Dear Seeing a Movie Alone,
Well. Another adventure in the life of being a single, living-alone adult. Or maybe just in being an adult. Or maybe just in being a human. Other adventures to be found here, here, aaaaaaand here. Oddly enough, all seem to have to do with eating alone. We’ll explore that later.
But today! Today, I decided to go see a movie alone. It was a gray day this morning, and a holiday, and so nothing was open: and by nothing I don’t know what I mean, plenty of things actually were open today. But I decided it was a movie day. And I decided that I would go see An Education because nothing else looked good and it is playing at the little indie arthouse theater next to me which is actually just the second floor of a very pink bourgeois shopping center that mostly struggles to contain a massive 24 Hour Fitness. I did not want to see An Education. But the reviews are so good and ugh.
Anyway, both of all of the 2 people I could think of to call were busy. So I decided to do it. I am going to do this, I thought. I am going to go see a movie alone today. It was a brave move, considering. It’s been an empty couple of days here, a bad week last week, a lonely run of nights watching VHS’s in my apartment alone. (Yes! I still have a VHS player! Yes! The thrift store down the street sells VHS tapes for $2. Yes! I did buy Top Gun and Hook and A League of Their Own and The People vs. Larry Flynt.)
So I put on the one dress I own from Paris, because I thought that might help– isn’t going to see movies alone something people do in Paris? Possibly Parisians? Well, David Sedaris does it in Me Talk Pretty One Day and I stand by my choice of dress. And I put on my red boots (you know, the ones that make everything better). I made myself a chicken sandwich with garlic mayonnaise and I put on the radio and I listened to Aretha Franklin sing RESPECT because that was on the radio and I did the dishes and I put on my favorite cozy gray sweater over my one dress from Paris and I tapped my red boots and I almost went back for my raincoat because it was a rather gray day but I left without it (this will become important).
To tell you the truth, I almost didn’t go. I almost turned around and went back inside my little apartment and put another VHS in and curled up in the armchair I had been in all morning. The only reason I went, to be honest, is because I had already started writing this letter in my head, and if I didn’t go, I did not feel I could rightfully write this letter.
There was a long line, and a little theater with a little screen, and it slowly filled up with people as the previews ran their artsy indie preview-selves, as in keeping with the movie I was about to see. And the movie I saw was good and deserved its good reviews and I highly recommend it.
I am not, however, going to tell you to go see a movie alone. It’s a personal choice. And, personally, I like to talk during movies (I know; I know). This is frowned upon in theaters no matter what, but especially so if you are alone. In fact, talking when you are alone is generally frowned upon in most places. And the fact of the matter is, while I still cringed and hid my eyes in the awkward places, there wasn’t a shoulder there next to me to hid my eyes behind (I’m a very interactive movie watcher. Deal with it).
No. You know what? I am going to tell you to do it. Go see a movie by yourself. Whether or not you have someone to go with you. Because, like eating dinner alone, and living alone, and moving to a new city, or learning how to cook, or learning how to play an instrument, there is power in the knowing that it can be done. Perhaps not always with great joy or ease, but it can be done and what’s more, I am a person who can do it (you can too).
And if, by chance, the slightly gray day has turned into a monsoon (the way that only Southern California in an El Nino year can monsoon) by the time you come out of the movie, and you did not take your raincoat with you at the last minute, and you have to run the three blocks home, literally jumping over puddles because they are actually rivers not puddles, while some man watches you and laughs as he smokes a cigarette under dry cover, and you are so wet by the time you arrive home there is nothing to do but take off everything you are wearing and swap it for PJs and a cup of tea and bless the fact that your windows were already closed— well then, all the better.
Have a cookie while you’re at it, to reward yourself.
PS– Look! I didn’t make some lame joke about how seeing the movie An Education was an education in and of itself. Ha! …..Oh wait….damn. So close.