Popcorn for One, Please!

I was on a date a few months ago. It wasn’t so much a date as much as meeting a guy I had been on one or two dates with.

I arranged to meet him on Stephen’s Green on a sunny, Sunday afternoon. I sat on the grass in a pair of blue and white, floral, Hawaiian shorts, sipping a coffee. I waited patiently. The weather was glorious. The park was busy with families and tourists. Summer attire was abundant. There was a hubbub about the place. It was one of those days that transforms Dublin; you must regularly remind yourself of your location.

My pseudo-date eventually rolled up. He sat next to me cross-legged on the grass.

“How long have you been sitting here on your own?”

“Around half an hour,” I responded, simultaneously trying to suss the cause of his smirk.

“I’d love to be able to sit out on my own in a park.” He looked ahead, squinting in the sunlight.

This comment was odd. Was it that big a deal to sit in a park alone on a warm afternoon?

“Then, why don’t you sit out in the park alone?” I asked. “I always do things alone. I regularly go to movies. I think little of it.”

He laughed aloud; a laugh that was no doubt of the laugh-at-me variety.

“It’s about having confidence,” I said cuttingly. I decided not to recommend he acquire some.

It won’t come as much of a surprise I didn’t meet this man-child for a follow-up date. This failed interaction was the final nail in his coffin. His comments (and general view on things) bugged me.

Coincidentally, last weekend, a friend reacted similarly when we chatted about Inception.

“Did you go see it with Best-Friend?” He looked towards Best-Friend. “Did you see Inception with Stephen this evening?”

I interjected. “No, I went alone.”

No sooner had I said this when he reached out and squeezed my shoulder (rather affectionately, if I do say so). “Awwwww, poor Stephen”.

“Eh, no poor Stephen,” said I. “I love going on my own. To me the cinema isn’t a social experience.”

Ex-Boyfriend was a massive fan of the cinema; he relished the experience from start to finish. He hated missing the trailers; as if the trailers were as good as the movie itself. During our visits to the Big Screen, he was often impatient with me. He would frown from a distance, as I gleefully skipped through Cineworld’s vast pick ‘n’ mix area, paper bag in my left hand, yellow scoop aloft in my right.

“They have sour lips,” I’d exclaim. “My favourites!”

“Get a move on, Stephen,” he would respond with a sigh and deepening frown. I usually cut my dally short.

I’d return to his side and attempt a wind him up. “Come on! We’re running late! Stop slowing me down. We’ll miss the trailers …”

The furrows of his brow deepened. “How much did you pay for that?” He glowered at the burdensome, bag of pick ‘n’ mix swinging by my side.

“Seven euro.”

“You spent seven euro on pick ‘n’ mix?” I was surprised at his shock.

“Yes, seven euro.”

“That is ridiculous, Stephen. You are such a glutton.”

When I think back on my cinema experiences, is it any surprise that I prefer to go on my own? Negative experiences aside, when I go alone, I can see any movie; there are no compromises. I can plan my movie on my schedule, taking account of no one else. I can spend twelve euro on pick ‘n’ mix and a large vat of coke; there’s no one to judge. I can cry during the emotional parts of movies just as I did during Up; no one will laugh at me.

I go to the cinema alone and I love it. Pop corn for one, please!



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