My trip to the museum for my just-for-me thing looks like it’s going to turn into a movie with a friend. I was taking a look at movies so that I could provide some suggestions about what we should see (World According to M Tip 1: When you are in a situation like this, go in with an idea of acceptable-to-you options, so you’re not starting from scratch. In this case, I know about when we want to go, about where in town we’d want to be, and some things about where my friend and I have interests in common. I also know what I am interested in seeing, and what I’m less interested in. Instead of starting with “oh, I don’t know, what’s out?” the conversation starts with “We could see this here at this time or there at that time, or we could try this other option at this time.” It’s less casual, but I find it less frustrating, as I’m a very decisive person but don’t like to steamroll others.) Our afternoon out is not a date (she’s married and we’re both heterosexual), but it got me to thinking about guys I’ve dated and their reaction to my movie-choosing protocol.
I dated a guy I mentally refer to as “the Romanian,” several years ago for about a month. It was a very sweet relationship— hand-holding walks in the park— it didn’t last long but I enjoyed it very much. We went to a couple of movies, but I didn’t notice until he mentioned it that all of the movies we went to were animated, or kid-friendly. I was a little careful— his manners were very formal and his tone with me was very courtly— I was steering away from anything shocking, but it made me laugh when I suggested our second or third movie like this and he said something about “could we not see a cartoon, this time?”
A couple of years later, I was dating a guy I met at a church speed-dating event. Hereagain, I’m going to think about the content of the movie before I make a suggestion. I gave him two or three suggestions (I don’t remember specifically, but I learned my lesson about kid movies and don’t typically suggest them on dates, anymore) of things that seemed like they might be mutually interesting/acceptable but not too racy. He wanted to see the Hangover 2. I had seen the Hangover 1, and thought it a bit of a dicey choice on a date with a church-friend, and said I’d prefer not to see it together. He insisted. In fairness, he loved it. I was wildly uncomfortable seeing it with him, because it’s very explicit and our relationship was very G-rated. His insisting on a movie that (a) wasn’t on my list and (b) that I then explicitly said I didn’t want to see told me a lot about my place in the relationship, and though that wasn’t the last straw, it factored into the end.
When I think about guys I’ve dated for longer, we can always agree on a movie from a mutually constructed list of acceptable alternatives. I see a lot of movies, and am predisposed to like them. If you want to see something I’m not just lukewarm on, but actually don’t want to see, I feel like you should at least consider seeing it on your own or with your boys, especially early on— I don’t drag guys to see every chick flick or romantic period drama that I like, and I have limits on my appetite for movies with John Cena or Johnny Knoxville in them.
What do we think?