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June 22, 2013

Reflections of a really lousy movie date

All those girls who turned me down when I was single and asked them if they’d like to go to a movie with me don’t know how fortunate they were.

I’m a lousy movie date.

No, we’re not talking about libertine behavior in a dark theater. The Pollak men are gentlemen.

It’s my totally defensible and warranted reaction to the whole movie experience that makes going to a movie with me and — in particular — discussing it afterwards such a drag.

I don’t squawk much at the cost of admission, and I can even tolerate having to take out a second mortgage to purchase a small bag of popcorn and some Raisinets. But if I’m going to pay for the experience, I want to enjoy it.

And, you know, it’s really hard to do that when the couple sitting behind you thinks they’re in their living room and free to comment about everything they’re seeing on the screen.

My first reaction is always the old “turn around and stare” technique to let them know that their running commentary is disturbing me, but that rarely works. If they had any sensitivity to something that subtle they wouldn’t be yakking in the first place.

A “shush” not only sounds silly, but only tends to make them talk more, as if to say: “Who is this guy who thinks he can ‘shush’ us when we paid good money just like he did to see this movie?”

Leaping over my row of chairs and grasping a kibitzer’s neck in search of an artery is frowned upon in polite society, so I invariably induce my companion (almost always my 35-years-long-suffering bride) to move with me to another row. As this ritual can repeat itself two or three times in the showing of one movie, it’s easy to see why she attends so many films by herself.

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