Last night Friday night, I had a hot ass date. I’ve liked this chick for years. Spunky brunette, curvy figure, outgoing aura. She sported heels, straightened her hair, glossed up her sunburnt lips and wore a dress for me, so I knew she was trying to impress myself. And I was. I was wildly impressed with myself.
I went to the movie by myself last Friday night and it was fantastic, let me tell you. Wearing heels is a rarity in my beachy life in this big town, an occasion I reassure for Vegas, big dates, downtown outings, and important meetings.
Originally, I was supposed to go with my girlfriends to see One Day, the new Anne Hathaway (applause) and Jim Sturgess (sigh) movie based on the novel. But, I had a free ticket to one theater and my girlfriends had free popcorn (Lauren’s obsession snack) and soda (Caroline rages on caffeine) at the AMC franchise, so I was not offended as we decided via textual message to part ways Friday night, as I understand the value and allure of good freebie, especially the food kind.
I reassured my girlfriends I love seeing movies by myself as they couldn’t believe how content I was with our Friday night separate but equal plans. I had my heart sent on using this nearly expired ticket and was also interested in scoping out a new theater (to me) but actually in an old venue with the Old-Hollywood vintage feel to it in the hub of the high-rent Gaslamp District.
It has been awhile since I’ve seen a movie by myself because I’ve been busy as all hell. I haven’t solo cinema’ed since 2010 I bet. Now, I used to talk a lot of crap about my older brother who would see movies all the time by himself. I thought, “What a loner- that cannot be healthy.” But what I fool I was.
Herein lies the pros of seeing a flick by yourself:
-No one makes you late other than yourself and “piss poor planning” as my Dad says.
-No one takes uncomfortable amount of your popcorn or candies from your personal stash
-No one peeps in your ear “Wait, what did he just say?” (I know I am guilty of this because of being nearly deaf).
-If you cry, if doesn’t count because no one (that knows you) saw or heard you. It’s like a get out of free jail pass in the game of movie Monopoly.
-It’s probably easier to sneak into another movie for a double-header if you are by yourself.
-No one scolds you for putting your feet up on the seat in front of you (if no one is sitting there).
Two of my best friends, Kris and Katie, who have really me into the character I am today, turned me on to the idea after we first graduated. They are such rad independent chicks and they would go all the time solo style and then talk about the movie collectively via Gmail like a viral Book Club. It was out escape from work at the office, since we were recent graduates working 9-6 for the Man, and didn’t have time to flutter around waiting for someone to see a flick with us on our time.
I think the turning point was when I had missed the bandwagon on seeing the The Hangover and had no one to see it with by the time I was available. So, after a long day at washingtonpost.com, I hopped across the street to the movie theater in Arlington one Monday night in July 2009. I think God wanted me to have a good first experience by myself, knowing my insecurities and neediness to be around people all time were high, because He reserved that entire theater for just me. I felt liberated walking in and out of that theater back into the city knowing I had done something so independent in a typically crowded scene except this time, with baby steps, the theater was dead. I didn’t feel like one pathetic loser like I had been anticipating afterall and I was convinced I go again frequently.
Since then, I’ve seen a fair amount of films by myself and Kris and Katie and I have discussed these flicks over Gmail as previously stated or we tip each other off that the movie isn’t worth shouting out 13 bones for. Now, I always went to a theater where a lot of people didn’t know me too well and during times that didn’t get a lot of foot traffic (Tuesday nights, weekend matinees, theaters far from my house or in a new area). I never went on a Friday night at the Westminster Mall where I’d spot three guys from my high schools, 2 girls I used to babysit ten years ago, one couple I knew from my lax’ing days, and another rando I sort of knew through the grapevine.
But, I had never gone by myself to see a flick on date night, among the masses, let alone downtown, whether in Baltimore, DC, Bethesda. The theater I had free tickets to was in the center the Gaslamp District’s urban chic nightlife: hosting all the partiers and foodies at the bars, restaurants and clubs on a Friday night. And I was super pumped to go.
I received numerous texts and emails that day asking what I was getting into that night. If I chose to politely invite them to the chick flick, I was secretly hoping they would decline. This my first real date night with myself on a weekend night and in San Diego and I was hard-pressed on flying solo.
I think I paid for parking for the first time living in Southern California and chuckled the block-long walk to Will Call over how I was an expensive date. I splurged on $8 parking and you if you have to pay parking and in SD that is rare, you split it with people, but nope not this time, not with me, myself and I as Hans Solo for One Day this night.
Uncontrollable attacked my body again from Will Call to my seat at the mere thought of checking myself in on Facebook by myself at this theater. Everyone around me was waste deep in conversations among friends or at least had a mate to have light fare conversation with, but I was heavily involved in an barbaric laugh attack with myself over a stupid reason. You would think I don’t get out much.
It was opening day for this RomCom at a 7:25 p.m. showing and it was jammed pack: four couples and me. I made enough noise for all of them though between shrieks, squeals, and screams I guess because I didn’t have someone to grab his or her’s wrist. I did actually bring another girl with me, but it was in the form of Chicken Tenders from my girl Wendy’s restaurant that I snagged in the drive-through before. Wendy’s barbecue sauce didn’t do much when an unexpected accident occurred in the movie other than causing a stain on my real life dress, but that’s another day in the park as messy Jessie, a disease I’ve been coping with since conception.
I walked out of the movie, perturbed by the abrupt ending and dissatisfied over what could have been an earth-shaking lover’s tale in London. I thought about crying as my girl instinct almost kicked in and then shrugged off the lame urge. I proceeded to chuckle over how I almost just cried just to cry and not count it. Then, my ADD kicked in when I saw a another movie’s ad and I thought, “Hey, Let’s bounce back with a happy Double Header!” But, it wasn’t in the cards. My independent presence was requested at Seth’s going away night on the town by my house, so my loner night ended early.
When I went home in May to Ocean City to do my usual 3-day weekend bender with Katie, Kris and Aly, Aly, who could not get over how “grown up” I seemed. “You’ve really changed, Jess. You are so responsible.” JIGGA WHAT?!?! I was stunned to hear this as I get the complete opposite from Rosemary and Jimbo from time to time. I thanked for the complaint, but I swore it wasn’t true at first. “Well, I guess I just fell into it because it literally is just be making decisions for myself out there. It’s about time because we all know I was all the last person to do everything amongst our girlfriends, Alan (Aly’s nickname). Last one to chose her college, last one to go away to school, last one to land a relationship, last one to pay a full rent (when you have a makeshift bedroom in the common area, you don’t pay $850 and be on a lease obviously), last one to get benefits in a full time job, and you know that list goes on, Alan.”
“Yeah, you might have been the last one to do a lot of little milestones, but you were the first one to follow your dream. You seem so happy; you look so healthy, I’m just proud of you all grown up.”
I think I’m learning maturity through my immaturity. And I think my immature mature friends are getting me there along with swirls of life lessons we all need to have fast cat-like reactions too. Mature- because I am my own boss here and immature- because I’m still in my early 20s, in the midst of my life’s learning curve
and occasionally not making the smartest decisions. Come on, we are all guilty of that at this age I’d say (parents, I know you are nodding your heads right now). I don’t think vain myself in 2008 could have been a movie by myself. And I know I didn’t stay in on a Friday night in college to write a paper (beachfront at least) like I did two Fridays ago.
Walking out of that theater on Friday night, seeing everyone dressed to kill by in clusters, I felt empowered that I could do something so independent in crowded scene. Previously, in my immaturity, I think I’d be jealous I wasn’t running amuck downtown with a group of people. But, in my maturity, I was thanking God I had a free Friday night for this moment: to catch myself ever-evolving growth.
Coincidentally, One Day‘s theme song was one of my favorite songs right now, “The Good Life” by One Republic. Driving to and from the theater I heard it on my radio and went batsh** crazy each time I heard it, pelting the lyrics to it with the windows down, sunroof ajar, driving over the Mission Bay and along the Beach to my house. The best parts of the song:
We’re young enough to say
Oh, this has gotta be the good life
This has gotta be the good life
This could really be a good life, good life
I say, “Oh, got this feeling that you can’t fight”
Like this city is on fire tonight
This could really be a good life, a good, good life…
When you’re happy like a fool, let it take you over
When everything is out you gotta take it in
After the movie, I met up with friends I had not seen in a while to wish Seth good luck in Newport. They all asked why I was late. Not being my usual crowd, I proudly told them “Sorry I was late. I caught a movie by myself.” Instead of sympathy and disgust, I got mostly (got a chuckle or smirk or two which I didn’t mind), “Wow, I’m impressed. I could never do that.” “Yes you can! It is so freeing!” and I proceeded to rattle off the benefits and they each admitted how they loathe when someone always asks a lot of questions during it, etc.
So, if you haven’t done it Loyal Readers, go on a ManDate with yourself if you are a bro or SoloSesh if you’re a Sally. I guarantee you will feel better about yourself and you will be in or on the pathway, to the independent “Good Life.” Kris, Katie, Slick and I wish you the best.