IQ-tips: remote control etiquette

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My wife and I were fighting over the remote the other night—literally fighting—when it flew out of our grips and went sailing across the room, nearly destroying a ceramic baby rattle from about 350 B.C., which someone had once given me as a present.

After wiping my brow and turning the remote over to her so she could watch her stupid show (and what other adjective could be used to describe the "other" person's show but stupid?) I decided to hunt around online for some etiquette tips we could agree on, laminate, and keep on our Noguchi coffee table (knock-off, of course) for the next round.

Not only did I find some tips worthy of lamination from this great article over at the BBC, but just look at the contributors! ("10 tips" found after the jump.) As always, if you have any remote control etiquette tips of your own to add, we're always happy to hear from you.

New research suggests men are still hogging the television remote control - 41% of men and 30% of women claim to rule the sofa entertainment, says a poll by Intel. We asked some etiquette experts what the rules are on button-hogging.

1. Letitia Baldrige, author and lecturer on manners says: The first rule of politeness is "No Quick Changes". The remote-controller who speeds through a hundred channels without even one breathless pause in one minute has committed a social crime, worthy of being remote-deprived for the rest of the of the social hour. People should be allowed to at least know what program is being rejected by the controller.

2. Mr. Manners of Tomorrow's News says: Do not hide the remote control when you are going to the bathroom. This overt power play is sure to offend your female companion.

3. Lynne Truss, author of Eats, Shoots and Leaves says" It's only when women are widowed that they discover there's such a thing as a remote control and they find all kinds of things that are on television, like musicals as well as westerns. If you can't agree with your partner what to watch, then split up immediately because it can't be resolved.

4. Letitia Baldrige adds: If there's someone in the room who is about to appear on the television himself or herself- a performer, politician, quiz show contestant or felon caught in the act by police - they get priority.

5. Writer and broadcaster Marcelle D'Argy Smith says: Buy two televisions or do without the man. No woman who can squeeze into a pair of trousers should be with a man who hogs the remote. It's emotional violence and mental cruelty. It means your life is not under your control. I don't want to control a man but neither do I want to be controlled.

6. Letitia Baldrige adds: Men present in the TV room may well lobby for a girly-girly show, such as a big bosoms contest, but their choices may be rejected simply by the numerical strength of the women present. Democracy is a human right which overshadows an individual's right to watch beauty pageants.

7. Peter Post, author of Essential Manners for Men: What to Do, When to Do It and Why says: When you do share the remote, remember this is a risky strategy, because you've got to be prepared for those times when the other person actually does take control. The upside is that this approach puts a stop to any arguing.

8. Letitia Baldrige adds: Sports-mad viewers should be given their own TV set - in an out-of-the-way place in the house, such as the kitchen or a bathroom - where they can remain undisturbed and undisturbing to others while watching the game.

9. Letitia Baldrige again: People on diets should be allowed to veto the watching of cooking shows.

10. Lynne Truss adds: Agree with each other and say "let's look through what's on". The problem with that is the man usually just goes ahead anyway.

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November 8, 2006 - 5:04am
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