Blur the Line

sin-chronicles-volume-7

It was another slow Thursday at SIN punctuated by a large group that was a mix of elementary aged children and young teenagers. Their reactions ranged from amused to frightened and that’s about how it should be in a group that size. One of the poor kids dropped a $20 somewhere in the attraction and by chance I spotted it under the black light of haunt zero. Vermin may be a creep but he’s an honest creep.

I ran all of my usual bits inside and outside of the haunted attraction, without incident. It was a fairly uneventful night by haunted house standards, but one passerby made sure that it wouldn’t stay that way. I had a message from the chairperson of the haunted house this morning which stated that a complaint had been made about Vermin. I often wander outside of the haunted house when it is slow or dead to interact with people who happen to walk by the haunted house and tempt them into buying a ticket. One of my standard bits is to simply say, “Hello, what is your name?” Which is exactly what happened during the incident in question.

The pair of women who I judged to be in their early 20s never broke stride and when they were probably 10-15 feet away I called after them bemusedly, “What? Your mommas didn’t give you a name?” That was the end of the interaction, but in the age of social media things are easily and often exaggerated. Apparently, one of those young ladies was so unnerved she couldn’t get the moment out of her mind all night and characterized the figure in question (myself) as “rapey.” A flood of comments and laughable moral outrage ensued by a cavalcade of brave souls who weren’t even there to witness the non-event, of course.

There is without a doubt a fine line that haunt actors walk and I take pride in walking it very well. I read body language constantly and I have often backed off of a patron when they seemed indifferent or simply not into the experience. I understand that not everybody is in love with haunted houses like myself; a lot of people are dragged to these attractions by friends or significant others. I want them to have a fun experience and I want to enjoy my interaction with them. If that isn’t happening I move right along to the next person. But I’m not going to apologize for being effective in my role and I’m sure as hell not breaking character because someone fails to recognize context clues.

It’s October. You’re walking in front of a haunted house. Creepy guy. Funny accent. Yeah, context clues. Had I used profanity or been vulgar I’d understand the complaint. Had I invaded their personal space or blocked their path I’d understand the discomfort. But when the interaction outlined above is characterized as “rapey” it’s time for some people to be reminded of context clues and common sense. It’s also worth note that no one else, either inside or outside the haunted house has complained. Does the act creep some people out? Absolutely, that’s what it’s supposed to do. But if all you have is a strange looking guy outside of a known haunted attraction asking your name you don’t get to take to social media and stir up baseless faux-outrage. What you need to do is grow up.

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