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7 Tips for Planning a Great Movie Date

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I like to give people dating tips that I've learned the hard way.

Tips for taking someone special to a movie.

Tips for taking someone special to a movie.

How to Go on a Movie Date

Ah, the movie date. A standard dating template guys can always rely on for the first or second date. However, don't let its simplicity fool you. You can still screw it up ... royally. To heIp prevent that, I will present a few guidelines you can follow.

1. Be Prepared

And I mean even BEFORE you walk in the theater. During the pre-date phone call, you'll want to have movie names and times in hand. After she agrees to go on a date, go ahead and go down your list of names and times, and then pick your preference. Don't just pick the latest bloody, action affair that you love (unless you know she'll like it too). Go with something neutral that you think may interest you both. Then ask her what she wants to see.

By maintaining this order, you send several signals:

  • You show her that you actually put some thought into the date. The statement "it's the thought that counts" holds doubly true when dealing with women.
  • You show her your willingness to take the lead. Although we live in a time where women rightfully enjoy incredible liberty and independence, I still see plenty of women who like to defer many decisions to their men, sometimes just as a test. You need to let her know that even with the small things, you can take charge.
  • You show that what she wants actually does matter when you ask for her opinion. Some women will happily just go along with your final choice, while others will make their desires known. In my experience, I find that women love it when you present them with a well-thought-out selection so they can veto what they don't like. It lets them get what they want while simultaneously allowing them to remain secure in the knowledge that their man can lead and makes an effort to plan. Besides, in the end, I know you just want to make her happy, so you definitely want to see something you know she'll enjoy.

The importance of preparedness holds true even for more spontaneous movie dates. Let's say you go out to dinner and on the spot decide to see a movie after. (I actually recommend this "multiple mini-date" approach: keeping things moving to multiple different spots throughout the evening. But I'll save that for another post.) Even then, you'll want to know the latest comedies, romantic comedies, and blockbusters, so you can take the same leadership approach I presented above. Lastly, be prepared to change course at a moment's notice. If you walk up to the theater and she notices a movie playing that neither one thought of and she grabs your arm and says, "Oh, can we see that one instead?" then you smile and say, "sure, I'd love to" and get ready to whip out your wallet, which leads me to my next point.

2. You Should Probably Buy Her Ticket

I say probably here because I know some guys do not recommend shelling out a bunch of money for dates and given today's ticket prices, buying two adult tickets represents a bunch of money. However, I like buying tickets because it helps keep the flow of the date going. If you possess great conversation skills then, by all means, work the ticket line. However, in most cases, already having tickets in hand and just walking up to the front door will keep you from having to worry about any awkward moments of silence while waiting in line. And again, she may appreciate that you planned enough to buy tickets beforehand. Finally, you definitely want to avoid the disaster of having the movie she REALLY wants to see sold out when you walk up to the theater. Talk about putting a damper on the evening. Best to ensure that doesn't happen.

As I stated before, I know this really goes against the grain for some guys who think that initially buying a girl anything makes you a wuss. Let me state unequivocally: by no means do I endorse wuss-like behavior! Tease her, neg her, jokingly give her a bit of a hard time, but subtly juxtaposition that with perfectly gentlemen-like behavior. Trust me, after the date ends, she will think about it, she will notice, and then she will be yours. Speaking of gentlemen-like behavior...

3. Keep Your Hands and Tongue to Yourself

If she jumps on you as soon as the lights dim, then, by all means, enjoy yourself. For this to occur, you probably knew how to really increase the level of attraction during pre-date activities, so I only ask that you sit in the back and spare the rest of us from witnessing your make-out session. However, if you didn't increase the level of attraction, the trailer roll does not present a good time to start. Keep it in your pants, and stay focused. At this point, you simply want to enjoy a good movie with a nice girl and set your mind to logging some of the funniest moments so you can bring them up in conversation afterward.

This holds especially true if she vetoed all your choices and picked a movie she really wanted to see. If you've found an even halfway decent girl, she'll probably look over occasionally to judge your suffering, and even if you don't like the movie, you'll want to at least remain polite and watch, instead of letting your attention wander to the hot girl sitting two rows in front of you.

4. Use Body Language

I believe in trying to create attraction whenever possible, and even though I don't recommend immediately groping her, if you've got two and a half hours sitting next to a girl you like, you don't want to waste that time. So, I say make your interest known through body language: lean into her slightly, occasionally let your knees touch, look over at her once, maybe twice, and let your eyes meet. If you have one of those movable armrests, leave it up, allowing for some "accidental" shoulder touching. If not, let her lean on it while you lean against it, creating intimacy through space.

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Note, I don't recommend the same type of unconscious "leaning-in" that makes a guy appear too eager. I'm describing something more intentional, yet simultaneously laid back and focused on the gradual escalation of attraction. Also, try to keep an eye on her body language. If she tries to create as much space between you as possible, then I recommend backing off and starting to think about where you went wrong. But, don't dwell on it. Just come out of the movie with a good attitude and try to re-engage her in conversation. Oh and as an FYI, if you've got a girl who likes to freak out and grab your arm during scary movies, you may want to consider working out, so she doesn't have to grab onto a stick.

5. Gauge Whether or Not Talking Is Okay

Generally, I like to focus on a movie when at the theater, but I also know that saying the right thing at the right time during a movie with the right girl can really have a positive effect. I can't offer too much advice here because it honestly depends on the girl and the movie, however, if in doubt, then just keep your mouth shut. The opening sequence of a great movie is not the time to start talking about what you had for dinner.

But if she starts talking to you, consider that a signal for you to start looking for the best moment to say something to her. I recommend using the "extension" technique: use one sentence or phrase that perfectly riffs on or emphasizes something that just occurred on screen. This takes a bit of skill, but when done well, it really works.

6. Make It an Experience

Chances are, she has gone on a movie date before with any number of guys, so I suggest trying to make the date unique. This does not mean showing up at her door with a dozen roses, or any other overreaching wuss-like behavior. She might find that nice, and it may earn you a few temporary brownie points, but if you want to really make a lasting impression, you need to do it with your character, attitude, and energy.

First, recognize that a movie date (or any date really) contains a beginning, middle, and end. And when I say beginning, I don't just mean the typical pre-movie dinner. The date actually begins during the SETUP, i.e., the phone conversation beforehand. Plenty of women have pulled out of a date because the guy didn't create the right kind of energy during the pre-date conversation, and something she perceived as more interesting came up. Defining this energy alone could take volumes, but just showing a genuine interest in her and what she has to say and showing the willingness to share a little about yourself (but not too much, just enough to keep the "mystery" going) can go a long way. To continue with the "multiple mini-date" concept I discussed earlier, after the movie ends, take her out to an ice cream or coffee shop for dessert.

Most movie theaters reside in some sort of shopping center, so make it a place you can walk to in order to keep the flow going. During this portion of the date, you'll want to do three things:

  1. Cement the memory of the experience you just shared. As I mentioned earlier, you should have mentally logged some of the most memorable parts of the movie to bring up in conversation later. Welcome to later.
  2. Reassert the attraction by using body language and conversation to let her know you still find her interesting, engaging, and special.
  3. Set the stage for the next date by bringing up and taking note of common interests.

Pick something that both you and her might enjoy, and then suggest doing that. Keep exact dates and times nebulous because that will provide the platform for the next phone call. Conceptually, you want to progress from "calling her up to go on another date" to "calling her up to see each other again like we planned because we really enjoy each other's company" as quickly (but naturally!) as possible.

Conversely, if her body language and vocal tone scream "Get me away from this guy!" I suggest ditching any post-movie plans and ejecting from the situation with as much dignity as you can muster. When you get home, review what you did wrong and don't make the same mistake next time.

7. Do Something Else Besides Going to a Movie

Most of society tells young men that if a girl agrees to go out with him, he should feel lucky. I reject this belief. Who you spend your time with should matter just as much to you as it does to her, and I don't think sitting in front of a movie for two and a half hours, not talking, poses the best opportunity to get to know someone. Dinner, while more intimate, brings up all sorts of questions about who pays, formality, and generally carries more meaning than you may initially want to portray. I suggest the "weekend afternoon coffee date."

Pick a corner at your local coffee shop, sit down, and get to know each other. Who pays probably won't even come up because normally you buy your drink/snack before you sit down and it costs so little that no one would call you a cheapskate for letting her pay her own way. If the date goes poorly, your pocketbook will still come out intact.

However, in preparation for the date to go well, I suggest going to a coffee shop/bookstore/music store combo, that allows you to naturally progress the date to shopping (there's that multiple mini-date concepts again) giving an opportunity to discern whether or not she has good taste in music. I mean, as much as I love movies and I love the movie date, I definitely think you should keep that tool in the chest for later.

Okay, that's it. Good luck!

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