Date Night (With Myself): The Pro’s and Con’s of going to the Movies Alone

On the weekend I popped my ‘going to the movies alone’ cherry and I liked it.

A friend bailed on me Friday night and I still really wanted to go to the movies. I was also desperate to see Hugo 3D which I knew none of my buddies were particularly keen to see (despite the fact it’s wonderful!). So I went on a little self-date and would have totally pashed myself on the doorstep when we said goodnight. (Except that it was just me so that wasn’t possible. Shame. #foreveralone)

There seems to be a bit of a stigma against going to the movies solo. Some people are worried that everyone will think they are a loser with no friends. While this may be true for me, it doesn’t reflect on everyone that goes to the movies solo. Or it may be a general concern about being out in public alone without the social crutch of a friend? If that’s the case I don’t really understand this fear either. People go walking by themselves, shopping by themselves, eating by themselves, bird-watching by themselves, library reading by themselves… (or are those last ones just me?).

Either way I know some people think it’s a bit of a sad and lonely thing to do. So I thought I’d give you all the pro’s and con’s of my solo experience and you can decide whether it’s for you.

Before the movie – The ‘Couples Zone’

I went to a late session on a Friday night. Did you know that Friday night is date night at the movies? Me neither. It was a little weird waiting in the ticket queue surrounded by cuddling couples. You could easily tell the new couples with their collared shirts/high heels, their polite chat, and their insistence on paying for the other. This was quite a contrast from the long-termers slouching about in their trackies, mocking other couples on awkward dates, and suggesting their date pay for them. Perhaps not the best session to fly solo, but it didn’t bother me too much. Also there was also a couple in front of me fighting so I guess it’s not all ‘let’s share a popcorn deal’ that it’s cracked up to be!

Con: no one to talk to waiting in line for the tickets. Pro: caught up on my ‘Words with Friends’ games.

Pro: no one got angry that I was late. Con: since I was late I missed the ads. I love being marketed at through cinema ads!

Candy Bar Dreaming
When you hit the cinema by yourself you can get whatever you want from the candy bar and don’t have to share it or get judged by who you’re with. However, you may be judged by those around you when you seat yourself next to the most gigantic bucket of popcorn known to man, and no one else. But it’s ok, you don’t care what they think. Then again, you did hide your choc top in your bag because although you don’t care what they think, you still sort of do.

Con: choc tops cost $5.40. FIVE DOLLARS AND FORTY CENTS! Pro: at least you only have to buy one.

Con: there is no-one to hold your giant bucket of popcorn while you go to the bathroom. Pro: Sorry. There is nothing good about this situation. You can’t take it into the loo (hygiene) and you can’t leave it outside (someone could sprinkle poison salt on it… hey it could happen!). Just remember to pee before you purchase!

During: The Darkness

As the lights dim and the curtains draw back that extra bit, I was feeling great. I’m an independent woman who doesn’t need a friend to go to the movies. That was until a really scary scene occurred about halfway through. I could have done with someone to cling on to besides my giant popcorn. I know Hugo was only rated PG, but don’t judge me. It involved this freaky ‘automaton’ robot/toy  and I am a massive wimp when it comes to freaky toys with faces. Just look at it!

Pro: No one sees you drop bits of choc top on yourself. Con: There’s no one to tell you have choc top melted all down your front.

Pro: no one is there to ask you stupid questions about the plot that haven’t been revealed yet. Con: since I am usually the one asking the stupid questions this makes it difficult for me.

Pro: You get to wear your 3D glasses like a boss. Con: there’s no one to see you wearing your 3D glasses like a boss!

After: Heading Home to a Cold Bed

After the movie finished most of the couples made a quick getaway (presumably to have hot Friday night sex?). I was not so lucky as first I had to button up my pants and put my shoes back on (no judgement, remember I did eat all that popcorn by myself). So by the time I had left the cinema there weren’t too many people around. I definitely missed the post-movie discussions that usually go something like this:

“How cool was that!”

“I didn’t really understand that bit with the thing… what was that about?”

“How big was that guys head in front of us?”

“And when Ryan Gosling took his shirt off? Wow.”

“You have some chocolate melted on your shirt.”

And so on.

Hmm… I am beginning to think there may be a reason no one wanted to come to the movies with me!

Con: no one to debrief about the film. Pro: I wrote this blog post instead!

So my experiment was complete and overall it was quite a success. I will still enjoy going to the movies with friends, however when the opportunity arises I won’t hesitate to go there alone. And I know for a fact no one will see The Muppets with me, so it looks like I may be getting lucky again quite soon. Maybe next time I’ll even invite myself in for coffee afterwards!

So have you ever been to the movies alone? What did you think? If you haven’t done it is there something holding you back going by yourself? Or are you just really popular?

NOTE: A few of you have been asking what a ‘choc-top’ is. I didn’t realise it must be an Australian thing. They are ice cream cones, with a big scoop of ice cream, and then covered in chocolate and frozen. They stay frozen well into the movie (enough time to get started on the pop corn). Delicious! They are movie-going essentials in Oz!

Also, thank you for all your comments. I’m sorry if I don’t get a chance to reply to them all.  I read all of them and appreciate all the support. It is wonderful!

510 thoughts on “Date Night (With Myself): The Pro’s and Con’s of going to the Movies Alone

  1. definitely go all the time on my own! not because i am a loner just because i actually get more of a sense of what is going on in the movie if i am there on my own. I mean i can actually zone in on the movie, there is no one to impress and there is no one to judge as you say. you can also laugh at the people getting distracted knowing full well that they won’t have the foggiest what is going on in the movie 🙂
    well done for having the courage to go by yourself!

  2. Good one 🙂 I am planning to ban my birthday coming up in 10 days and hide away from the world. Going alone to the movies seems like a brilliant idea 😀 Thanks!

  3. I’ve gone to movies alone, eating alone most of my life. I have been single most of my life and an over the road truck driver here in the states. So while I am on the road and have time to do such things as watching a movie, i didn’t hesitate. Now that I am off of the road, I find it hard, difficult to do the things I had no shame of doing with the feeling of shame of wanting to do them.

    Being single, no friends, it’s hard. I have not been out to a movie in 5 years or more now. I have gone out to eat on my own, but I do not like it, but I crave what the restaurant has to offer.

  4. Really enjoyed this. My first time alone was so long ago I don’t remember the movie. I quickly figured out that week day matinees were the best (I’ve worked free lance for a long time so had that freedom). It’s usually very empty so I can sit anywhere I want to without having to take into account a companion’s different wishes, I can linger through the credits if I want to, take up lots of space, etc. I actually reached a point where I prefer alone to with someone but I do avoid those date nights. For the post movie chat, I just figured out who I know who goes to everything in the first week and I call to talk it over when I get home.

  5. Loved this!! I want to go see the Hunger Games the instant it comes out, and unfortunately my bff has absolutely no interest in seeing it whatsoever! I’ve never been to a movie solo, but now I know what to expect! Haha!

  6. Great post! I am actually going to the movies on my own for the first time this weekend! My husband is away and my daughter (20 months old) is going to stay with her grandparents. I am actually quite excited to go to the movies. I will consider your pro’s and con’s … and blog about it later this weekend.
    Cheers, from Nova Scotia, Canada.

  7. I understand the feeling about sticking out, but the reality is no one notices and in the dark you are all alone. I work in a different city from where I live so movies alone become common. The big screen is often worth it (especially over a boring TV)

  8. Great stuff! Good for you for popping your own cherry! I popped mine in September, and have only done it again once since then. It takes some getting used to, but I definitely don’t hate it. Thanks for sharing this.

  9. this was great fun to read. and i’m totally with you on the snack bar, though for me it’s the make-your-own-bag-of-goodies bar. drat those gummy bears! I’ve gone to the movies alone a handful of times, and i’d say that the biggest problem is not having anyone to talk to afterwards. I usually go to soppy chick flicks, which decreases the risk of scary moments, but there were several instances of going to see Return of the King alone that involved a good deal of flinching.

  10. I definitely feel you on the con about not being able to discuss the movie. The first movie I saw by myself was The Triplets of Belleville and it was stunning on the big screen. When I tried to describe it to my husband he just didn’t get it, and it REALLY didn’t translate to the small screen. I haven’t been to the movies alone since. I am inspired to try it again though.

  11. You get used to it. I have done many things solo, I was even a solo musician once. I prefer to go to movies alone because no one is there to make comments and disturb my concentration on the movie.

  12. Going to the movies alone is great. I have done it many times and wouldn’t have a problem ever doing it. As the one of my friends who generally wants to see “weird” or “bizarre” films going alone allows me to see exactly what I want without hearing complaints or having to compromise and see something I am not really interested in.
    It’s great!

  13. I’ve never been to the movies by myself but I really want to some time for a empty matinee so I can really just enjoy the movie and not worry about people and noise or some one else!

  14. I often write reviews for films for a newspaper, but still, I never go alone. I would feel horribly awkward. Plus, I always run into people I know who would know me. And when they question me and I answer that I must review a movie, they think it’s some lame excuse for being a lonely loser. *Sigh*
    Great and funny post.

  15. This is absolutely hilarious; I actually laughed out loud. Your playful self-deprecation combined with the fact the your points are very true for most people (not that we want to admit it sometimes) makes this post positively excellent. Loved it! One jumbo popcorn for one please.

  16. I prefer to go to the movies alone. You get to see whatever you want and sit wherever you want. As you mentioned the main con is that you have to get your snacks before you go to the bathroom. Great article 🙂

  17. This is a very interesting post. I especially like how you point out about the social stigma against going to the movies alone, however people do other things alone all the time and don’t think twice about it. I went to a movie alone a good number of years ago when I was living in a different city for a summer and had only a handful of friends. Going alone was a different experience, and it did have some self-conscious moments, perhaps due to societal judgments. But my friend didn’t/couldn’t go with me, and I did not want to miss out by not having someone to go with. Also, I have went to a concert alone, too, when I asked multiple people and no one wanted to go. I once missed out on seeing a theatre show that I really wanted to attend while I spent days trying to find someone to go with me (during that time of course the show sold out)… I think ever since then I am more likely to go alone if I have exhausted other options and really want to go somewhere- why miss out because others aren’t available or don’t have money/desire to go???

  18. Enjoyed your post and reading your thoughts. I went to see Hugo with a friend and enjoyed our evening together. I go to the movies alone frequently as I love to immerse myself in film. There are so many movies I want to see and there isn’t always someone who wants to see those films. I don’t understand why going to the movies alone is such a big deal. Maybe some people don’t like their own company?

  19. I like going to movies alone, it makes sense- you don’t have to discuss what time to go, or which movie to see, with anyone- you just get to decide! It’s pretty much like watching TV by yourself, except you have to pay for it and be in public, neither of which is a bad thing. Also, why has ice cream at movie theaters not caught on in the USA? Especially chocolate covered ice cream? I think I have to move to Australia.

  20. I have to ask…what are choc tops?

    And I’m soooo going to the movies alone next weekend. My friends would rather rent a movie at home. I would rather see it on the big screen with $10 warm buttery movie popcorn.

  21. HAHA, It was a really nice post ! 🙂
    I had my share as well. Back then, i wanted to watch Fantastic 4 : Silver Surfer, and a friend of mine cancelled last minute, and i just came to a point where i didn’t really care what others people would think anymore, but i just want to watch the movie! True that sometimes you feel alone, and have no one to share it with, but when you’re just alone and watching a big screen in front, i think the best part would be that you’ll just immense deep into the stories they’re showing.
    Also had a date that left halfway through, but in the end i still enjoyed the movies i watched.
    Might probably be good, who knows, u might end up sitting next to someone who’s also watching the movie alone, could get up to a good conversation later on 🙂

  22. I haven’t been to the movies solo in a long while, but one thing I do remember about it: going on my own makes me shut the hell up. My normal movie buddy and I normally can’t keep our mouths shut when we go to the movies… we’ve even been shushed by theater staff.

    All in all though, not such a bad experience to go solo, even though I can’t make a sidelong glance and get a chuckle about something going on on-screen.

  23. Well I guess I must be an odd bird then, I never realized it was strange to go to the movies alone. I go to movies alone a lot and I have since I was old enough to take a bus to the local mall. No one told me this was weird! That info would have probably helped my image in high school… oh well.
    I don’t think my image could be salvaged.. I used to carry around at least three books at all times.. just in case there was a line at the bus stop! My friends did think that was weird.

    None of my friends liked the same movies or liked to go places I I went by myself when I had free time.
    I even go out to eat at restaurants by myself! My husband admits that he wouldn’t eat alone outside of lunch hours.

    Sigh, I guess I don’t have an arsenal of friends, to always have one handy, when I want to go out.. (sarcasm ;-D )

  24. Loved your blog your honesty was refreshing,we have a misconception on being alone…….being alone doesnt mean your lonely:),) I think I’m awesome company….even if I have to entertain myself:;)).

  25. Hahaha! Amazing! Just yesterday I went to the movies by myself. I work twice a week in another city and people from work don’t go out on weekdays. I saw “The Lady in Black” and was doubting that was a good idea, but I didn’t find it really scary, in fact I thought it was a beautiful movie (but don’t trust my taste, haha!). I also went by myself a couple of times when I was living in the US. I think I never felt self conscious, and especially for shopping I usually prefer to go alone, so nothing weird there 🙂

  26. I used to go to the movies alone back then. Simple reason was because I just wanted to have “Me” time or simply because no one could accompany me 😛
    One thing I like about watching movie by myself is I can comment the movie whatever I like without debating with my friends. Plus, I don’t need to wait for anyone because I used to come earlier. So, it’s fun and I am still doing it sometimes 🙂

  27. There is nothing wrong with going out to the movies alone. In fact, it can be liberating! Its like doing something you have done so many times with a twist! For example, like this post you have written about the pros and cons of watching movies alone. Who would have thought it would give a unique perspective that compels you to write it down here? 🙂

  28. Love going to the movies alone! Get to see which movie I want, sit where I want to, take up 3-2 seats with my stuff and don’t have to put it on the dirty floor, don’t have to share my corn (I like mine buttered). When I go with friends: one eats corn so loudly that it’s embarassing; one wants to talk instead of whisper; one has to check messages and texts; and the little ones are in my corn and my drink! Only way to go!

  29. Definitely been to the movies alone, although only a couple times. I LOVED it! I’m definitely a “crier” at movies (well, some, depending on what it is), and it’s actually nice to express a little emotion without wondering what the person aside you is thinking. Definitely a fun experience that I will do again sometime with myself. Love this post! And congrats on being freshly pressed 🙂

  30. I really enjoyed this post.
    I’m very comfortable with some things alone, like shopping–actually prefer it in some cases. But movies and restaurants are two places i could never seem to build myself up to frequenting solo. I’m not sure what it is; my brother does it allll the time. It’s something I do plan on trying.

  31. I’ve gone to the movies alone and didn’t have a problem with it. What I am worried about doing is heading to the bar alone. I’m afraid I’ll look like a loser, an alcoholic, or a dirty creeper. However, I’ve been told that if you bring a notebook with and pretend to write in it while at the bar, you appear to be very mysterious, observant, and intuitive.

  32. Been to the movies solo twice in my life. I prefer going with friends for the shared experience and the movie debrief. But going solo is not as bad as people seem to think and, as you point out, it has it’s pros. And, honestly, if any stranger were to be confused/upset/amused by me going to the movies by myself, that person would have to get a life—who cares?

    Delightful post. And I agree, the automaton face is freaky.

  33. Great post! I started going to see certain movies on my own about 13 years ago — with Star Wars Episode 1. I was, sadly, the only SW geek among my friends at the time (most of whom held the opinion a woman couldn’t be a SW geek). Since then, I’ve joyfully gone to the theater alone to see the other 2 SW movies, every Marvel film that’s come along and a random selection of foreign language and classic films.

    The biggest pro for me? I can pick where I want to sit and don’t have to listen to someone else complain that we’re too close/far away from the screen, too near the speakers or sitting by an annoying person. The con is that I have no one to complain to when the movie just is horrible.

  34. I love this post! I agree with you on a lot of the things you wrote, most of all the “after movie convo”. After reading this and laughing too, I’d be more willing to try it now than I was before. Go outside of my front door, close it, knock on it, jump through the doorframe and say hello, jump back and ask myself on a date to the movies 🙂 Hopefully that doesn’t sound too weird ^-^

  35. I did this in High School just after I got my driver’s license, with varying results. The first time, I saw Garden State, which because I was in high school, was amazing and perfect to see in an empty theater (I went to desolate afternoon shows). Then I saw Napoleon Dynamite alone, and it was the worst.

    Oh! And then I did it again when Shutter Island came out, because no one wanted to go with me. That was fine too. It was better because I actually was in a crowd. I think that crowd is what makes the movie theater experience great, especially now that home theaters are so intense.

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