Years ago I was staying after school but had late-night plans to meet friends at a downtown movie theater. I was going to catch a lift with my parents, watch the latest Bruce Willis blow-em-up, and then squeeze into my friend Mike’s rusty Saturn for the ride home.
Well, I got there late and the theater was already dark with hypnotic Fruitopia commercials playing as I walked in. I had no choice but to walk around whisper-yelling for a few minutes before eventually giving up and settling into a cozy seat at the back, figuring I’d find them after the show.
After the super slow-mo explosions faded into tearful hugs and scrolling credits the lights lifted up and my friends were nowhere to be seen. I felt like inventing a wireless telephone to send them electronic letters on the spot, but the network infrastructure just wasn’t ready. So I bundled up and walked home before sorting out the mixed up plans the next day.
And sure, it felt a bit strange sitting alone at the back of the movies for the first time, but you know what? It was pretty enjoyable too:
1. Dress down for Chinatown. When you’re chilling at home under the blanket you can relax in old sweats and classy bedhead, but when you’re on the town it’s time to squeeze into tight denim and well-coiffed hairdos. Now, when you’re hitting the multiplex solo you can fight the fashion police in your maroon nylon jumpsuit and tank top.
2. Bag the bucket. Enjoy the whole bucket of popcorn to yourself with worrying about getting stuck with the oily kernels and burnt bits at the bottom of the bag.
3. Kick open the escape hatch. When you’re lugging your baby brother to a Saturday afternoon cartoon or doing date night in a syrupy romcom that escape hatch is bolted on tight. But if you’re watching a movie alone and aren’t digging the flick you can just bail and see something else without guilt. Freedom is always nearby.
4. Squeeze into center seats. You know when you’re looking for seats in a crowded theater there’s never any twos or threes in the best spots? Well, there’s usually a single seat wedged in there! If you’re late just forget the front row and get into the game.
5. Invest in yourself. Because there’s something sweet about getting quality You Time. Sure, we’re social creatures who love dinner parties, basement hangouts, and constant texting… but it’s also good unplugging your brain and escaping into distant fantasy worlds on your own. No talking, no whispering, and plenty of armrests mean you can enjoy the solo trip.
Going to the movies by yourself is about growing up and growing older and growing more comfortable in your own skin. It fills you with the freedom of just being yourself and letting everything else just slip away …