In defense of seeing movies alone

I go to the movies by myself. It’s not from lack of friends (though I was never a threat to win Homecoming Court), and it’s not because I am a House M.D.-level misanthrope. I just occasionally enjoy a night to myself and don’t need the comfort of an acquaintance while starting at a giant projected screen in silence. This habit, I always knew, was uncommon, but I thought nothing of it—until one day, a few years back, when I told a friend that I went by myself to see The Devil Wears Prada. He called me, rather unsparingly, “a pathetic loser.” He wasn’t talking about my taste in movies. …

Before I came to grips with being a loner, I would often second-guess myself, asking, “Am I a weirdo?” But then I realized what we all know, on some level: that movies don’t require interaction, that sitting unaccompanied in a theater is a sign of aplomb and not low social standing, and that it just doesn’t make sense to feel like a loser for going alone.

This is strange, because movies (unlike parties or high school) aren’t inherently social. Theaters, in fact, are set up to be the opposite. Last I checked, there aren’t any circular couches at the local AMC. Also missing are the water coolers where patrons can talk about politics or last night’s game. Theaters even tell you to shut up before the movie. The seats are side-by-side forward-facing, and partitioned by armrests; the love seat is a relatively modern addition, and to their advocates I say: Find a more private place to neck and stop distracting us from the movie! Who makes out during movies anymore, anyways?

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