Yes, it WAS a Tallest Man on Earth show.
September 27, 2010 8:47 AM   Subscribe

As a very tall person, do I have a responsibility to not stand in front at concerts?

I'm 6'8'' or 9''. Yesterday, for example, I went to a show with some friends. We got there very early, as it was sold out and ended up front and center. Now, I normally DO try to at least be off to one side if I'm going to be in front, but it was crowded and we ended up in the middle.

People were pissed off. Like, yelling obscenities, saying mean things RIGHT behind me, etc... This all just combined to make me lose sympathy and be angry right back at them, but we basically managed to ruin each other's concert experience.

Now, it's not my fault that I'm tall, but how much is it my fault that I'm in front? I have as much of a right to be there as anyone, right? If they wanted to see well they'd have shown up early too, right? I'm not an asshole, right?

I guess the answerable question, though, is to other tall people (or short people with suggestions...): What do you do at concerts? Stand in front and not care? Stand over to the side or in back? What should I do?
posted by papayaninja to Human Relations (62 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I have as much of a right to be there as anyone, right?

Well, sure, you have every right to do that. But not everything we have the right to do is a polite and considerate thing to do. The thing is, you'll be able to see over the heads of people 3 or 4 rows back. It would be really nice of you to recognize that people of lesser height can't see over your head no matter what they do. In a standing-only place, sometimes you get blocked, and that stinks. But I still think it would be considerate to recognize that "taller people in back" makes a lot of sense for a reason - in the same way that, at outdoor concerts, people on blankets on the ground should be able to sit in front of people in chairs.
posted by Miko at 8:51 AM on September 27, 2010 [17 favorites]

I'm not that tall (about 5'10") but I try to not stand right in front of people shorter than me (although in your case, I guess that's everyone), usually off to the side.
posted by JoanArkham at 8:52 AM on September 27, 2010

I'm 5'1" and was very grateful at a recent Trombone Shorty concert when people were very generous about letting the shortest people get right up front. Works better at smaller venues than amphitheaters obviously. I tend to avoid concerts where everyone will be standing and it's very crowded.
posted by leslies at 8:53 AM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

It really depends on what you want here. You can't stop people from getting pissed at you in that situation, and you said that that managed to ruin your concert experience. So, to prevent your experience from being ruined, you need to change. Because they won't.

So, you can keep on standing in front, and somehow block out other people's reactions, or you can stand to the side or further back or somehow lower your body so that other people don't disrupt your experience.

As an aside: I can't believe people would react like that. When a taller person stands in front of me at a concert, I...move a little to the side. Sheesh.
posted by punchtothehead at 8:53 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm shortish (5'8"), and have spent a lifetime trying to get sightlines around tall people at shows. But I guess I'm kind of a fatalist, I just figure that the tall folks have a right to stand wherever they feel like, and it's on me to find my own sightline.

FWIW, I really enjoyed it a couple of weeks ago when my 6'2" friend started grousing about the 6'9" guy who had the gall to stand in front of him at a Flaming Lips show.
posted by COBRA! at 8:56 AM on September 27, 2010

For most people, the difference between being in the front and being at the back is the difference between watching a great show versus spending an hour and a half staring over somebody's shoulder at the drummer's left arm.

For you, the difference is a few yards' worth of visual acuity.

There are usually places to stand where you're not going to be directly in front of someone - if you want to be near the front, try to find a support column or a railing or something to put at your back, because chances are you really are making the show unpleasant for whoever's immediately behind you.
posted by theodolite at 8:57 AM on September 27, 2010 [33 favorites]

I'd never think to curse anyone (and especially as you got there first), but at 5'2" I *love* people who do stop to think about us munchkins in the crowd!

You have the *right* to be front and center, but a real mensch will stand to one side.
posted by cyndigo at 8:58 AM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

I have as much of a right to be there as anyone, right?

There are, of course, multiple ways you can think of this.

On the one hand, you paid money to get in, and the ticket price included the opportunities to sit/stand anywhere available at the time of your entry. Those are the rights involved in buying a ticket: you buy it, you get to sit wherever you want. On this way of thinking about it, you have no obligations to anyone but the venue-owners who get your ticket money.

On the other hand, you are aware that your extreme height makes it more difficult for the people around you to enjoy the show. And you, as a caring and sympathetic individual, want to avoid making the people around you unhappy. Because you sat at the very front of the theater, you made some people more unhappy than fair, given that they didn't get the full experience they wanted. On this way of thinking about it, even if you don't have an obligation to not sit in the front, it is at least morally preferable for you to sit elsewhere.

So... Which way should you go? Well, it seems like, in real life, it's best to try to find a compromise between the two extremes. Most of the time, it seems as though it would be kind and generous of you to try to avoid sitting front and center at concerts. But since this concert apparently mattered quite a bit to you (and you were there with friends, who I'm guessing aren't as tall), this may have been an occasion where sticking with your rights mattered more to you than going out of your way to be kind and generous. It may have sucked for the people behind you, but it also sucks that they decided to yell at you instead of ask kindly for you to move.

What I'd suggest overall is that, most of the time, try to avoid sitting front and center, out of kindness. This will be virtuous behavior. But, in situations where the benefits to you getting to sit front and center greatly outweigh the value of being kind, appreciate you have the right to sit where you want. In the end, it's up to you to decide how important being kind is to you in any particular situation.
posted by meese at 8:59 AM on September 27, 2010

If you're there by yourself or your friends are equally tall, I could see other people being justifiably upset. But for example, as somebody who's 6'1", I'm not going to apologize for standing closer to the front with my much shorter wife. People will still complain, sure, but being an asshole about it is totally out of line.
posted by kmz at 9:02 AM on September 27, 2010

You are not an asshole. I haven't been to a standing only event in a while, but as a fellow tall person, I can commiserate with people making me feel like crap for sitting in front of them and ruining their view (theaters mostly). I can only slouch so much when my knees are already pinned against the seat in front of me.

What is unfair in this situation is that you were not attending alone. So, are you supposed to leave your friends and stand alone in the back by yourself while your friends enjoy the concert up front? Or should they be punished and have to stand in the back where they can't see because they are friends with a tall person? Your fellow concertgoers need to suck it up and realize you can't help your tall genes any more than they can help their short ones.
posted by cecic at 9:06 AM on September 27, 2010

You can stand anywhere you want. If you really want to be considerate though, think about offering to let some Very Small People stand directly in front of you if they somehow get stuck behind you and can't maneuver to one side or the other of you. As a Very Short Person myself, I'll occasionally ask a tall person at a concert for a band I really love if they wouldn't mind if I just stood directly in front of them, so they could see straight over my head and I'd still be able to see the band.
posted by booknerd at 9:09 AM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

Nthing kmz and cedic. It's not as easy as "Oh, I'll just stand to the side" when you are a tall person attending a concert with shorter friends. Stand where you want to stand, and let other people find their own sight-lines.
posted by donajo at 9:11 AM on September 27, 2010

I am taller than average but not nearly as tall as you (6'2"). The only behavior that I change is that I am not very aggressive at moving up in the crowd if I think I will block someone else's view by doing so. But if I showed up early, I wouldn't feel the need to stand to the side just because. It's their choice to stand right behind you. If someone asks nicely, I'll let them go in front of me.
posted by grouse at 9:11 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

This is my strategy -- I stake out the spot that I'd like to have up front. People who are shorter than me and who are polite and friendly, I offer them the option to move in front of me if they'd like to. People who are assholes or otherwise engage in douchebaggy behavior get no such offer. After a little bit of time, it all sorts itself out.
posted by spilon at 9:12 AM on September 27, 2010 [4 favorites]

Every tall woman I know feels guilty about standing anywhere near the front, definitely nowhere near the center. Even if she gets there early, even if it's her favorite band.

No tall man I know thinks that.

Broad generalization - women are strongly socialized to care, a lot, about how their actions impact other people, while men are not.

My basic request to you or anyone like you is to just BE AWARE. I once watched a guy walk over at the last minute and stand RIGHT IN FRONT of my friend who is barely 5'. The spot in front of her was NOT the only spot available for him to stand in. It was like she had a homing beacon attached to her. I tapped him on the shoulder and asked if he could stand in front of me or Mr. M. and he got all pissy until he turned around and saw that he was literally standing on top of someone who could not see anything.

Just be aware, be kind, try not to be a dick.

And don't stand in front of the soundboard or they will move you.
posted by micawber at 9:13 AM on September 27, 2010 [10 favorites]

Man, I feel your pain. 6'5" active concert-goer here. My favorite venues are the ones with bars near the stage. I'm a hearty drinker and a good tipper, and the bartender isn't there to see the show, so everyone wins if I can get a spot where the bartender's view is the only one obstructed. IOTA and 9:30 Club in DC are my favorites.

But, yeah, "If they wanted to see well they'd have shown up early too." No one has the right to come in late then try to work his way up to the front of the crowd. The person who has a right to his spot is the one who gets there early enough to grab it, like you did.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:13 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I recently attended a show that was standing-room only, set on a flat, gravel surface. So, no graduated flooring so the back rows could see over the heads in front of them. We ended up getting really near the front, but there was a guy about 8 inches taller than me right in front of me. I very nicely said, "Hey, um, I'm short [I'm 5'3"]; would you mind switching spots with me?" and he responded very kindly in return and switched spots. I would never get angry with a tall person for simply existing in front of me and I've had to deal with this for all of my adult life.

You can't help being tall, short people can't help being short. If it's at all possible, my 6'2" husband stands to the side, but really, you can do whatever you want! In response to the rude people behind you, I would have killed them with kindness. "Hey, would you like me to take some photos for you?" or "If I could shrink, I so totally would!"
posted by cooker girl at 9:14 AM on September 27, 2010

I don't think you should feel obligated to stand to the side or in the back. I would have been stuck behind you too, but you're only one person and I can scoot a little to the right or left to see around you. So can everyone else.

I don't see how the advice to move a few rows back would make a difference, as it would just be people in rows 6 and 7 who are pissed, instead of people in rows 2 and 3.

Punchtothehead has a good point, in that you might want to do something different if what you're doing ruins your own experience. You can't control other people, and all that.
posted by headnsouth at 9:16 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you stand a few rows back to let shorter people see, then logically the only polite place for the tall people to stand is right at the back.

My logic is: if you get there first and stand at the front, you get to stand at the front. Want to be at the front without tall people in the way? Get there earlier and claim your spot near the front.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:18 AM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

We got there very early, as it was sold out and ended up front and center

I think this makes all the difference in this case. Shorties coulda gotten there early to snag better seats. They didn't. As a result, they had to stand behind somebody tall. Next time, they'll probably show up earlier.
posted by pecanpies at 9:21 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

6-foot-4 here.

If I can reasonably see while standing behind someone, I will always do so. Just as I would open a door for someone in a wheelchair, because I can do something they can't and make their life a teensy bit more rewarding. I find it makes my life more rewarding, too, and hopefully the dharma wheel will eventually spin my way when I really need it.

Maybe that makes me just an overgrown Boy Scout, but such is life.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:22 AM on September 27, 2010 [8 favorites]

The only times I'm irritated with people taller than me at shows is when they've elbowed their way in front of me. And then spend the whole show talking.

If I really really want to see (and not just hear) the act, I get to the venue early enough to either snag a stageside spot or a seat (in the balcony/mezzanine) where I'll be able to see. I've also found that a polite "Hey, do you mine if I squeeze in front of you? I can't see anything!" usually works.
posted by rtha at 9:23 AM on September 27, 2010

My spouse and I are not quite that tall - 6'0" and 5'8" respectively. Here are the general rules we follow:

(1) Be conscious of those you move to stand in front of. Don't move to stand directly in front of someone shorter than you.
(2) If someone shorter asks politely to move in front of you, be generous.

Otherwise, it seems like you're pretty much in the clear. If there was no one behind you when you arrived, then the people who stood behind you did so knowing how tall you were. If you, like, left to get a beer or something and people arrived in the mean time, it might have been polite to remain nearer to one side or to the rear.

If people are dicks to me at a concert, I graciously allow them my space and then get right up behind them so they don't really have any room to shift around.
posted by muddgirl at 9:25 AM on September 27, 2010

I am short. I went to an outdoor movie the other night and sat on a bench where I didn't have much room to move around. Then during the movie a tall couple sat down in front of me, but on folding chairs that they could easily have moved a bit to the left or right. I wish they had just taken a second to look behind them to see if they were blocking someone's view. Instead, I ended up having to go sit on the ground off to the side where I could see the movie.

It's true I could have tapped one of them on the shoulder and politely asked them to scootch a little, and sometimes I would do that, but for whatever reasons I didn't feel comfortable being that person that night.
posted by serazin at 9:26 AM on September 27, 2010 [5 favorites]

Unless venues are going to decide to always arrange people by height, then what are you supposed to do -- stand at the very back out of default?

If a shorter person can't see well, there are graceful ways of them handling the situation -- including asking you (politely) to adjust or switch with them. If I were you (and I often am) I would just enjoy myself the best I can and try to be understanding if someone approaches me with an issue. If strangers use rudeness or intimidation to try and get me to do something, feel free to ignore them.

I was at a concert recently where this short-ish woman just started griping loudly, "All I can see is BACKS!" in a way that was clearly meant to shame the tall ones into moving. Didn't work. Same with shorties who just decide to try and squeeze through. Treat me like more than just a telephone pole and I'll treat you like more than just a termite.
posted by hermitosis at 9:26 AM on September 27, 2010 [4 favorites]

I have never, in a lifetime of going to shows in NYC, had someone respond negatively if I've said something like "Hey, I can't really see - mind if I move this way a little?" You obviously have a right to be where you like, especially if you waited, but shorter folks like myself really, really appreciate a little strategic repositioning. Even the super-tall tourist guy who was directly in front of me at the Pet Shop Boys show last summer WITH HIS CELL PHONE CAMERA UP THE WHOLE TIME (ugh) was pretty cool when I told him that was tripping me out. It's probably mainly about the delivery. I'm sorry you got treated dickishly.
posted by mintcake! at 9:28 AM on September 27, 2010

I have a 6'9" friend with whom I have attended several GA Grateful Dead shows. We stand wherever we would otherwise if he were merely 6' tall. There seems to be a dead zone (no pun intended) wake behind him for a few people deep where no on stands behind him. I have seen people come up to him and ask for him to take pictures because he was able to get a much better shot and even one short girl who asked to go on his shoulders (he obliged for a few minutes). I know when I want a good seat or a good place to stand, I get there early.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:28 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm 5'0, and one of the many wonderful things that comes along with that (right after flight attendants thinking I'm an unaccompanied minor) is that people never see me. By that, I mean that a lot of people don't notice I exist until they walk directly into me. At this point, I'm used to not seeing anything at concerts. I take that into consideration before spending money on tickets, and don't make a fuss about it when I'm seeing some dude's back instead of real live musicians. I'm usually with friends (some of whom are tall themselves), so I'm not going to push up to the front or make some poor tall guy stand behind all of us.

Still, the rare occasions when a tall (or regular-sized) person looks around and moves over a few inches before parking him/herself right in front of me are REALLY, really nice. You don't have to stand in the back of the room, but being considerate is nice. Be nice.
posted by oinopaponton at 9:36 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm not as tall as you (6'4"-6'5"ish) but at standing venues I try and make sure I'm not blocking views, it helps that I'd much rather have something to lean on so it's not always a big hardship. I'm more used to seated venues being allocated seating though in cinemas I do make an effort to being a close to front and center as possible, then slouch down.

A slight aside but I used to cross paths with someone who would turn up to gigs carrying a crate to stand on.
posted by tallus at 9:39 AM on September 27, 2010

I am 4'10". I stopped going to big shows that were standing room only in college unless I could get there immediately at door opening and be the very first person in, and even then, I would STILL get tall/large people like yourself who would use their larger personal bubble to jostle me right out of the spot I was in. Yes, you have every right to be there especially if you bothered to get there early, but please look out for people like me. Don't stand right in front of us no matter where you are in the crowd. If you got there first, fine, but if you're pushing your way in somewhere, I will give you the stink eye if you happen to stand in front of me, because chances are I have very carefully selected an opening between people's shoulders and heads that gives me a decent line of sight to the stage. If you come mess that up for me, my whole show is ruined. Feel free to stand in front as long as you're not being that guy who pushes up there halfway through, and if you do have to move mid-show, be mindful that you are probably ruining the line of sight of a dozen people, so get yourself off to the side if you can.
posted by slow graffiti at 9:42 AM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

This all just combined to make me lose sympathy and be angry right back at them, but we basically managed to ruin each other's concert experience.

The shorter person's concert experience was already ruined before you said anything nasty to them, because they couldn't see anything. Stand to the side; you can still see if you get there later than them; they are screwed if they get there 30 seconds later than you. Thought experiment: is it OK for you to stand in front of someone in a wheelchair because you got there first?
posted by desjardins at 9:59 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm reasonably tall and am somewhat wide across the shoulders. If there is a column, I stand in front of it, since it is already blocking someone's view. Otherwise, my basic strategy has been to, in every venue I frequent, locate a place where I can sit and slouch so as to not be in anybody's way. Then I pull out my binoculars (or opera glasses) and get the close-up view that way. One of my favorite venues has a series of long bars around the main "pit" floor. You can sit on stools against the bar or at the tables behind the bars and see right over the people in the pit. I get to the show early and am usually one of the first twenty people in so I can arrange it not to obscure anyone's line of sight but I can still see what I want to see with the optics.

Then all of the 5'2" women rush up to the bar and stand there, waving their arms around, obscuring the views of people at the tables anyway. That's led me to the conclusion that I am not so much "solving" the problem of people's show access so much as avoiding becoming a lightning rod for people who want a good view. You are the tallest poppy, I'm afraid.
posted by adipocere at 10:08 AM on September 27, 2010

desjardins, if there were no opportunity to stand off to the side ("Now, I normally DO try to at least be off to one side if I'm going to be in front, but it was crowded and we ended up in the middle"), there would be no other option but to slink to the back of the crowd? This can't really be what you think.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:10 AM on September 27, 2010

As a shorter person I will say this: Yes, you have a right to do as you wish. You can drive your slow car on a two lane highway with 10 cars stuck behind and never pull over so anyone can pass you---ha! you got there first! You can wear an SS officer's uniform on a Sunday stroll. But then, in these cases, people also have a right to yell at you and tell you you're being an ass. Or silently think it and just not like you. Imagine that next time you're at a concert that the person standing front row center is dressed as a huge Wooky?---and could take off the giant head but just didn't bother?

Being so tall gives you options. You can stand many rows back and still see the show. Short people pretty much have to be smack up front every single time, and then firmly stand our ground as people (guys, usually) try to elbow us aside, unless we want to spend the evening in a dark tunnel of jackets. So yeah, if I put the effort in and get close to the stage I get pretty frustrated if some 6'4" dude is standing front and center.

Basically, is the most important thing at a concert to claim all your "rights"? Aren't you there to have fun? What if you met someone nice at the break, and then their friend leans in and whispers to him/her, "Don't talk to him, he's the ass blocking everyone's view!" Being considerate by standing off to the side makes you the cool guy who gets asked out for a beer after the show.
posted by tula at 10:31 AM on September 27, 2010 [7 favorites]

Depends. Do you think short people in an airplane have an obligation not to lean their seats back in front of you in order to afford you the maximum comfort?
posted by olinerd at 10:33 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Do you think short people in an airplane have an obligation not to lean their seats back in front of you in order to afford you the maximum comfort?

That's an entirely separate conversation, but as a tall person, I would say no, they have no such obligation.
posted by grouse at 10:37 AM on September 27, 2010

Most people get to concerts early to snag the front row so that they'll be able to see. You, however, can see no matter where you're standing. It isn't really 100% fair to you (you didn't choose to be so tall, after all), but if you stand off to the side, your concert experience might be 9.5/10 rather than 10/10, whereas standing dead center in the front row will totally ruin the concert for many people.
posted by tomtheblackbear at 10:43 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I don't know man - you are TALL. Not just 6.3 or something - 6.8, 6.9? That's huge. You are blocking a ton of people, no matter what.

Think about the fact that when you go to a show, you are more or less there with a group of like-minded folk - in the sense that they care enough about the music to hear it live. So, we kind of all want to get along, and don't you hate shows where everyone in an area is irritated with you, or you with them?

Just stand in the back, or at the side. If you are at a crowded, standing room venue, I'd venture to bet its a small enough space that you can see no matter where you stand.
posted by RajahKing at 10:48 AM on September 27, 2010

I think the thing most people aren't considering is that he wants to enjoy the show with his group of friends instead of alone in the corner. I guess they could go elsewhere with him but then he's affecting the view of people he actually cares about compared to some stranger.

The whole people yelling at you thing makes it unpleasant though so maybe you'll want to try to convince your friends to at least go to side stage with you. Otherwise, since you were planted there early and didn't do a last minute rush, I would say fuck 'em.
Life is too short to always be wondering if the most benign actions (like just standing there) are making someone feel less than optimal. In my opinion, it's the responsibility of the 5ft tall people to get there early so they know they can have a spot to see.
posted by zephyr_words at 10:48 AM on September 27, 2010

Thought experiment: is it OK for you to stand in front of someone in a wheelchair because you got there first?

Thought experiment: Would it be OK to scream, "Get out of the road, fatso, you're taking up two spaces!" to an obese person? Should obese people be banished to the back and sides of every venue to they don't use up too much space?
posted by rodgerd at 10:55 AM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

Where does it end? If it's not a bother for a tall person to move 3-4 rows back, then you'll block more views - and be asked to move 3-4 rows back until you're in the lobby.

Get there when you can, stand in one place, and try not to move around a lot. That way others behind you can get situated and don't have to keep adjusting. Oh, and don't wear a hat!

I'm 6'4" and my wife is 5'4" - and I always stand behind her in the circumstances described by the OP, or we switch seats, if applicable, so she has the better view (and I slouch when I can).

Yes, there are people that care about folks behind; my favorite seating location is on the aisle.
posted by Man with Lantern at 10:58 AM on September 27, 2010

What do you do at concerts?

I stand front and center, then let shorter people move in front of me. Then I use the fact that I am both tall and nice to meet girls.
posted by nicwolff at 10:58 AM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

I'm very short and I don't think he did anything wrong here. It seems like it was on open standing show and that they were excited about the show and were there early enough to get front row center. I think those spots should go to people who are this excited about the show and get there early. Since they were there ahead of everyone else behind them could set themselves up to look around him.

I've had great luck getting tall people to let me stand in front of them by being polite and I've also let people squeeze next to me too if they are nice. I frequently end up in a pod of short people I don't know and I'm fine with that. For some shows I'm happy to just hear the music and don't NEED to see the stage so I just hang out at the back. You could do that sometimes if you're at a show that you're less excited about.

Obviously if there's a wheelchair - everyone (not just the tall) should let them get to a place where they can see. I'd never compare the difficulties of being short in a crowd to being in a chair.
posted by oneear at 11:05 AM on September 27, 2010

There are a lot of weird factors this particular show that made me feel bad. I had three friends who really liked the music, and I was mostly unfamiliar. Two of those friends are on the tall side of average, the other is 5'4''. I didn't want to move off to a side without my friends and they didn't want to move. If I let one person step in front of me, it's only logical that I should let EVERY person stand in front of me and end up in the very back, and that's not fair to me and definitely not to my friends.

When people got there, we all ended up sitting down. People finally stood up and my group got pushed into the center completely accidentally - I wanted to be not in the center. Anyway, in this situation I would definitely stand off to the side next time, but this question is more general and just backed up with the relevant story.

Oh, to further clarify, I never said anything to the people making me upset, they just made me feel upset/angry.

And I'm on my own on airplanes. And I hit my head a lot. And I can't ever be an astronaut. It's not all fun, games, and reaching stuff on the top shelf.
posted by papayaninja at 11:46 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I wouldn’t worry about it. I’m not very tall and it seems like there is always some tall person in front of me at shows. I might complain to myself that there’s always a tall guy in front of me, but It would never cross my mind that it was that person’s fault. If people were upset, that’s their own problem. They could get there earlier. I just think it’s really nice that you were conscious of other people around you.
posted by iscavenger at 12:01 PM on September 27, 2010

One other point I haven't seen another shorty make: If you are standing or sitting in front of a shorter person and counting on them to find their own sightlines around you, fer gawd's sake don't dance in place or shift around in your seat all the time. I can look around a tall person in front of me, but it's absolutely exhausting when they're doing their best imitation of a perpetual motion machine.
posted by DrGail at 12:43 PM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

Until the League of Fascist Midget Hipsters introduces some crazy height segregated system with crowd barriers (YOU MUST BE THIS SHORT TO ENTER SECTION A3), or we become utilitarian maximisers of total concert value utility capable of sorting ourselves by ascending height (bubble sort, though algorithmically inefficient, might be suited to such an environment), standing room concerts will continue to be kinda tricky.

If you're at a concert by yourself, and/or part of some hiveminded clone collective, you can reap the social benefits of moving backwards. If you're with friends or partners who are considerably shorter than you (q.v. Ms. Zamboni), then you're stuck in the uncomfortable position of trying to find a hypothetical position where they can see and you don't aggravate too many people. (No, DTMFA is not a suitable solution.)

For those in this sort of mixed arrangement, I recommend aiming for a position towards the side, but close enough in that your friend(s) can see. I'll usually move a couple of times, but mostly sideways. Aim for next to or in front of other tall people. Be friendly, try and accommodate people, but in the end, you're here to see the show, not bring about world peace.
posted by zamboni at 12:44 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

If I let one person step in front of me, it's only logical that I should let EVERY person stand in front of me and end up in the very back

You might instead take the stance that you should let those in front of you that ask nicely. Very few will do so, so you don't need to worry about ending up at the back this way.
posted by grouse at 12:44 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm 5'4" and accept that tall people will be in front of me during concerts. All I ask is that you please, dear god, do not dance, sway, or otherwise rhythmically shift side-to-side to the music. My coping technique is to get a line of sight between tall people (specifically between their heads) and any vigorous shifting makes it impossible for me to work around your height.
posted by kitkatcathy at 12:55 PM on September 27, 2010 [5 favorites]

I am a short girl.

The rest of you shorties? Quit your whining! If you want to see, GET YOUR ASS IN LINE EARLY AND GET RAIL.

It's that easy.

I just don't feel that bad for you. Or myself. If that person had decided to wait in line as to get close to the stage, then they have the right to stand there. If I want that position, then I also have the right to show up early. And even if I am not right at rail, and a tall person tries to push in front of me at the last minute...I've never once had a person not back down and move away from in front of me when I call them out on it. Because that's the trick; they're not used to being called out of their rude budging behavior.

But anyway, if the person in front of me is, say, 5 foot 8....that's tall enough to block me from seeing. Well, it's up to me to find a place to watch the show. I've never not been able to see a show. I've just sometimes not been able to see the show from the spot I wanted to see it from, unobstructed. So I found a new spot.

So it goes.
posted by Windigo at 1:31 PM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

punchtothehead: "As an aside: I can't believe people would react like that. When a taller person stands in front of me at a concert, I...move a little to the side. Sheesh"

This. The people behind you that were being obnoxious are the type of people that are going to be obnoxious no matter what. If you can't see, move. It's not hard. You were fine, stand wherever you want to.

If someone behind you can't for the life of them figure out how to get around a one-person-wide obstacle, they have bigger problems than your height to deal with.
posted by xedrik at 1:36 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm 5'8" female.
and there's always going to be someone taller than me at a show.

I just move over a little.

If there's someone that's YOUR height (uncommon), I would actually probably feel bad for you because I would assume there would be short people pissed off behind your back.

What do these people expect you to do? Stand 78 rows back because you're taller than everyone in there? Screw that.

Good advice from the person who said to see if you can locate a beam or something, though.

Keep standing wherever you want to stand!
It's not your fault you're tall!
posted by KogeLiz at 1:43 PM on September 27, 2010

Do what you can to accommodate people (like suggestions above), but you should have a good time too.
Get a tee shirt made that on the back says, "Sorry dude, can't help my height" or something similar and wear it to the concerts.
posted by NoraCharles at 2:23 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Relevant, I think, is the fact that you say you got there "very early" rather than just early. Before I turned old and grumpy, I showed up to concerts early. More than once, I was in the unpleasant position of showing up early, staking out a space very close to the front, and having a group of tall folks (who had been, say, sitting on the floor alongside me earlier), manage to end up right in front of me when the room got crowded. I'm just not very big and can't stake out space the way someone who takes up a lot of vertical room can. I'm also not going to actively shove someone over a foot and a half taller than me aside ("If someone behind you can't for the life of them figure out how to get around a one-person-wide obstacle"--seriously?!), because I'm not a jerk, and would rather not get beaten up. If you get there early, and see other, short peeps there fairly early, too, please be courteous and ask them if they'd like to get in front of you. That's not an unreasonable criteria for letting someone see what's going on, and it doesn't necessitate that you let everyone at the concert in front of you.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:26 PM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

If you can't see, move. It's not hard. You were fine, stand wherever you want to.

I'm not excusing rudeness -- it's never okay to be rude to someone for something they can't help -- but it's never that easy.

As a short person I'm resigned to the fact that for me, a concert is listening to good music while enjoying the back of peoples' heads. It's no one's fault, no one chooses their height. When you're a short person your experience consists of trying to find a window to be able to see any part of the stage. If someone just plops down in front of me and blocks that window, moving won't help. Plus when you're a small person you can't just elbow your way around wherever you want too easily.

Personally I never get mad at tall people at concerts. As long as they don't purposefully push their way right in front of me, it's okay. But it is awesome when someone goes out of their way to look behind them and make sure they're standing on me.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 2:30 PM on September 27, 2010

not, NOT standing on me.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 2:31 PM on September 27, 2010

I don't really like general admission/standing room concerts for this reason. I'm so short that I can pretty much never see anything, because even if I get there early, there will always be people who gravitate in front of me who are taller. If I'm not in the very front, I will see literally nothing except for backs the whole time, and it got so frustrating, I kind of gave up.

Since you are super tall, it probably would be nicer to stand off to the side, even if you end up not with your friends. I do this all the time at other events as my friends are taller than I am. They're tall and don't want to stand in front in everybody's way, but they know I don't have a chance anywhere else. You don't *have* to, but it seems like it's a difference of a slightly better view for you and any view at all for all the people behind you. (I wouldn't audibly grumble, but if I saw someone who was 6'9" was right in the front and center, I would probably think "wtf?" to myself.)

And, as other data points, I do not lean my seat back on planes when I'm seated in front of tall people and I always dibs the smallest backseat space of a car because my legs are short.
posted by wending my way at 3:16 PM on September 27, 2010

If you were there very early, then the short people must have chosen to be behind you, so it's ridiculous that they were then upset about the spot they chosen.
posted by Jacqueline at 3:31 PM on September 27, 2010

I'm 6'4". In general, I just try to be nice. I'm usually in the center of the back of the group closest to the stage. If someone asks nicely, I let them in front of me. It's really no skin off my back. Standing on the side isn't an option because the sound sucks.

If someone tries to push in front of me, I tell them to cut it out. If it's a band I'm really enthusiastic about, I still hang back, but get as close as I can for the encores, along with everyone else. Then again, if it's Neko and Kelly, I've been a fan longer than you and I've earned my spot and you can go pound sand.

In your situation, I don't get it. Were you looking the lead singer in the eye? If so, you should probably move. If you were looking at the singer's ankles, stay where you are.

If it just that the person behind you couldn't see the entire stage, they can shift to see what they want to see. Or they can ask nicely to get in front. If you were only 2" taller than them, how would you feel? They were behaving badly.

(Of note - being right next to the stage actually means that you're blocking less of the stage than you would if you were 10 feet back [think like a goalie]. )
posted by donpardo at 4:43 PM on September 27, 2010

This reminds me of a show I went to a few months ago where I (at 5'0") had spent a ridiculously long amount of time watching two very obnoxious opening acts pretty much in the center of the floor, about 10 "rows" back. The main act was about to come on and these big, tall guys come drunkenly pushing their way through the crowd to stand about 2 feet in front of me. That sucked, really bad. I wouldn't have gone so far as to say rude things to them (not that they could hear if I did anyway), but c'mon. You get there late and you waltz up to the front of the crowd and stand directly in front of a bunch of people? Not cool.
posted by eldiem at 8:44 PM on September 27, 2010

I have the short-person version of this dilemma: should I fully recline my seat on a plane, being 5'2, when someone who is 6'8 is behind me? I have as much right as the next person to fully recline my seat, and it is not my fault that, being small, I therefore end up more comfortable than someone else (ie. you). How would you want me to treat you in that situation? That may be your answer for how you behave at a concert.
posted by AnnaRat at 10:03 PM on September 27, 2010

I'm 5'1" and while I have had the "overly tall person stands in front of me," I've also found that people don't care when I just move past everyone to get to the front when I can't see. There's usually a cluster of other short people up there too. My suggestion would be to stand wherever you like, but not put up a fuss if a shorter person slips past you. If you're with a short friend stand near the front and let them stand directly in front of you. Works for both people.

If you can physically do this, another cool option is to stand in the very back so you're not blocking anyone's view and pick shorter friend up to give them an amazing view of the concert. Only works if you aren't there with other friends who don't want to stand in back but I've had this happen and it's super-nice.
posted by biochemist at 3:43 PM on October 6, 2010

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