Before “Netflix and Chill” there was dinner and a movie, the popular default setting for the first date, and for good reason. Dinner allows you to observe how your date eats (very important) and whether or not they can leave their phone alone, allowing you to decide if it’s a deal breaker. A movie allows you to observe how they process the magic of cinema and whether they can leave their phone alone, allowing you to decide whether it’s a deal breaker also. But the cinema experience is ever changing, or stagnating, if you’re cynical. So the question is, is the cinema still the dating hotspot it used to be?
Now at a first glance, it’s worth remembering that the cinema is a renowned perfect place for a first date. There’s no expectations of small talk, you’re able to assess a number of things about your date, such as whether they are polite, can sit still during a movie, how loud their chewing is and how tactile they are in public. All of these are important ,and if the film experience is good, then you can enjoy the magic of cinema in comfort. But if the film isn’t particularly engaging then you may find other couples might find more interest in each other. This is a potential problem– a design flaw that goes back right to cinema’s inception.
A movie allows you to observe how they process the magic of cinema and whether they can leave their phone alone, allowing you to decide whether it’s a deal breaker
Film theatres have always tried to get couples in and it was definitely appealing even if the choice of film wasn’t appealing. It was an unlit space where you could often go as far as you wanted. This may sound absurd but this was part of the advertising, as evidenced by the existence of the 1919 hit song – Take your girlie to the movies (if you can’t make love at home). And since sex was one of the biggest selling points of cinema, it’s unsurprising that the viewing environment was made to encourage it from the Nickelodeon to the drive-in (that place characters went to in Season 1 of Riverdale). As a filmgoer a word of advice: if you’re feeling strong attraction, then a cinema isn’t the place to express it, and if you’re able to control yourself, then be wary around Valentines cinema season that others may not have such restraint.
If the film isn’t particularly engaging then you may find other couples might find more interest in each other
So having worked out how affectionate you want to be in a theatre the next thing is to choose your film. Now Valentines has become an interesting time of year for movie releases, because as well as the rom-coms and the Fifty Shades movies which contain neither rom nor com there’s usually a more interesting pick such as Her (2014) Deadpool (2016) and in the case of this year, Black Panther which will offer more interesting experiences for your date. Choose a film you both will at least like seeing and at the very least be able to trash talk afterwards. If possible your best bets are often late night screenings with fewer people as the experience of an empty cinema is one to treasure without all the various distractions such as loud food, rude audience members as well as their phone lights, conversations or their ‘witty’ commentary.
Now at this point it is fair to say that the above mentioned problems are often numerous and that while you can have fun at the cinema, you sometimes may have to do with others believing they can do, say or eat whatever they want in your proximity and not care. It’s a public place and people can be people in said spaces. So it’s a risk for a first date, or if you’re in hopes of a romantic evening. But it can also be a beautiful night out, you and someone special taking in something special, a film, together and doing so in the environment it was designed for regardless of how persuasive Netflix’s argument seems. In the end it’s up to you, some movie dates can be terrible for any number of reasons, and sometimes it’s just right and you have a nice time, maybe finding the right moment to hold your date’s hand, ask them to be your partner in crime/love and enjoy the power of celluloid as for 90+ minutes you are transported from your world and into a new one.