Gong Li and Colin Farrell get closer in Miami Vice.
It's summertime summertime sum sum summertime. And after having spent a long and very hot day at the beach, you’ll need to cool down in the evening at your local air-conditioned multiplex. But don’t get caught going to the movies solo. You’ll need a date. But who? The cute lifeguard from chair #19 or the girl who asked you to teach her how to surf? And once you have the date, there’s the additional dilemma of which movie to see?
Miami Vice may be an ideal choice because it has a little something for everyone. But be careful. Women, try not to compare your date to the perfectly-sculpted men (Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx) on screen. Men, try not to get sidetracked by the action in the film and give a little attention to your date. (She probably went out and bought new earrings, for God’s sake – so in between buildings blowing up, complement her on them.)
It’s tough to navigate the minefield that is movie dating. So as a major public service, I’m presenting my own personal list of Dos & Don’ts to consider before taking your favorite guy or gal for a hot night out at the movies.
• Don’t dress like a slob
Going to the movies is a casual affair. You don’t need to dress as stylishly as Crockett & Tubbs, but you still need to look presentable. So don’t show up looking like you’ve been sitting on your couch playing Halo on your Xbox all day, even if that’s exactly what you’ve been doing. A nice shirt and a clean pair of jeans should do the trick. And don’t be afraid to run a comb through your hair.
• Do buy your tickets before you get to the theater
There is nothing worse than showing up at the theater to find your big date movie is sold out. Buying tickets online is the new black. So to impress your date and show her/him you care enough to plan the evening, purchase your tickets before you get there. That way you and your date will be relaxing in your seats laughing about all the suckers standing in line.
• Don’t hog all the popcorn
Sharing popcorn can be as complicated as the Spider-Man/Mary Jane relationship. First of all, it is very important to consult with your date before you dump on extra salt and slather on extra butter. Second, be aware of the number of times your hands are taking a dip into that popcorn bucket. And most importantly, there’s nothing sexy about holding hands with someone whose fingers are dripping in butter, so be sure to grab extra napkins.
• Do compare notes during previews
If this is a first date or early on in the relationship, you can get a good sense of the other person’s likes and dislikes from the comments he or she makes about the trailers for upcoming movies. Sure, you don’t want to bother those around you, but a simple “looks good” or “thumbs down” after a trailer is okay. And if your date is a little too fascinated about the murderous details of an upcoming serial killer movie, you’ll know then that this date should be your last.
• Don’t keep asking “who is he/she/that?”
If you don’t know what’s going on at the beginning of the movie, chances are your date doesn’t either. Just sit back, be entertained and be patient. You’ll have your answers soon enough.
• Don’t fall asleep during the movie
This one is pretty self explanatory. This is the fastest way to ensure you’re not getting a kiss at the end of the night. Then again it’s the perfect strategy if you don’t want a second date.
• Do whisper if you must update your date on what he/she missed while in the bathroom
If your date has missed a major plot detail (emphasis on MAJOR) while in the rest room, I think it’s acceptable to whisper a QUIET five-word-maximum description of the event that took place on screen. Warning: This might not make you popular with those around you, so make sure you keep it quiet and avoid going into detail about who was wearing what or the type of assault weapon the villain had.
• Don’t talk about how hot Colin Farrell looked on screen
Even if you’re thinking it, you don’t want your date to feel inadequate. If you go on and on about Colin’s obvious sex appeal, his tousled long hair, smoldering looks and rock-hard abs… wait, what were we talking about? Oh right, proper date behavior. While Colin’s pecs may be critical to your enjoyment of Miami Vice, this vital information is better discussed with your girlfriends at brunch the following morning. (Note: the same thing applies to Gong Li’s love scenes.)
• Don’t get in a shouting match with those around you
We’ve all sat next to the person who answers their cell phone in the middle of the movie or in front of a person who kicks your seat. If your neighbor continues the behavior after you’ve asked them to stop, don’t fly off the handle with movie rage – simply ask your date if he or she wouldn’t mind moving seats, and/or alert the theater management. After all “moviegoing rage”, much like road rage, isn’t a quality most people want to see in a prospective mate.
• Do give your honest opinion when the movie is over
If you liked or hated the movie, just say so. Don’t wait until you hear your date’s opinion before you decide what you thought. And give specifics about what you liked and which characters or lines were your favorite. This is a great opportunity to open a dialogue about the film (or the nuances of a certain performance) rather than the standard conversation of “Did you like it?” “Yeah, did you?” “Yeah,” followed by an uncomfortable and sometimes painful silence as you walk to the car.
• Don’t dump your date until after you have exited the parking structure
A friend of mine wanted to dump his girlfriend on the ride home from the movie theater. He did it as soon as they got into the car, but he didn’t anticipate the long wait to exit the parking structure, as a number of movies had let out at the same time. Suffice it to say he sat in that car for the next forty-five minutes inching up the exit ramp with his now ex-girlfriend crying next to him. Awkward.
Sure, these rules don’t apply to everyone – but they should get you thinking about the proper etiquette for what may be the first of many dates to come. After all, to paraphrase the last line of Casablanca, “this could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.”
Sarah Mc Laughlin has been writing for various television sitcoms for the past six years, including the hit Fox TV show That ‘70s Show where she was executive story editor. She is also a freelance entertainment reporter/columnist for iVillage and various movie sites. Sarah welcomes comments at the email address below -- particularly from young, hot Colin Farrell lookalikes.
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