October 18, 2012

Going To The Movies Alone Doesn’t Have To Suck

There’s a stigma around going to the movies alone. And I totally get it. Any human being with a pulse shudders at the thought of going to the movies as a party of one. And listen guys — I DON’T BLAME YOU. That shit is scary. Doing things alone can be terrifying, especially when your activity of choice is notorious for being, like, the date activity.

Theaters are often littered with couples, with packs of teenage girls, with cute families of four, with old people. The expectation is that you attend with at least one another person so that you can “share” in the “experience” together. But what if you don’t feel like calling up your girl friend to go see that new romcom where Ashton Kutcher plays himself again? Or what if you don’t feel like going on some awkward date to an independent theater where the boy you’re with doesn’t even offer to pay? What if all you want is a date with yourself? WHAT IF THEN.

I say, pick up the phone, call yourself up and ask yourself out! I bet you you’ll say yes. Screw the so-called “shame” in going alone. Don’t people know movie theaters are really dark? No one can even see you. Also, people are pretty self-absorbed and will be too nervous on their dates to even notice that you a) exist b) are there alone and c) are sobbing uncontrollably/audibly during the opening credits of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

You might feel a little anxious over the idea of actually going through with this. And that’s okay. That’s normal. But if you’re willing to set aside your fears, you too could get the chance to bask in the perks of riding solo. These perks include (but are not limited to) the little list below:

1. You can wear whatever the hell you want. You don’t feel like wearing jeans? You don’t feel like wearing pants in general? Well unless you’re looking to impress the 15-year-old dude working the snack counter, then you don’t need to worry about your movie ensemble. Remember that one time you stressed for two hours and changed six times before your last movie date? This is not that time. Hallelujah.

2. You don’t have that awkward “who is paying for this” moment. I HATE the whole “grab for your wallet and hope he stops you” act that often accompanies a movie date experience. It’s just… it’s stupid. I’d rather just pay for myself or, like, create a system where we alternate. Or better yet, arrange to have the tickets paid for and waiting for us upon arrival. Maybe you guys are used to your dates paying for you no problem. Maybe it’s always a seamless, lovely transaction where no one leaves embarrssed or uncomfortable. If so, mazel tov. But if you’re like me, all of this stresses you out, and it makes going stag to the movies that much more appealing.

3. You get to pick the snacks. And isn’t this the real reason we go to the movies anyways? I mean, I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely there for the $10 RedVines. Eating overpriced snacks makes me feel fancy. And when you’re the only one picking the snacks, you don’t have to hold back! You can buy the kiddie snack pack or like do something disgusting and order two hot dogs. The only person you’re going to embarrass is yourself, so you might as well live it up.

4. You don’t have to share. Thank God! I’m a passive aggressive sharer. Like, if I’m sharing Starbursts with a friend and they ask me if I want the last red one, I’m usually like, “Oh no, it’s totally fine. You can have it.” But really I’m thinking, “Bitch, is that even a question?!” And since being passive aggressive takes a lot out of me and the movies are supposed to be a low-energy activity, I’m always relieved when I can go alone and not worry about abiding by the snack sharing code of conduct. So go ahead, break the rules. Stick your entire hand into the barrel of popcorn, double dip your nachos, hog the Diet Coke, eat your M&Ms in rainbow order… this is your night to get crazy.

5. You get to eavesdrop. This is the main reason I do anything alone. Sometimes the most entertaining part of movie-going is that sweet window of time in between taking your seat and watching the first preview. Girlfriends gossip, old couples bicker, kids say inappropriate things, first daters make uncomfortable small talk. It’s heaven. And eavesdropping demands little to no effort on your end. How ideal!

6. You don’t have to rehash. Pretending to be a movie critic is draining. Sometimes all you want to do is escape for a few hours, sans the analyzing of Jake Gyllenhaal’s dramatic “range” or Anne Hathaway’s distracting white girl weave. Sometimes all you feel like doing is watching the movie and leaving it at that.

7. You can cry as much as you want and no one will think you’re crazy. Everyone needs a good cry. Some of us need them more often than others. Going to the movies can be a cathartic experience, one where you can draw parallels between your life and the lives of the characters on the screen and then proceed to express every emotion you’ve been suppressing since 2004. It’s like therapy, except way cheaper and with much more popcorn. TC mark

image – Shutterstock

Stephanie White

Stephanie White lives in New York City. She has curly hair and horrible handwriting.