EDITORIAL: Going to movies alone isn’t really as bad as it may sound

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I was scared the first time I did it.

I was alone. It was dark. I was surrounded by strangers . and the sound of slurping soda and crunching popcorn.

I was, of course, in a movie theater.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: What on earth was a cool and popular girl like me (well, maybe you weren’t thinking exactly that) doing alone at a movie? Where’s your date? Where are your friends? Well, my peers, I am here to tell you today, during the height of the movie season, that attending a showing of a movie without the company of others is THE hottest trend ever to have hit Eau Claire since cutting the collars off your sweatshirts.

But seriously, I want to inform all citizens of the Land of the Self-Conscious that going to a movie alone is not a bad thing. It is possible to get over the fear of not only being alone, but being seen alone, which is what scares most people. However, I believe that your movie-going experience can actually be better than your friends’ presence, significant others or that uncomfortable first date.

Have you ever gone to a movie and all you can think about is whether the person you’re with is liking it? This happens to me a lot, and it’s 10-times worse when you’re the one who picked out the movie.

For example, you and a friend decide to go see “All the Pretty Horses” the night it opens.

Actually, you decide to see it because you have a slightly unhealthy obsession with Matt Damon and have been counting down the days until it’s release ever since filming began in April 1999 (634 days). Your friend just decides to tag along because she has nothing else to do. So you’re sitting in the theater watching the movie, trying to enjoy Matt’s performance, but all you can think is, “She hates it. She thinks I’m insane for wanting to see this movie. She’d rather inhale Jell-O than sit through this.”

After stressing for the majority of the movie, you realize that the credits are rolling and you’ve missed the entire movie – a movie you know you would have gotten so much more out of … if you would have seen it alone.

And then there are the people who are spending the entire movie asking you questions. “What did he just say?” “Why did she do that?” “What is going on?” After the third or fourth question, I want to take that Snickers they’re masticating and shove it down their throat. But if you’re alone, you have that whole time to yourself.

You’re not tending to anyone’s needs, and if you’re the type who asks these questions, it’s up to you to solve the problem yourself. Imagine how proud you’ll be when you understand it on your own. Buy yourself another Snickers.

Single movie viewing isn’t something you should just jump into. Start out slow. Pick a night when you know a lot of people won’t be at the theater. Starting out with a Friday night opening of “What Women Want” would probably be a little intimidating (couples galore!). After a couple of mid-week tests of “The Emperor’s New Groove” or “State and Main,” you should be ready for a Friday or Saturday night showing of “Traffic,” a movie so completely entrancing that you or anyone else won’t even notice you’re there alone. If you’re able to manage that, treat yourself to a Sandra Bullock movie with your friends. Spend the whole time making fun of her and how terribly obnoxious she is, and then discuss afterward how you suddenly want to either look like her or be her best friend.

So trust me. Going to a movie alone is not a painful, frightening or dehumanizing experience. It’ll turn you into a confident and independent individual. You’ll gain poise and assurance. You’ll solve world hunger. Well, you might not go that far.

But hell, it’s worth a try, right?

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