I Love Doing Social Stuff Alone

drinking alone

Dewar's and I don't want to make you uncomfortable with our PDAs

A few days ago, our friend Jenni at Crushable wrote that she’d gone to see a movie alone. She remarked:

Someone asked me which seat next to me was open (spoiler alert: they both were!).

“Oh she’s here alone!”

Like, thank you for telling everyone I’m alone at the movies. As if this entire experience hadn’t already convinced me to go home and give all my money to eHarmony, the look of pity and shame from my fellow movie goes was enough to make me sign up right then and there.

I had to cut off there, because I needed to go see a movie alone. Again. Like always. Because I go to see a movie alone every single week. I’ve now seen that thing about Wallis and Edward three times, and The Iron Lady twice, but the fact that I’m compulsive and only love dramas set in old timey Britain is not the point. The point is that seeing movies alone is the best! In fact, doing alone a lot of stuff you’re supposed to do socially is the best. Here’s why. Also, it’s entirely possible that I am just a cold-hearted bitch with no friends, so keep that in mind throughout:

Seeing movies alone is great.

I sort of hate seeing movies with other people (I will go with Ashley, but it’s taken six years of friendship to get there) for a few reasons. Let’s break them down

1) Other people are always talking, just gibber jabbering like drunk parrots. Movies are a time for quiet reflection. They’re the best escape from the outside world you’ve got if you’re the kind of person who is too anxious to meditate. They’re the perfect combination of doing nothing and doing something. Do you know what shatters that pleasant meditative state immediately? Someone saying “oh, wait, is she a bad guy now? Because she’s talking to that Russian dude?” “Let’s be quiet, and we will find out together.” You’re not allowed to say that. People think you’re a bitch if you say that.

2) I like to smuggle in a homemade cookie in my purse into the movie theater. Partly because it makes me feel like I am some sort of super-spy who chats with all the Russian dudes, and partly because all of the food they give you in movie theaters is ridiculously large and borderline inedible. I like to eat the cookie by myself, because I brought it for me. When people go with you to the movies, you pull out that cookie and they always ask to share, and you can’t say “no, this is my food, for me. For my belly. NOM NOM NOM AM COOKIE MONSTER.” Sharing with accquaintances is the worst, especially when their “trade” is over-salted stale popcorn. When people do this, it makes me want to bring human entrails in my purse, like Hannibal Lecter would. That’s a really dark place to be at halfway through the previews.

3) I want to pick my own seat. I want it to be an aisle seat three rows down from the top row. I like that seat because it means I have more leg room, and I don’t have to walk over anyone if I want to go the bathroom. Also, I don’t like having to tilt my head back to see the movie, because it gives me a crick in my neck. You want a middle seat five rows away from the screen? I hate you, and think you are dumb, now. Sorry it had to come to this, former friend.

4) I don’t want to have to spend the last 10 minutes of the movie formulating an opinion/witticism about it to share with anyone. Immediately after a movie, I just want to cling to my “not worrying about the real world” haze for as many minutes as I can. I don’t want to begin the dissection process for a good hour. But if you go to the movies with someone, the first words out their mouths will almost always be “what did you think?” and you will have to reply “bon-mot I just stole from Dorothy Parker.” That’s how I play it, anyway. And Dorothy Parker only has so many to steal (so after you see 144 movies with a person, you’re done).

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    • JaneM

      How do you do your eye makeup? It looks amazing.

      • Jennifer Wright

        In solitary splendor, clearly. It’s Tom Ford cream metallic eyeshadow (from the spring 2012 line) and it… is great. I used Platinum on the lids, Spice on the crease. You put it on with a brush. I feel like I should have more to contribute, here.

    • porkchop

      We have a lot in common, movie-watching wise, and I’m sure I’ll feel a sense of companionship the next time I’m in a movie by myself, not wishing anyone else was there.

      Also, don’t drink and write!

      • Jennifer Wright

        I hold that drinking and writing is the best, as long as you always edit sober.

        Also, the next time I am at a movie alone, stretching out my feet in my favorite row, I will think of you, and it will be like we are there together.

    • Amanda Chatel

      I prefer to do lots of things alone… especially because of that gibber jabbering of which you speak.

      I also love to drink alone. I get to listen to my records while wearing dresses only fit for balls or weddings. And when the best part of a song comes on, I don’t have to try to convince someone else how much “these lyrics are totally about ME and MY life!” Because I’m already aware that every love song was written with me in mind… obviously.

    • G

      Man the people you hang out with seem really annoyingl. I feel like the “jibber-jabber” happens with no one but co-workers. Either that, or I have the most awesome friends in the world who not only think its stupid to talk when you don’t have something intelligent or new to say but also do not believe in awkward silence.

      ..Also do NOT read Hunger Games during your lunch hour. Because you will look up and all of a sudden it with be ‘lunch 3-hours’.

    • MR

      You know I wasn’t able to see W.E. yet. There’s this avant-garde movie theatre up here I go to all the time, now afterwork during weekdays. I guess Madonna didn’t call them? :) They still have ‘Iron Lady’ though, so based on your addiction I’ll go see that now. I can do it either way, alone or with someone. Hmm, I only have stiff drinks when I’m arguing politics with my family. My brother likes the strong stuff, and it puts us both on the same wavelength when we’re tag teaming our parents. But yeah, it’s nice to have some nice wine to unwind a little; it’s after that when I read before I go to bed. Yeah, I always save the crazy stuff for the weekends. I think Amanda calls this maturity? :)

      • Jennifer Wright

        Wine + reading in bed = the best. W.E. = not that great, honestly, so you’re not missing much, unless you have an absurd addiction to 1930′s costumes.

      • MR

        I did find the movie’s trailer and I thought its cinematography, including the costumes, looked interesting. I always like that style aspect of a film taking place somewhere else in history. Used to be only the British filmakers would go there.

      • Amanda Chatel

        Hello?! MR! I’m right here!

        And yeah… I do call that maturity. It’s Monday night and I’m already half in the bag on red wine… but I’m on vacation, so it’s OK. (Although if I wasn’t on vacay, I’d still be half in the bag.) Red wine = weekdays. Endless shots of the hard stuff = Thursday thru Sunday.

      • MR

        Come on Amanda, you need to slow down a little. I found out a long time ago, the more I drank the more it took to get a buzz on. Wine’s got a decent kick, and a lot more variety, and you can go up and down the buzz scale depending on the volume you drink. You got the greatest wine rack at your finger tips – it’s called France. :) What’s the exchange rate now? I could look it up but I got you. I know it’s not great, but it’s a good thing you weren’t there when it was 1.41 – that is just before Greece’s euro debt unraveled the second time.

      • Amanda Chatel

        Actually I’m not sure of the exact exchange rate (numbers aren’t my thing) – but my $300 only got me 210 euros back… so not very good.

      • MR

        That’s okay, it was in the data I was reading on the stock market this morning. It was at $1.31 per euro before the US market opened today. You don’t like numbers? How about I got roughly three quarters of the current market jump, 2.3% of 3%. Yeah, I waited til Greece’s euro debt restructuring, bond swap was almost locked in; cost me 0.7%, yeah one day’s action. Still nothing to complain about, not bad for 3 and half market days. Is your head spinning now? :) I suggest you price your next euro purchase at other places, and don’t be afraid to walk into a bank and see what they’re quoting there. You are currently buying at almost $1.43 per euro right now. Don’t expect to get a euro for $1.31, but I think you’ll be able to do better. I was looking for a quote that includes the transaction cost, but couldn’t find one. Even with that you’re still too high at $1.43 per euro. Again you need some competition to sort out the blood suckers.

      • MR

        Well Jennifer – seeing ‘The Iron Lady’ now, I don’t know what to say – but I’m going to say it anyhow. :) I understand why Streep won best actress. Yeah, seeing Thatcher so weak was sad, but there was such strength in her weakness. The image of her in that last scene, with the movie credits going, said it all. Also I forgot about when the IRA almost assassinated her. She didn’t take shit from anybody, and said come and get me. But that scene when you’re suddenly made aware that her husband isn’t actually there. I thought that was the best. Did I miss anything? After seeing it a second time, were you still disappointed?

      • Jennifer Wright

        Re: Iron Lady – but MR, she’s still alive! And she was a woman who conducted her entire life placing a premium on dignity. Surely, if she was in her right mind she would really not like to be seen this way. And we don’t know that she spends her days making small talk with a hallucination of her dead husband – that’s speculation.

        What I love most about Thatcher isn’t her policies (I actually disagree with many of them) but the fact that in situations when many women (and men) would have devolved into hysterics she was able to pull herself together and carry on without missing a beat. And to take someone who was so dignified and depict them as listlessly washing tea-cups and making small talk with a ghost, well, it just really rubs me the wrong way.

    • Bob

      You look like Alison Brie. I love Sinatra. Just saying.

      • MR

        Jennifer, you’re points are all good. I guess I crossed over to Reagan and his mental state toward the end – that is, as he declined under the weight of his alzheimers. You see Nancy hid him so nobody saw him that way, but people talked. So I didn’t see it the way, you’re seeing it, but I understand the fiction vs reality. All those white male Tory (conservative party) scenes where she’s the only woman, even when she was young. I mean her receiving the honor only Lloyd George and Churchill, Britain’s prime ministers during the two world wars. She was a boxing heavyweight. My Grams is 96 years old, ten years older than Thatcher, I was checking and they almost have the same birthday, only two days apart. Her mind’s sharper than Thatcher’s in the film, but she’s old; it’s part of life. I totally saw Thatcher’s dignity- even in the film’s semi-fiction helpless state, she showed only strength to me.

      • MR

        Bob, sorry for the confusion. I was replying to Jennifer’s response to me on ‘The Iron Lady’ and did it here accidently.

    • Arnie

      It pleases me greatly that I am not alone in loving to do things by myself.

      The other thing I really hate doing with other people is shopping. It takes five times as long, you get pressured into buying stuff you don’t want, and you have to traipse around forever with friends who have completely different tastes in clothes, and don’t want to spend half an hour in the Lego store.

      • Jennifer Wright

        Jesus Christ, I hate shopping with people. Shopping time is clearly private time. The only time you should be shopping with someone is if some kind of old timey oil baron is running around after you buying you diamonds, and frankly, even that seems like it has the potenial to be awkward.

      • LaLa

        Ugh, shopping with people is the worst! That is, unless I’m picking out what they should be wearing. Because I feel like the world would be a better place if I could pick out everyone’s outfit. Well, at least the world would be much more elegant looking. However, my friends won’t let me use them as my personal playthings (Damn it, why won’t they listen?!). So most of the time yeah, shopping with others is the WORST!!

      • Kimberly

        I love shopping alone too! I get to look at what I want to look at without feeling guilty.

    • LaLa

      I love doing things by myself. Going to movies alone is the best. I always feel like I have to explain things or make comments if I’m with my friends. I don’t want that pressure! I just want to sit back, relax, and eat my own snacks. Also, eating alone is awesome. Although, I didn’t discover how awesome it was till I had a kid. I HATE sharing food. But I feel like I can’t tell her to get her grubby little four-year-old hands off my chicken salad. Eating alone = problem solved! Also, I just get along with me really well. And it’s nice to have time with my best friend (i.e. myself)

    • Marissa

      I love going to the movies by myself! When I was a kid, I didn’t want to watch Dances with Wolves with my parents and went by myself to see Home Alone. Poor parenting on their part? Maybe. But maybe not…I learned to do things alone early on.

      Eating alone, going to the movies alone, shopping alone, running alone…Solitary experiences are incredibly freeing.

    • Lauren

      I like doing most things alone as well. Eating lunch alone is probably my favorite during the work day. You are talking to people all day, it’s nice to just sit down and have a nice quiet meal of cupcakes and tea while reading. It’s the only time of day I’m completely alone with no one to bother me.

      In addition to these 3, and shopping that a commenter mentioned (I’m way to lazy to go back and look up the name), I also like going to the gym alone. I hate when people try to talk to me while I’m working out. I like to be focused on the work out or I’m not getting much out of it. I just want to put in my ear buds and not talk the entire time I’m there.

    • Rebekah Mae

      I love doing things alone. Especially going to concerts, there’s just something nice about not feeling like you have to shout over the sound of everyone else when the band is setting up. I also like eating alone, mainly because it gives me time to think and I always feel like people are watching me eat which makes me really uncomfortable.

    • Michelle

      I wonder, are you an only child? I am and I enjoy doing many things alone. Such as eating in a restaurant and watching some movies. I have friends who were quite put off when they first learned this about me. I was surprised that they were not comfortable with solitary meals and other such pursuits.

      I just wondered if maybe part of it was due to being a “singleton”?

      • Jennifer Wright

        I am an only child! I didn’t consider that, but yes, I think that probably plays into it a lot.

      • Erica

        I grew up in a very large family and love doing things alone. Guess it works both ways.

    • Jennifer Dziura

      Allow me to add travel. What is the point of seeing Europe if you are just dragging another American around with you? You cannot generally just walk wherever inspiration takes you; your plane ticket cost the same but now you have to agree on restaurants with someone else, so why bother; and you will be spotted as tourists 500% faster.

    • Erica

      #4! That’s all I need to not want to go to a movie with someone. I actually tell them afterward so they’ll shut up about picking apart some stupid movie that you shouldn’t pick apart anyway.

    • G

      One Halloween–it fell on a weekday–I bought a bunch of seasonal beer and pizza and watched Hocus Pocus and Nightmare Before Christmas by my drunk self. It was awesome.

    • GentleMatt

      I know I’m missing the point of this article, but now I just really want to go to the movies with you. Because, I usually do go alone, and it feels like, going with you would be just like that, only with a beautiful woman with shiny hair by my side.

      • Jennifer Wright

        Gentlematt, I am 100% sure that I would be happy to sit in a separate row of the same movie theater with you, and not talk. But we could wave to each other, maybe.

    • Sara F

      I used to go to rock concerts alone when I was younger. It was such a thrilling experience to let loose and join complete strangers in a ritual of thrashing, moshing, head banging, screaming, shoving, and circle pitting without the cotillion crowd around! I also enjoyed leaving my court shoes and pearls behind for a change while wearing edgier outfits featuring high top tennis shoes and spiky accessories! After a few hours of revelry, performance, celebration, and the occasional trip to the convenient local hospital down the street, it was always nice to quietly reflect on the evening while polishing my Mary Janes and ironing my twill blazer.

    • annie

      jennifer if thats ur pic i can say wow i love ur nose. the whole make up awesome girl.
      i also use lingerie and shit, i do that alone. why. it makes me feel sexy and i dont want a man looking at my fats, real or imagined.

    • Meredith

      I am right there with you on eating alone and drinking alone. I love going to restaurants by myself with a book. As for going to the movies alone…I am that person, the talking one, that you hate. I ask questions. A lot of them. But my friends that I go to the movies with know this, and they don’t hate me for it. After all, I own a lot of big tote bags that allow for the sneaking-in of not only homemade cookies, but Speedway-bought half Coke/half cherry 40 oz. slushies.

    • Anna

      Haha, I totally agree. I love doing things alone too. Especially shopping. I never understood how you can possibly shop together. Ha!


    • Melanie

      Not to sound like a commercial or anything, but a Kindle (or any other kind of e-reader) is super awesome for eating/reading simultaneously. :)

    • Lori

      I see I’m not the only one who enjoys doing things alone. I love reading while I eat, and I like seeing movies alone, too. I also enjoy them with friends, but I’m perfectly happy to see them alone.

    • sweetpea

      Im an only child (well, only adult now lol!!) and i loved doing things by myself. I remember as a kid i wanted to see a movie alone ( i was about 15) and my mother thought i was crazy! Why would you want to go ALONE?? she asked.
      I`m with the author for all the same reasons…nothings worse than trying to read, people can see that you`re trying to read, but they still insist on talking to you.

    • Lisa

      “Let’s be quiet, and we will find out together.”

      haha that’s so me.