Here’s the thing:
While you may learn that your date likes action movies, you aren’t going to find out what he thinks while you are both looking at the big screen. Movie dates are a great way to get close, but not intimate by sitting together in the dark. You’ll get a good look at his profile, but what you want is to look into his eyes.
Mark Amundsen in his Top 10 Movie Date Mistakes points out other ways that a movie date isn’t the best choice when you are trying to make a connection with a man. There are pros to movie dates though: if you are a bit shy, it can give you a chance to become more relaxed in a man’s presence before opening up about your feelings. Discussing the movie afterward gives you something to talk about if you are a bit nervous. If you go to the movies for the first date, make sure that your second date brings you face to face across a table.
The advantages of going to the movies on a date — especially a first date — are well-known. You can spend some time getting to know the other person without having to scramble to think of ways to keep the conversation flowing. You can sit in the dark, where (for a little while, anyway) you don’t have to worry about whether you have spinach in your teeth. And if you’re 14 and it’s 1962, you can make out in the balcony.
“A lot of times it’s considered too cliché to go to the movies on a first date,” says Karin Anderson, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and counselor of education at Concordia University Chicago and author of It Just Hasn’t Happened Yet: Bogus, Ridiculous, Absurd Explanations as to Why You’re Still Single and How to Deal with Them…Plus a Few Silly Things We Do to Ourselves. “But if you meet someone in a restaurant or for a drink, there can be extended lulls and gaps in the conversation. The movie gives you something to talk about at those times.”
But as Allen’s story shows, there are several pitfalls that can turn a fab film date into a flop… here are ten to watch out for:
1. Arriving late.
A restaurant may hold your reservation for 15 minutes or so, but the movies must go on, so don’t count on previews and ads to be your buffer. Some people hate coming in late on a movie, and your date may be one of them. (And as Allen’s story above clearly shows, it helps to make sure you find the right theater in the multiplex when you do get there.)
2. Being unprepared to pay for the tickets.
“If you invited a date to the movie, you pay, unless you’ve made it clear that you’re each paying for yourselves — which makes it seem a little less like a date,” says Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., psychotherapist and author of several books, including The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again. “It’s great if you get the tickets beforehand. Movies used to be a cheap date, but not anymore.” According to the National Association of Theatre Owners, the average U.S. ticket price in 2010 was $7.89 — it’s not limo-and-orchids money, but make sure you have the dough first. Dr. Tessina recommends that if your date pays for the tickets, you should offer to buy the popcorn and drinks. And no matter who’s paying, don’t criticize the other person’s snack preference.
3. Arguing over which movie to see together.
This is a big one. Loving couples who have been together for a long time can argue over which movie to see, but not you. “Fighting about the topic might be a red flag waving,” says Dr. Anderson. “Flexibility is a good idea, especially early on. Part of being in a relationship involves compromise.” Your date may want to avoid a movie for any reason — he or she might be a vampire-phobe, for example, or someone who gets headaches watching 3-D movies—and these issues should be respected.
April Masini, author of such books as Date Out of Your League and Think & Date Like a Man, offers these guidelines for the kind of movie to choose, especially on first dates.
Films to avoid:
- Those with excessive violence. “It may not even be gratuitous, but it won’t put her in the mood for love,” says Masini. “Trust me.”
- Those featuring excessive sex and/or nudity. “It doesn’t matter if the sex scenes are tastefully done; if it’s more than she was bargaining for, she’s going to possibly think you’re a pervert to be avoided.”
- Kiddie flicks. “Unless she really wants to see a G-rated movie, or one that’s animated, stick to PG films. It’s not that they’re more risqué — they’re more mature in content for the most part.”
Do you like movie dates, or would you rather spend time face to face? Let us know.