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How-to Dad: How I became comfortable ditching the family and going to the movies alone

OPINION: Us dads need ‘me time’ too. My wife’s escape is a foot massage at the mall, coffee, window-shopping. It’s her idea of kid free heaven. Not exactly my cup of tea.

My feet are too hobbit-like to dare lunge in front of someone’s face, I hate coffee and I don’t need a new window (quick Sunday Dad-joke there for ya). 

Earlier in the week I went on a ‘Doner’ mission. No, not to a kebab place. I went to a movie alone. A dad loner. Aka: Doner. 

Growing up I had always stared at that ‘one’ person in a line of cinema seats: “What a weirdo.”

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Dads need alone time too, and the movies is the perfect place.

How wrong was I. Those people were not weirdos. They were geniuses. 

At first it was hard. I mean who goes to a movie on their own? The only late night entertainment activity you should ever attend on your lonesome is speed dating.

After I got over the fact I didn’t have to stand at the bathroom pretending I was waiting for a friend, I ducked inside. I’ll admit my first time I had butterflies. What if someone was in my seat!

I walked down the aisle in a bent over scurry. Lunged into my seat for one and….the whole aisle was empty. Not only was I on my own, my loner dad status stuck out like the balls on a dog.

But once we got through the 17 minutes of ads and 23 minutes of trailers, I was comfortable in my new Doner skin. A few weeks later I bought up my experience with a few mates. Turns out us Doners were spreading faster than measles. Doners are taking over the cinemas.

Doner movie drawbacks: You may be perceived as a weirdo, you can’t steal your partner’s snacks, and no film critic review chats on the way back to the car.

LAWRENCE SMITH / STUFF

How-to Dad columnist Jordan Watson has started going to the movies without his kids.

Doner movie perks: Extra space – no one sits by you because you are a ‘weirdo’, no partner stealing your food, no partner chewing and slurping in your ear, you can chew and slurp, no partner stealing your arm rest, no kids, no “Dad can you wipe my bum?” Silence. Yeah, the movie is loud, but that soundtrack of your life has been muted for 118 marvelous minutes. Bliss. The list goes on. 

By my fifth Doner movie outing, I had become a Doner pro. I’d buy some chocolate for the wife before I left home, made sure all kids were snoring away in bed and BOOM – I was off. Ready to shut off my mind and just let the brain fart.

On Wednesday I went and saw Joker. Proudly my 11th Doner outing. I bounded into the ticket line with gay abandon. I strutted proudly down the cinema aisle with my oversized and overpriced popcorn and coke. I awkwardly yet casually squeezed past the legs of a group of people to the one single seat smack bang in the middle of the aisle. Potentially a virgin Doners’ worst nightmare. Not for this seasoned pro.

I was squeezed in and surrounded by couples. I flung out my elbows, loudly said “Shhhhh” well before anyone actually needed to be quiet but asserted my dad dominance. Bliss.

Joker: 3 and a half stars.

Doner movies: 5 stars.

Rise of the Planet of the Doners: Coming soon.


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