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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Are movies good for a first date?

CNN.com posed this question the other day in a “lifestyle” article, and it seems like the perfect QOTD for us:

Are movies good for a first date?

Not for me: I don’t want to go to a movie with someone I don’t know well, and I certainly don’t want to go with someone when the point of being together is to try to get to know each other. I go to the movies to watch the movie, to really concentrate on the movie itself — I don’t want to be distracted (not even in a good way) by the person I’m with.

For subsequent dates, a movie might be okay, because how a person talks about a movie afterward — can he articulate why he reacted to it the way he did, or is he only capable of saying, “I liked it” or “I hated it” and nothing else? — can be a pretty good indication of how he deals with a lot more things beyond movies

Ideally, though, movie dates are best when you know for sure in advance that you’ll be able to have a good argument about it afterward… especially if it’s one of those arguments where you end up agreeing with each other in the end.

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me.)

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  • Jen

    In high school I loved the “movie, then dinner” date specifically because it ensured you would have something to discuss over the meal. The film you had just seen could serve as a springboard for all kinds of conversations you might not otherwise get to have in the early stages of a relationship.

    The unfortunate souls who tried to talk to me during the movie, made lots of distracting noise, or otherwise failed as movie-going companions? They never even got to dinner.

  • Movies are a lousy choice for a first date because they eliminate conversation. (Of course some people may do better if there is no conversation.)

    There does need to be a movie date early on, though, because if I discover my date is a movie talker, it’s gonna be over fast. How someone watches movies is pretty important to me, as it probably is to most of your readers.

    Do they like black and white movies? Do they complain when it’s out of focus? Do they like to sit middle-to-back of the theater?

  • I actually love using a movie as a first date. It’s part of my screening process. Of course it’s pointless unless there’s drinks/coffee/dinner afterwards, so we can discuss the movie. But I have dodged quite a few bullets by going to a movie with a guy on the first date… anyone who thinks it’s ok to talk during the movie, or try to otherwise distract me, is not going to make it to date number two.

  • markyd

    Yeah, I’m not big on the first date being a movie. I’ve done it before, of course, but it really doesn’t make much sense. I feel uncomfortable sitting in a dark theater next to someone I hardly know. I’m very serious about my movie-watching, so distractions are a no-no.
    I’m married ten years tomorrow to a girl who asked ME out to a movie for our first date. I’d say that worked out pretty well.
    I agree with Mary Ann about the “I liked it” / I didn’t like it” people. My wife is one of those! Thank jeebus for the interwebnet, otherwise my need for movie discussion might have ruined our relationship. I don’t get people who watch a movie, then never say a word about it afterwords.

  • Bill

    Usually not my first choice. However, if during the discussion leading up to that first date I discover that she is a huge movie fan and really excited to see Charlie Kaufman’s “Zombie Vampires from Ice Planet Delta”, then it’s a go and we can get married in a church if it means so much to her mother. It’s nice to see new people in their element. If she’s all jacked to see the latest Matthew Mcconaughey-Kate Hudson adventure, I might suggest dinner and drinks as an alternative. I might also give her a phone number with 6 digits.

  • joey

    Well my partner and I actually..were movie buddies before we started dating, so our “first date” being a movie (“We Own The Night”, which neither of us liked that much) and dinner (at my favorite pre- or post-movie eatery, Mario The Baker – the cannelloni rocks and the garlic rolls are the best in FL) the was entirely by accident.

    But generally, my past first dates have been at bars, coffee shops, or me cooking for somebody at my house.

  • Paul

    My ex-wife didn’t see the point in a movie if it wasn’t worth intellectual discussion afterwards. She felt much the same way about books, too. So a few years after the divorce, when I found out a woman was a big fan of a certain writer, I read that writer’s short story collection, but when I went to talk to her about it, it turns out she prefers to just read for fun.

    I used to subscribe to the “movie is the perfect first date theory because it stimulates conversations” theory, but I’m not as shy as I used to be and now I generally don’t ask a woman out unless I think I’d enjoy hanging out with her at a cafe for a couple of hours, which is my new first date theory.

  • JasonJ

    Movie as first date = bad idea. First date needs to be an interactive daytime activity, people are more natural and “themselves”. The Dinner automatically puts people into Make Myself Look Good mode. If I were to sense a woman was of the “Needs the expensive dinner” variety, I’ll pass. If a woman is of the bar or nightclub variety, I’ll pass. I did that stuff in my early 20’s, then grew up. Bar/nightclub + woman in late 30’s/early 40’s = sad woman trying to re-live youth. I’ll pass.

    As much as I hate to say it, my wife is a movie talker, but she is getting better. She also reads a lot so I started randomly talking while she is reading, and the message has been received.

    After we watch a movie, she asks for a 1-10 rating, we both give our ratings, then discuss it. Oddly enough, as intellectual and educated as she is, her most recent favorite movie is “Tropic Thunder”. Yes, it’s an awesome movie, but usually her definition of awesome movie and mine is slightly different. She won’t do zombie movies, she will try out sci-fi but generally neutral about them, she is okay with comic hero adaptations and is pretty good with well made comedy, but her preference is non-fiction and “serious” movies. Me, I like all genres of movies, so it works well. I can watch my robots, explosions, and zombies in peace, and she gets company when watching the “serious” stuff.

  • Paul

    JasonJ: Maybe your wife’s education means she gets more of the jokes? When I saw Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure in high school, I laughed harder than may friends because I was a history buff (it’s a time travel parody). At the same time, when B&T’s Bogus Journey came out, I only laughed once, and at that time I was the only one laughing, because I caught a Star Trek sight gag no one else did.

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