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Every weekend, Cinema Blend answers one reader question. Last week, we argued over whether or not it’s okay to smuggle in outside food, and this week, we’re plowing forward with an equally divisive topic. If you have a question related to movies, whether it be theater etiquette or about one or more completed films, fire off an email to [email protected] for consideration in future editions of Ask CB.
Is It Okay To Make Out/ Fool Around With Someone At The Movies If The Theater Is Mostly Empty?
Noah from Sugar Land, Texas
For as long as movie theaters have existed, normal teenagers and more adventurous adults have been using the dimly lit environments they provide to get a little action. Whether it be a sweet peck on the lips, an under the shirt boob grab or a full-on, sloppy makeout session, theater hanky panky comes in all shapes and sizes, and at any given point on a Friday night, chances are there’s at least one couple inside every multiplex going to town on one another. For those involved in that sloppiness, it’s obviously all fun and games, but for those unfortunate souls unlucky enough to be seated in the immediate vicinity, the mouth wrestling can be pretty damn distracting.
So, where does Cinema Blend stand on the issue?
Far be it from me to cockblock movie fans. In general, I'm always down with consenting humans engaging in a little horseplay, but when you’re inside an enclosed space with other paying customers, there has to be some ground rules. We can’t have people dropping their pants and going at it in weird positions in the middle of the eighth row during the last ten minutes of The Usual Suspects. That doesn’t work. We need some ground rules. Let’s say six.
#1) The occasional peck on the lips is almost always acceptable. If you’re a PDA-phobic weirdo who thinks it’s unacceptable for two people to give each other a quick little no tongue kiss, you should seriously take a long look in the mirror and consider completely changing your opinions about life. There’s nothing wrong with a brief little show of affection. even if the house is full for Thor: The Dark World. Just make sure it doesn’t happen in the middle of a super climactic moment if people are sitting around you.
#2) If you know full well you’re going to do some serious kissing for segments of the film, sit near the back in one of the corners. I know you probably don’t want to sit there. All things being equal, you’d like to sit halfway up right in the center because that’s objectively the best location, but as per the Rolling Stones, you can’t always get what you want. Your fellow theatergoers are far more likely to figure out what you’re up to if you’re sitting in front of them thanks to how peripheral vision works. If you have a problem with that, tell science to go fuck itself, not me.
#3) If the screening is well-attended and people you didn’t come with are sitting around you, kissing for more than ten consecutive seconds is probably a bad call. This is just common sense. If someone is sitting in the row behind you or to the side of you, using a lot of tongue for an extended period of time is just inconsiderate and rude. If you want to plant a big one on the girl you came with as the credits are starting, I really don’t have a problem with that, but there should be a clear starting and ending point.
#4) You should not regularly make out with a significant other. There are some people who think age is very important to this discussion. To me, the more important angle is whether or not you’re dating the person. If you’ve been dating someone for eight months, hell, if you’ve been married to someone for forty years and impulsively decide to make out in an acceptable manner at the movies, I actually think that’s kind of cute, but if you go to the movies every weekend and make out more often than not, that’s weird and probably means other couples don’t like hanging out with you.
#5) The movie itself is important. Contrary to what Jerry Seinfeld might tell you, the movie you’re seeing does matter. You should not let anyone touch your boobs, even if it’s over the shirt, during 12 Years A Slave, nor should you put a girl in an awkward position by trying to touch her boobs during 12 Years A Slave. There are certain movies that deserve your full, undivided attention, and if that doesn’t matter to you, at least realize other people are there to have an emotionally moving experience and your shenanigans might ruin that.
#6) The less people are around you, the more it’s okay to be shameless. If there are three other couples in the theater, all of which are sitting five rows or so in front of you, and This Means War is boring you with its mediocrity, seriously, go to town on your boyfriend or girlfriend or wife or date or whoever else wants to consent. Obviously, given it’s a public space, there are certain sanitary codes you should follow, but if you want to go to second base, Cinema Blend will high five you on the way out. A little sneaky fooling around without anyone else being the wiser never hurt anyone.
Each of those six rules has something important to say, but in general, they can all be broken down into one mega-statement. If you’re at a really good movie with a ton of other people and someone you’ve been with for a long time, you should probably be a little more conservative, and if you’re at a really bad movie with almost no one else and you’re sharing the experience with someone you would really like to kiss for the first time, you should forget about what’s on the screen and have a little bit of fun.