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Why You Should Go to the Movies Alone

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Think Pieces | May 20, 2015 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Think Pieces | May 20, 2015 |

In the Mad Max: Fury Road review last week, a number of you glorious commenters noted that you really wanted to see the movie but that you couldn’t find anyone to go with, that significant others (for the most part, sometimes friends) simply didn’t want to go and that left you being that guy. Or girl. Or however else you might identify. You do you. But not in public in theaters. Anna Kendrick has taught us that much.

By my count, I have reviewed somewhere around a hundred movies for Pajiba. And by “by my count” I mean a vaguely plausible number that I just made up. I went and saw exactly three of them with other people. And I’ve only gone to the theaters twice in the last six years when I wasn’t reviewing a movie. So it’s not just a selection bias thing. I just don’t do movies with other people. Haven’t since I was a teenager and that was a thing to do on Friday nights with your friends to get out of the house.

I eat in restaurants alone, I sit in coffee shops alone, I take walks alone, and yes, I go to movies alone.

When thinking about applying to the gauntlet of graduate school, an advisor warned me that graduate school was lonely. He said that you’d spend most of your days by yourself with your books, that no matter how many friends you had outside of your life’s work, your work itself would always be solitary. Some people can’t handle this. Some people I’ve spoke to are horrified by the notion of having a telecommuting job, because they can’t imagine not seeing people all day every day. My reaction to the warning was not just lack of concern, but a dawning joy that there could be such an existence.

Being alone doesn’t mean that you’re lonely, but society sure thinks it does most of the time. And so there are the looks, the unsolicited conversations from people who feels sorry for you but only accomplish irritating the living shit out of you.

If you don’t like going out alone, I’m not criticizing you or saying that you’re wrong in the way you enjoy yourself. But if you don’t like going out alone because of what other people might think? Screw them, walk tall and alone, and sprawl out by yourself at Mad Max. Because life’s too short to be bothered with people who guilt you for enjoying it the wrong way.

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Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.