Ticket for One

Saturday, August 23, 2014 / 7:26 AM

Don Draper gets it.
I really enjoy going to the movies alone.

You probably read that and immediately thought, "That's pathetic" or "Me too!" The truth is: either opinion is totally fine by me. I used to hate doing things alone, especially going to the movies or anything that was public. But since leaving college and hopping across the country alone while moving from busy suburbs to busy cities, I've come to appreciate alone time in any form.

Especially in a "can't stop, won't stop" city like New York City, it's too easy to consider your apartment or your room the only place you can every truly be alone. I think it's very possible to be alone while also being surrounded by people. The subway is a prime example: most commuters have headphones in or their consumed by their phones or tablets, ignoring the crowd around them. I know I'm guilty of this too--but just because I'm squished up against five or six people doesn't mean I want to have a conversation.

Call me anti-social, but I think, deep down, you agree.

Same goes for sitting in a coffee shop (I'm in one now) or riding an elevator. So why should the movie theater be any different? I really did use to feel weird about going to see a movie alone, but now I almost prefer it. I can show up whenever I want without running in to try to meet a friend because I was late (or awkwardly milling about the lobby because my friend is late); if I tear up at a scene or laugh a little too loud, I don't have to discuss it with anyone after the film; and I can stay through the credits if I want to, or leave right when the credits begin. You get to be a little selfish when you go to the movies by yourself, let's be completely honest.

Last weekend, I went to see The Hundred-Foot Journey near Lincoln Center alone, and when I got into the darkened theater, I noticed how many single bodies there were, in seats one or two away from each other. It felt oddly comforting to be alone with others.

I think there's something nice about doing things traditionally seen as group activities alone. It's either making me more independent as a human being, or preparing me to be a cat lady. I haven't yet decided which one it is.

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