I walk slowly to my seat in the back row with some form of chocolate candy in my hand or maybe an ice cream bar. I sit down with a sense of anticipation that is slightly more than subtle. The lights turn down and I am ready to be liberated for about two hours more or less. I am ready to be overwhelmed by art. The screen is gigantic, the sound is excessively loud and I am in my comfort zone. For I am, once again, in the movie theater by myself.
I see movies by myself so often at this point that it almost feels weird to see a movie with someone else. When I do there’s always that awkward moment afterwards when I have to talk to the person about what I’ve seen as opposed to just thinking about it for hours and hours. And even way before I get to that point I usually have to explain why it is that I like what I like. Why I’m never into Hollywood Blockbusters. Why I like independent movies, foreign movies, documentaries and musicals. Why I want to see Lala Land instead of the new Will Smith movie. Why do I want to see Fences in the theater again especially since I’ve seen the play twice and read it as well. Why do I enjoy seeing movies in Foreign languages that I will never know how to speak. Over the past 30 plus years I have realized that I am very weird. And ever since I graduated from college I have stopped trying to play my weirdness down in order to fit in with other people. Fuck other people. I do things by myself because I love myself and I deserve it. If strange things bring me joy, then so be it. I don’t need anyone to use their mockery or fake interest in an effort to tag along with me. Let me sit down in the very back row gorging on a Toblerone with my feet up all by my god damn self. Let me have my space: please! I promise I’ll be a more sociable person as soon as the end credits roll up.
And then there is the price. In terms of dating if I have to pay $12.00 to get into a movie I really don’t want to pay someone else’s way. Especially not a date. As far as I’m concerned United Artists killed chivalry when they raised the price of a movie ticket to over $8.00. Then once you add the exorbitant price of popcorn and a drink, I’m cool. As a matter of fact, I’m hella cool. I’m not treating you. No disrespect but I would rather sit in my dark lit up place concerned only with the development of plot and an actor’s ability to pull off an accent, not with my finances.
So, when you’re with your crew or your boo and you see me in the back of the theater by myself with my beanie cap down low, don’t feel sorry for me—just understand that I am taking care of myself and self-care is a must.
I build too many walls or maybe I should consider them to be barbed wire fences. People try to climb them but always get cut trying to hurl themselves over the top. I never liked the idea of people getting too close to me. I never liked the idea of getting too close to other people. I’ve never felt honored when a woman asked me to meet her family. I’ve never enjoyed hanging out with a woman and her female friends. I’ve always believed that the most beautiful thing in the world is a woman who can stand alone.
After graduating from college even though I got excellent marks I distinctly remember feeling like a failure. I was upset with myself because I hadn’t found a wife. So I decided to get one. I began paying special attention to a woman who worked with me. She was about a year older than I was and by anyone’s account “had her life together.” She was educated, she was religious, she was from a good family, and she had great job prospects. One day I randomly caught her by herself in town and decided to make myself plain to her on the spot. I told her I thought she was beautiful and that I was getting too old to play games and that I thought she would make a perfect bride and more importantly I was a man that she would be able to depend on forever.
She blushed and then took a deep breath. When she responded she spoke of steps. Multiple steps. I would have to get in good with her family, I would have to be approved of by her best friend, I would have to befriend her pastor, I would have to attend her church, it would take a lot of time, and then it still wouldn’t be guaranteed. She would have to give it up to god. After she finished I shared my philosophy with her. I told her that I love the fact that she can stand alone. I asked her why couldn’t we just solidify our love first and let everything else fall into place later. The girl looked me in my eyes and said; “You know that’s what the devil does? He always wants to get people by themselves.” I walked away from that conversation without a clear understanding of what had just taken place and further away from getting a wife than I had ever been.
For a long time I was confused about what it takes to find a life-partner and now I’m just scared. I’m scared because I’m no longer confused. With each passing year I become more content with the thought that I may never get married. As more and more of my friends prepare to walk down the aisle I continue to erect a series of fences. Each one doing its part to protect my inner-solitude. They say that hell is burning somewhere behind a gate but then heaven has its gate as well. I don’t know which one of these places I am closest to and I’m not sure that I care.