A man getting dramatically rejected for a kiss by a woman in a movie theatre.
Photo: Deanna Krueger

Aren’t movie dates the fucking worst?

In Fun & Satire by Skyler AshLeave a Comment

Reading Time: 2 minutes

By Charles Buckley

In a dark-lit room, two strangers sit next to each other. Together, they watch lights flickering on the wall, cursing the poor judgement that drove them to their current, regrettable position. For fear of aggressive shushing from their fellow prisoners, they dare not speak to each other. No jokes are shared, no questions are asked. The ice remains unbroken.

Stating the obvious here: first dates at the movies suck, and I’m sick of not talking about it.

It’s been four years since I had one; a half-decade of monogamy has been a shore leave from the romantic front lines. Of all the benefits of a committed relationship, chief among them is our ability to sit comfortably through a movie. Never do I worry about the vibe my posture is putting out, or the implications of our choice of film or the embarrassment of noisy popcorn-chewing. But I know that those of you out there swiping and matching aren’t so lucky.

Who takes a first date to a movie, anyway? For starters, it’s one of the few places where it’s universally frowned upon to talk. How is a person expected to get to know their date and get their opinion on the Ford family if they’re only going to be grossly interrupted by pursed lips and violent hissing from all those around them? How is someone to learn more about their potential soulmate’s spicy new mixtape or super-promising tech start-up when conversing with them means talking over Vin Diesel’s smooth but nauseating bass tones?

Gag orders are only the tip of the iceberg; let’s talk taste. A film is such a polarizing thing. Even last year’s Ladybird, a movie lauded for maintaining a perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes, found its critics by the second month. There’s always that asshole who loves The Hobbit movies, or can’t stand Ghostbusters, or doesn’t clock that The Room and Birdemic: Shock and Terror are meant to be enjoyed ironically. What kind of lunatic gambles like that with someone they’ve just met?

Movie dates are the convergence of everything wrong with dating. Trapped in your seat by social convention and a sticky cushion, your mind goes wild with speculation. Vince Vaughn puts it best as Jeremy Grey in Wedding Crashers: “Am I interested? I’m not really interested. Should I play like I’m interested? But I’m not that interested. But I think she might be interested. But do I want to be interested? But now she’s not interested. So, all of a sudden, I’m getting…I’m starting to get interested.” It’s pure chaos.

Take that kind of mental mayhem and put it in a dark room, next to a complete stranger, and trouble’s a-brewing. The moment the opening titles roll, you’re a ticking time bomb destined for failure. 

How often does a friend of yours complain that their date couldn’t pay attention through Blade Runner, or didn’t understand the subtle geopolitical metaphors in Sharknado III? How often does your squash partner regale you with the story of their ordeal at Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties? How many times have you yourself sat there, a thousand questions swimming through your head, while your gorgeous Tinder match sits in solemn silence through the heart-wrenching double-homicide that no doubt lurks in Paddington 2?

Let’s make 2018 the year of no more movies on first-dates. Of all the resolutions we’re making for ourselves this year; this is one really worth keeping.

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