You’ve ordered your ticket, you’ve made it to the screen without spilling your popcorn and the film is about to start. Nobody has batted an eyelid at you until the lights start to dim; all at once, the chatter in the foyer falls silent, the Coke machine comes to a halt and the till pings shut. Everyone is feeling sorry for you now, because you’re sat alone. Because, tonight you don’t have a date… or worse, you don’t have any friends.
Truth is, you just want to see the film properly, no distractions. That means, no elbow nudging when Matthew McConaughey takes off his shirt, no rustling of sweet packets when the most important line is being delivered and definitely no holding hands under those bloody plastic cup holders. It’s just you and the big screen.
Well, until the tallest bloke in the universe sits directly in front of you, but remember, there’s only a 9 out of 10 chance that that will happen.
Some of you might be reading this thinking, “Amen sister! I go to the cinema on my own all of the time”, but no doubt a few of you are shying away at the thought of doing most things alone, the cinema being number one on that list.
So what about me? Well, the truth is…I’ve never been to cinema alone, but I am about to change this. No, seriously…
As a film student, I’ve always envisaged that I’ll be sat in the back row, wearing a pair of cute glasses, holding a pen to paper as the new Bond credits emerge on the big screen.
However, living off of a student loan for the last three years meant that sometimes, I had to choose between eating and having fun.
For those that know me already, you’ll know that picking food was always without question.
Picking a night to visit the cinema is difficult; Orange Wednesday is out of the question – it doesn’t quite cater for the ‘single ticket buyer’, does it?
Then there are the films that I just wouldn’t be able to see alone, like ‘Insidious‘ – do you think I’m crazy?
Or the films that we promise others we won’t see without them…not that it matters anyway.
There’s a lot to factor in when you’re about to parade your singledom, and loneliness, to the whole of Cineworld, Eastbourne, and this is why going to the cinema alone is only something I’ve just started to consider.
In fact, despite my picture perfect idea of going it alone, I have often been put off because I don’t want to look silly…which is silly in itself, right?
I mean the whole idea of sitting in a large, dark room with strangers is creepy enough, but going alone – isn’t that weird?
My 16-year-old self would have undoubtedly said yes because, back then, even going alone to the girl’s toilets was unheard of. But today, that stigma for me has vanished.
We do almost everything by ourselves anyway, so why should the cinema be any different?
In truth, I was inspired by the solitary cinema goer who sat in the audience the last time I went to see a film. He didn’t have to awkwardly compromise his favourite seat in the house, he didn’t have to worry if his company didn’t enjoy the film as much as he did, and most of all he didn’t have to share a single snack; I envied both his independence and his freedom.
Yet, on the other side of the cinema sat Dad and I: we had to get aisle seats for Dad’s long legs meaning we sat behind every tall bloke in town who had the same idea. I had to count out the sweets to avoid jealousy (I wish I was joking…) and I did worry that after hours of adverts, Dad might not be as prepared for a three hour film as I was. Don’t get me wrong, I had a lovely time with my old man and I rabbited all the way home about the mise-en-scène, even if Dad had stopped listening.
But, at the end of the night, I was left wondering what it might be like if I went to the cinema every so often by myself… just like the man on the other side of the room.
Perhaps now, as a graduate, I can be that four-eyed film fanatic, sketching out revolutionary moments of cinema from my favourite seat in the house.
So, this week I will be embarking on my very first independent cinema trip.
Yes, I will be paying top dollar to see the film, but I will be seeing the film properly – without any distractions…although even though I am seeing the film on my own, I have no doubts that I will still be eating for two.
Written by Amber Rose.