The Buddy System
Nothing says "creepy perv" like jacking off to a CGI Yogi Bear.
The last movie I saw in a theater was “Letters to Juliet,” an utterly predictable chick flick featuring Amanda Seyfried (“Big Love”) as an Italy-touring matchmaker for old farts, plus a British guy. If that’s not embarrassing enough, it was my idea - I propose these outings to women I’m not dating, and often they take me up on it. Sure, I enjoy the company, but just as much, I enjoy the cover.
Unfortunately for you dateless wonders, men can’t defensibly go to the movies alone. Not just chick flicks - any movie.
We didn’t have to worry about going to the movies alone for decades. The only thing to do at home before TV blessed our planet was read, listen to Orson Welles scare the hell out of flyover country and tie an onion on your belt, which was the style at the time. Movies gave us an entertaining reason to ignore each other without being rude, except for black people, who consider being quiet in public a violation of their civil rights.
The invention of the idiot box was a double-edged sword. It perverted the movie experience by making the viewing experience commonplace and interruptible by our family members and friends, who think their meandering thoughts are more important than the carefully-scripted dialogue of sitcoms and dramas. It also gave the permajama’d among us a good reason not to put on real clothes and go out for a flick.
But just when men had their most legitimate excuse to see a picture show without a woman or bros in tow, porno theaters sprung up like, well, strange men sitting several seats apart in a porno theater. This forever stained the male act of solo cinematogging.
Be honest: What’s your first thought when you see a man at the movies alone? Possibly pity, certainly suspicion. A man who can’t convince another human being to sit with him in silence, with the possibility of shared laughing, booing and canoodling, must be shady. The last movie I saw by myself in public was “Naked Gun 33 ⅓,” and I had the benefit of being 14 and not yet assumed by society to need the eventual intervention of Chris Hansen.
Women don’t have this problem because they have an understandable need to “get away” from their obligations and “unwind” without downing a bottle of wine on a treadmill. No one thinks of Krusty and Wiggum awkwardly chatting in a seedy theater when a ponytailed chick in a baseball cap and velour sweatpants sits down with the Polygamous Family Size popcorn for “Blue Valentine.” Think of me doing that, and then resist the urge to run to the nearest Safe Place to be comforted.
Like every man named Cain since the first one, those of us with some combination of male genitalia, elevated testosterone and adam’s apples must unfairly forgo the pleasures of the big screen without an entourage. It’s our curse as men.
At least we still earn more than women and can easily evade parental responsibility.
As men, we have several sacred duties, and an untold number of inalienable rights, though certainly those are encumbered with a few responsibilities. But it's the privileges that come with being male that really make it all somehow worth it.
Being able to say and do whatever we want, go where we please, discuss politics and hot women with equal fervor, and barbecue meat even in inclement weather has always been the purview of the Man, the blessings bestowed on him by his Maker and the XY chromosome.
So what's this crap about having to take a date to the movies or you're a pervert? Just because Pee Wee Herman's Big Adventure culminated in an adult theater with his yank exposed doesn't mean every man has the same priorities.
Being alone in a movie theater is a potential sign of sadness, much like eating spaghetti alone or being stranded in space. But it's also a sign of autonomy, of the power of the individual over the dictates of society who is so phobic about being alone that we developed a global network of computers that run social networking platforms so no matter where we are, we always have friends. We're inundated by the advice of our parents and by the television shows we watch, who tell us that we must take the arm of someone, anyone, dammit, just don't be alone or you'll turn into the crazy cat lady or the creepy mustachioed guy who haunts dollar theaters, watching No Strings Attached and Toy Story 3 under shelter of a duster and the dimmed aisle lights.
Men can still be men--real, honest, non-pervy men and watch movies solo, back straight, head high, munching on popcorn, without fear of reprisals or judgments from the unqualified and uneducated jerks three rows back who point and giggle.
Watching a movie is already a solo act anyway. Even with a date, you still end up by yourself, your world and the screen merging, nudging out reality around you.
Of course, a real man knows his boundaries; not every movie is one that should be seen alone. I'm thinking of that arthouse showing of Last Tango in Paris, the rapey Irreversible (or any film by Gaspar Noe for that matter), or most nauseatingly familiar chick flicks. There comes a point when you stop being a man and have essentially grown a vagina; that occurs within ten minutes of From Prada to Nada.
Unless you're absolutely desperate, stick to action staples and Clint Eastwood dramas; for those you'll receive naught but praise from me for exercising your right to be alone.
Just don't masturbate there. Because nothing says "creepy perv" like jacking off to a CGI Yogi Bear.