Tips for a good movie-theater date
14th of February: the number one entry in the dating calendar. For singletons around the world, Valentine's Day is the one night of the year you will do anything to avoid being alone; including spending ludicrous amounts of money on an activity with someone you barely know.
If you're currently one of these single people, desperately on the look-out for potential dates or distractions, it's a very nervous time. You're either plucking up the courage to ask out that special person, or waiting to be whisked off your feet by an elusive sexy stranger. For straight men especially, there is historical precedent for the act of attempted wooing and treating the fairer sex to an evening out at your expense. However, the decisions surrounding Valentine's day activities can be difficult. What should you do on the date? What should you say? What should you wear? How should you behave? The areas of concern are limitless. Traditionally, the archetypal romantic Valentine's endeavour would be for the man to take the woman out to a posh restaurant, spoiling her with wine, crème brulee and a £3 dishevelled red rose sold by a rip-off merchant walking past tables with a basket.
However, if you're put off by the idea of staring at someone opposite a table, fumbling for fragments of conversation while inspecting suspicious hairs in a bowl of lukewarm soup, then there is always the option of a classic date at the movies. The cinema date is a stalwart in the realm of dating and I think, for Valentine's Day, a perfect alternative to an extortionate meal. Below are my top 10 gentlemanly tips for a successful date at the movies:
1. Choose the right movie.
The prep work in a movie date is vital. The type of movie you see will set the tone of the evening and the wrong sort of vibe will send the whole date off course. You want to pick something exciting, but not boisterous, cute, but not sickly, fun, but not excessively camp. Here is a list of no-goes:
- Jason Statham/Sylvestre Stallone style action movies. We all like Rambo, but the excessive grunting and muscle squeezing often present in this style of cinema can be off-putting to the fairer sex and the likely lack of viable plot or narrative will make it difficult to engage in conversation about the movie afterwards.
- Cruel intentions style sultry sex-based dramas. You also don't want to watch anything that’s going to create awkward sexual pressure.
- Schindler's List style brutally upsetting dramas featuring genocide or death. Valentine's Day should be fun and enjoyable, not educational.
- Sex and the City style extreme girly movies. Whilst the female may enjoy the experience, if you end up talking enthusiastically about it as well; you may find yourself being seen as a potential gay best friend rather than future lover in chief.
It's important to make sure you've considered the girl in question too; if she wears cargo pants and listens to slayer, she might be more amenable to something with explosions in it. If she's into history and enjoys perusing through libraries with pursed lips; a British royal-family based drama might do the trick. As a general rule, I would say Pixar movies are a big thumbs-up, as are any semi-satirical comedies featuring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost; such as the recently released Paul.
2. Avoid Popcorn
Nothing more off putting or generally unattractive than a man stuffing his face full off noisy snacks. If you're a particular popcorn fiend, you will also draw unwelcome attention to yourself and your date from everyone else in the auditorium. Plus, if you don't eat during the movie, you have a perfect excuse to take the girl on for food afterward.
3. Don’t attempt the "reach-around" cliché.
The "reach-around" (moving your arm behind a girls head to rest down upon her shoulder) is a classic manoeuvre designed to surreptitiously place the males hand an inch away from his partners bosom, clasping her in a position of compromised subservience without explicit permission, supposedly with the hope that such touching will make her more inclined to engage in coitus at the end of an evening. Don’t use this move, its clichéd and it's a bit creepy. If you attempt to combine the action with a yawn at the point of an emotional scene within the movie, you are treading on a world of cliché unexplored by human beings. It’s probably not worth the risk.
4. Don't ask if she's alright after harrowing or emotional scenes.
The protective part of the male-psyche likes to think we act as emotional supports for the flighty female composition, but behaving as if you're concerned that she might be unable to handle anything grittier than the care-bears will make you seem like a patronising chauvinist.
5. Don't make intellectual comments during the film.
If you’re the kind of person who likes to tell everyone that you’ve made an intellectual integration regarding the theories of Carl Jung in relation to the concepts alluded to in the plot of the film inception, keep it to yourself until a later date. Not only will you be spoiling the experience for everyone else, but you'll sound like your intelligence rests only on the ability to shout about mundane opinions.
6. Don't clap at the end of a movie.
This action will make you seem a bit odd and try-hard. Who exactly are you clapping? The projectionist.
7. Say something funny as soon as you leave the cinema.
Whatever you do, don't say something as generic as "well that was good" as it will appear that you don't have the intellectual capacity or the personality to think about issues in depth. Making the girl laugh will be gold-dust, preferably through a witticism relating to behaviours of the characters in the context of contemporary culture. While funny is good, keep the chat related to the film… don’t suddenly bring out a "knock knock…"
8. Move swiftly and seamlessly on from the movies to a further venue.
If you've both enjoyed the movie, there will be plenty to spark off conversation and these chats will require a further venue for drinks, dancing and romancing. Good luck!