I’m an only child, which means I grew up doing a lot of things by myself: dressing up my cats, rocking out to Amy Grant in my bedroom, playing The Game of Life. Though I no longer force my cat to wear the tiny clothing designed for my American Girl doll, I am still most comfortable in my own company.
In keeping with my affinity for aloneness, I happen to feel unabashedly unashamed of going to the movies alone, but I recognize that others are more self-conscious about it. Given my apparently unique level of comfort with this loner activity, I’ve put together a brief instruction guide to help ease all you would-be solo cinema-goers into a life of unaccompanied movie-watching.
- Arrive early but not too early. Do not be late. The more inconspicuous you are, the less awkward you’ll feel. Nothing screams “HI, I’M HERE BY MYSELF!” like being the first person sitting in the theater. Similarly, shuffling past half a dozen seated, popcorn-eating folks to get to the only open seat in the theater is a surefire way to call attention to yourself (and also to annoy every single person seated in your row).
- Keep your weird noises to yourself. I have one friend (please take a moment to consider whether I’m talking about you) who reacts to every little thing in a movie with variations on the sound “huh.” Sometimes it’s a laughing “huh!” and other times it’s a sad-sounding “huhhh.” Such constant noise-making, however inadvertent, serves as a terrible distraction to fellow movie-goers. If you cannot refrain from huh-ing/grunting/sighing/chuckling/talking, solo movie-going is not for you. In fact, no sort of movie-going is for you. Invest in Netflix and watch your movies in the comfort of your own living room, where you’re free to make whatever sounds you like without disturbing the peace.
- Stay away from animal movies, unless they are animated. The first time I saw a movie by myself, I was a junior in college, depressed & bored. I chose an admittedly cheesy/weepy/ridiculous movie, the dog-themed drama Because of Winn-Dixie co-starring an adorable mutt and a not-great-at-acting Dave Matthews, which amused my friends to no end. More than a decade later, they still tease me about it, because there is just something terribly sad about seeing an animal movie by yourself. I do not have an explanation for this. Just trust me.
- Pick movies with generic plots. This goes back to the animal rule: If a movie is too heavy, you will wish you had someone to break down to. If a movie is too complicated, you will wish you had someone to clarify questions with. If a movie is too freaking awesome, you will wish you had someone to high five. Therefore, I suggest relatively emotion-free films, such as superhero flicks, rom-coms, and action movies. They’re almost guaranteed not to require the input of a fellow movie-goer – or any brain cell usage whatsoever.
- If you’re planning to show-hop, dress like a chameleon. Depending on the set-up of your local theater, it may be easy to pay for one show and slip into another afterward (even though you shouldn’t do that because it’s illegal, OK?!?!). Still, if you plan to do this, you should also plan for the worst-case scenario, which is that theater employees may recognize you. To prevent this, wear layers. This way, you’ll be wearing a totally different outfit from one show to the next. “No, no, my identical twin saw Divergent alone right before me, I swear!”
- Above all, be confident. Remember: Seeing a movie alone in a theater is no different than watching a movie alone in your home, except that it’s against the law for you not to wear pants & it’s more likely that you’ll end up scarfing corndog nuggets & Sour Patch Kids. The truth shall set you free & encourage you to see movies alone: No one cares who you’re there with or that you’re there at all. So hold your head high as you slink into the movies unseen & unjudged. Enjoy the popcorn & lemme know how the movie is.
Featured image via Shuttershock