I’ll never forget the first time I went to a movie by myself. It was about two years ago, I had a job that involved working weekends with Mondays and Thursdays off. Basically all of my free time was on days when all of my friends were cooped up in their offices all day, so I was booooored.
One day I realized that I hadn’t been to a movie in months, something that seemed almost unimaginable to me. After a few days of giving myself pep talks and working up the courage, I finally did it. I walked (terrified) into a movie theater (not my usual theater of course, I couldn’t risk someone recognizing me), bought one ticket to Act of Valor, and hurried to find a seat before anyone noticed that I was alone. I was too nervous to even stop at the concession stand and I ALWAYS do that. My heart continued to pound until the previews began and I could disappear under the dimmed lights.
All of those years I thought it must be so sad to go to a movie by yourself. In fact I used to tease my dad mercilessly about his solo movie trips when I was a kid. I thought everyone would stare at me, feel sorry for the girl that didn’t have any friends to go see a movie with. And then of course there were the logistical concerns. Who would watch my stuff or save my seat if I had to go to the bathroom? Hold my drink when I stopped to put butter on my popcorn? Tell me what that guy just said when I inevitably missed a mumbled line of dialogue? You can imagine my shock when none of these imagined problems actually came to pass.
I was surprised that I had survived my first time going to the movies alone. I was even more surprised when I finally admitted to myself that I had enjoyed it. I realized there’s nothing more relaxing than sitting in a dark theater for a couple of hours on a random afternoon without having to make small talk with anyone. And walking to my car after the movie without the obligatory “so what did you think” conversation? What a relief!
Though it admittedly took several more months before I worked up the courage to go by myself on a Friday or Saturday night, ever since that fateful day solo trips have become my preferred method of movie viewing. It’s not that I don’t like going to movies with friends. Sometimes there’s nothing better than going to a midnight premiere with Ash, and then spending the next day texting each other about how we’re too old for that shit. Or when the newest dumb comedy comes out (you know the one, usually Seth Rogen is in it) I have to see that with the friends with whom the quotes will be flying for the next 3 months. But most of the time, I’d rather just do my own thing. And not having to pick a time several days in advance, crossing my fingers that at go-time I’ll actually feel like going to a movie? Huge bonus.
So that’s how I found myself wearing sweatpants and sitting in a packed theater Sunday morning, waiting for Guardians of the Galaxy to start and briefly chatting with the new friends on either side of me, both also solo movie-goers. (That’s another thing I’ve noticed since becoming a connoisseur of the loner movie trip, there’s a lot of us out there!) I loved Guardians, I knew I would, but I think I loved it just a little bit more because I saw it by myself.
I know it’s probably not for everyone. But for an introvert forced to live in an endlessly social world, those 2 hours in a dark theater are a miracle for me. And since apparently no one believes me when I say I went to bed at 9pm, it’s the only time I have a valid excuse to not respond to a text message right away.
If you’ve never done it, I recommend you give it a shot. Just buy a ticket and pick a seat, I promise it’s not nearly as scary as it seems! Already a fan? Let me know what you love about it. And maybe I’ll see you at the movies!