
If you’re anything like me, thoughts of what a character could have done or should have said are hard to ignore while watching a movie. That sinking feeling that they’re going to make the predictable mistake and then go down the predictable path of consequence is royally frustrating. For example, it’s nearly impossible for me to get through an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm without becoming hysterical. So in the spirit of Richmond Proper’s mantra of “calmness, consistency, clarity,” this week we’re introducing a new feature here at Richmond Proper: do-overs of your favorite etiquette blunders from movies, TV, and pop culture in general.
Wayne’s World (1992): The diner / gun rack scene, wherein Stacy humiliates herself and establishes herself as the most notorious psycho hose beast of all time.
Stacy: Happy anniversary, Wayne.
Wayne: Stacy, we broke up two months ago.
Stacy: That doesn’t mean we can’t go out.
Wayne: Well, it does, actually. That’s what breaking up is.
Stacy: You going to the Gasworks tonight?
All the dudes: No!
Stacy: Don’t you wanna open your present?
Wayne: If it’s a severed head, I’m going to be very upset.
Stacy: Open it.
Wayne: Okay. Okay…. What is it?
Stacy: It’s a gun rack.
Wayne: A gun rack? A gun rack. I don’t even own a gun,let alone many guns, which would necessitate an entire rack. What am I gonna do with a gun rack?
Stacy: You don’t like it? Fine. You know, Wayne, if you’re not careful, you’re gonna lose me.
Wayne: I lost you two months ago. Are you mental? We broke up. Get the net!
[Background: We’re assuming here that Stacy still loves Wayne and genuinely wants to find out whether they still have a chance, without looking completely desperate.]
Stacy: Hello, Wayne.
Wayne: Hi, Stacy. [long pause] Sooo, what have you been up to?
Stacy: Oh, the usual…just bicycling, going to parties, all that stuff. And yourself?
Wayne: Street hockey
Stacy: Well, listen: I just wanted to let you know that if you wanted to call me sometime, that would be cool. And if not, that’s okay, too. Either way, I hope we can still be friendly and say “hi” when we run into each other at the Gasworks.
Wayne: Honestly, I’m probably not going to call you…but thanks for being so cool. Anyway, I’ll probably see you later at Gasworks.
Stacy: Okay! See you later.
Some measure of awkwardness is to be expected during conversations with recent exes, and no etiquette columnist is going to eradicate it. But at least in our version, the only tragic part occurs on the way to Gasworks in the car, when Stacy presumably cries a little. In public, she maintains some dignity (and leaves the gun rack at home), finds out whether Wayne is interested, and leaves room for civility during future encounters.
Have a favorite cringe-worth scene you’d like featured in Richmond Proper Do-Overs? Let us know.