Monday, 27 July 2015

Lone Cinema Goer | Going to the Cinema by Myself

I posted a tweet on Thursday 16th July. I posed the question; 'Would it be weird if I went to the cinema by myself?' And the tweet got a lot of reaction.

You see, it had been on my mind for a while. That Thursday I had been to see Song of the See in the Light House Cinema, Smithfield. I love that cinema. I hadn't been in years and it felt nice to be back. 
But there was another film Light House were showing that I really wanted to see - Amy. I read every review out there, but that wasn't a good enough substitute. I had to see it for myself.

So I thought: 'Heck, why not just go see it yourself?'

I have a friend who says that going to the cinema by yourself is a good test of how secure you feel in yourself. If you can do that, you are truly independent; you can do anything.

The cinema may be the most unsocial of all socialising options available to people, but it has an intimate feeling to it. I was anxious.

People would stare, I thought. People would judge. It will be embarrassing. They'll be talking about me; the girl who went to the cinema by herself.

But this is why the Light House Cinema works for me - it's small anyway, laid back, the staff are friendly, their cafe is amazing, there's free wifi, the film was on at 6pm so there shouldn't be too many people in the theatre.

So why not?

I told people I was going to do it so I wouldn't back out. (Because backing out would obviously be more embarrassing than being stared at) I had no choice but to go through with it by that morning.

It was Wednesday 22nd July. I arrived at 5.10 pm (I work just around the corner from the cinema). I'm early to everything, but this was planned. I went to the cafe, bought my ticket and ordered a mocha. I tipped the waiter for remembering me from the previous week. I sat down, took out my notebook and started working on a blog post.

'Cafe's on your own aren't so intimidating', I thought. And there I perched for 40 minutes sipping and scribbling away.

At 5.50pm I headed to the Screen (Screen 3 for all you fanatics). Mood check: So far so good. I feel okay.

I was one of the first in and picked a great seat. Then the theatre started fillinf up with pairs. People were arriving in their twos and chatting away. I was starting to feel a little anxious.
I went onto the free wifi and arranged a meet up with a friend for the weekend. See, I was being social too. I started eating my snacks to calm my nerves.

But then a lone cinema goer came in. She seemed unfazed by a crowd of pairs and casually took a seat right in front of me. 'Us loners have to stick together,' I thought. It was an act of solidarity.
Then another lady came in by herself. She sat at the end of my row.

And I realised, in my whole 23 years of going to the cinema, I don't think I'd ever seen a lone cinema goer before. It wasn't that they were a myth, or didn't exist, I just hadn't paid them any attention before.

And the room went dark. The ads and trailers started. And for the next 2 hours I didn't once think about how I was on my own. I forgot there was an empty seat either side of me.

Amy draws you in. From the opening clip of a teenage Winehouse putting her own unique spin on a rendition of 'Happy Birthday', to seeing a body bag carried out of her Camden house a decade later, you can't think of anyhing else. You're surrounded by a personality big enough to fill not only those two seats beside you, but every empty seat in the theatre.
I cried as home videos, paparazzi clips and TV appearances showed a talented young woman self destruct, only to try and put herself back together when it was too late. The tissue in my hand was a mess by the end. And I was glad that I was there on my own.

As soon as I got home I ran straight to the freezer for some ice cream. I needed it. Not to ease the trauma from going to the cinema by myself. But because Amy had left some scars I thought ice cream could heal.


  1. Zoe! Oh my God, I would have gone to see Amy with you haha. I had the same inward battle over Amy. She is one of my all time favourite humans EVER. When I was 13 and I saw her on Jools Holland singing Stronger Than Me I was washed away by her. She opened a whole new world of music up for me.... anyway. I was dying to see it but couldn't get anyone to go. I eventually guilted my boyfriend into coming to see it with me but now I wish I went on my own because I feel bad for making him see something he had no interest in. There was actually a few people at it on there own to be honest.

    1. Aaah I hate that feeling when you drag someone along to something they don't enjoy. Hence why I'm now a keen advocate of lone cinema dates! haha! x

  2. Excellent post, and massive well done for heading on your own! :)

    1. Thanks Mary! It was actually way more enjoyable that I had thought. I just need someone to discuss the movie with me now though...