This is part of a series of How To Guides about living on your own, in a new city, and/or with your parents. Growing up is never hard to do, but it can be funny when you make a lot of mistakes, and force yourself to do things most people find shameful. This is for your own erudition.
Living at home is phenomenal. Nothing beats hanging out with your parents, eating home-cooked meals you didn’t have to make, getting your laundry done, premium cable (!!!!). However, one of the things you first notice missing is your social life. Living in the suburbs (where your parents probably live, if they haven’t already gone off the grid) is not conducive to a vibrant social scene, unless you’re into antiquing or socializing at the grocery store. Then by all means, go crazy! But me, I need some time with people that either a) didn’t have a direct hand in my existence and b) are under the age of 65. I’m pretty easy.
For this reason, I like to go see movies. Unlike most normal 20-somethings, I don’t usually have someone to go with. Or I don’t want to take my 13 year old brother to see ‘The Kids Are Alright’. So what do I do? I go see the movie, by myself. The following are the steps you need to follow in order to get through seeing a movie by yourself without taking a ride on what I like to call the Shame Cycle.
This is the first and most important part. Sharks and movie tellers are the only two known species that can smell fear on a person. Second grade teachers have been rumored to have this ability, but there has been no empirical evidence to confirm the hypothesis. Anyways, you need to walk up to the teller and say, in a loud clear voice, “ONE FOR TOY STORY 3, PLEASE.” If they ask you if you’re meeting anyone, run. They’ve already caught onto you and you’re dead in the water. If not, you’ve passed the first test. All that’s left is to get past the ticket taker, and often times they’re asleep, so it ain’t no thang.
Alternative: Instead of buying a ticket in person, you can also buy one online. However, this means you have planned to see a movie by yourself ahead of time, and if this is the case, you’ve got some deeper issue to work on, buddy.
2. Movie Selection
This is a very important part as well. Pick a “Schindler’s List”, you’ll be crying for hours with no one to comfort you. Pick a “Spy Kids”, you’ll be getting suspicious stares from parents and children alike. Pick a “Notebook”, you’re bound to be alone forever. Pick a “Fool’s Gold” and you might actually go into the world’s first stupidity coma. The point is, selection is key. Not too sad, not too happy, not too many families, not too many friends, not too much action, and just the right amount of Bruce Willis. You don’t want to be reminded you’re all by yourself, but you also don’t want to forget that movie stars need to pay their bills too.
Once you’ve gotten past the vicious hoardes, seating is very important. Just like a school cafeteria, where you seat in a theater will slap you with a label that will remain with you the rest of your life. Wait, that’s not right… but for the sake of the argument, I present some master-theater-goer archetypes.
Tracy Flick: You’re showing that you’re overeager and don’t want to see people’s faces when they see you’re alone. This is for the weak-hearted and the strong-necked
Jennifer Grey: This position is naturally back in the corner. Don’t fall subject to your inner Jennifer Grey. There may be a Patrick Swayze to come and rescue you, but mullets take a long time to get perfect, so don’t hold your breath.
Jake Gylenhaal: This is what happens when you arrive late to slip in unnoticed, but all the seats are taken, so you have to sit in the middle. Just like Jake Gylenhaal did in Brokeback Mountain. Which is not a good movie to see by yourself.
Steven Segal: This is the position of the seasoned veteran. You don’t flinch at your solitude, you relish in it and sit in the very middle. You don’t care that your ponytail looks stupid, by god you’re going to see the movie and you’re going to enjoy yourself!
4. The Escape
As important as all the other steps were, this last one is just as important. Stay too long, you’ll get called out for being a lingerer, and god forbid, get roped into a conversation to discuss the movie (ewwww). Leave to early, and you run into getting judged by the attendant who is wondering why you’re leaving so early BY YOURSELF. Timing is essential, just like in throwing a hand grenade. Both have equally grave consequences.
Hopefully, if you should every find yourself standing in front of a theater pondering seeing a movie by yourself, remember these 4 important parts, and you should be fine. If not, you could always just Netflix it.
On New Year’s Eve, I went to a Pink Martini concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. It was an absolute blast, and never having heard any of Pink Martini’s music nor been to the concert hall before, it was definitely a night to remember. The hall is absolutely beautiful, and its exterior amazement is matched only by its interior grace. The concert itself was a raucous occasion full of surprise guests and even an accompanying marching band. It was certainly a memorable experience, and a wonderful date night with my sister. Yes, my sister.
Going on a date with your opposite-sex sibling is a rite of passage that every man must face at some point. It just makes it all that much harder when your sister is a six foot tall blonde, leggy beauty and you look just like her except without the long flowing golden locks and the boobs. Not fun. It’s also all the more awkward when you’re both single in a new city and do a lot of things together, like have a fancy evening at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love my sister and love hanging out with her, it’s just very uncomfortable when you’re sitting in a restaurant in your fancy clothing and you realize every other couple in the room is boning each other.
Seeing as I have absolutely no shame though, I look forward to going on future dates with my sister. Yes, I said it. It will be great fun going to bars and clubs with her, watching as heads turn and records scratch. Her, in a sea of gentleman suitors, and me sitting alone at the bar. Or maybe instead we’ll have a picnic at the Hollywood Bowl. Or maybe we’ll go on a shopping spree in Santa Monica. Whichever we choose , it’ll be highly romantic, and everyone will be thinking, “Wow, she really lucked out in the genes department.” Because if nothing else, I’m a good brother, and a good brother knows how to be a good wingman. A good brother also knows to consume more alcohol than said sister so that she has to drive home. And I am a VERY good brother.
I’m sick and tired of hearing and reading about people’s New Year’s Resolutions. They’re usually unrealistic, mostly unattainable, and always boring. If it’s not “Lose weight”, it’s stupid things like “Be a better father”, “Be more cultured”, or “Stop wetting the bed”. I mean, there’s no honesty or lowered expectations anymore. No realism. That’s why I’ve decided to share MY New Year’s Resolutions. Hopefully they will inspire others to have more realistic goals.
1. Fart in public more often
This really is one of society’s best kept secrets. It’s like the perfect crime for bodily functions. Imagine you’re in a store, or on the subway, or in a movie theater, and you feel the pressure building. Normally, most people would be polite and hold out until in private or in the bathroom. But if you think about it, there’s no better place to let one rip. It is already noisy, people are busy doing other things, and no one’s going to be rude enough to single someone out. Moreover, it would even give you an opportunity to work on your acting skills, dramatically making a stink face and showing to everyone that you smell something awful, and it was most DEFINTELY not you who dealt it. Or you could remain silent. Like I said, either way, it’s the perfect crime. One I will be committing with abandon this year.
2. Drink more
Like most people, I’m a lot more fun when I’ve had 2 or 12 drinks. I’m more sociable, funnier, and all-around more pleasant to be around. Such is the case, why not be like that every day this year? I’m not advocating taking up recreational alcoholism, I’m just saying that I’m more inclined to drink when the opportunity presents itself. 2012 seems a great time to create those opportunities myself.
3. Spend more quality time with my Netflix account
I have a confession: I’ve let work and family get in the way of my Netflix watching. Grievously, my queue is now 118 titles deep, and I know it’s time to make a change. I resolve to hole myself up in my room and rededicate myself to the consumption of TV shows and movies. Besides, now that I live in Los Angeles, the social currency is knowledge of popular culture, so this is unquestionably justifiable.
4. Think more about me
Too long have I tried helping other people by considering volunteering and feeling guilty about not donating to the Cute-Young-Children-with-Horrific-Forms-of-Cancer Foundation. This year, it’s all about me. I’ve been disconcerted about not getting the attention I deserve, so I’m going to give myself that attention myself. And we’re going to be excessively happy about it, thank us very much.
5. Go on more dates
The best thing about going on dates is making the other person pay. This leads to a free meal. More dates means more free meals. The best part is when you get up to use the bathroom right before the bill comes, you come back, and they’ve politely taken care of it! And if things start to get too real (i.e. a second date), it’s easy to say you’re too busy, or you moved out of town, or my personal favorite, you’ve decided to become a priest.
6. Stop tipping baristas
I mean, really, what do they do that warrants a tip? Really!? They make my drink like they’re supposed to, and often times they don’t do it fast enough. I have nothing against baristas, just the societal norms that mandate a tip. Besides, they’re smug and pretentious with those punny “tip jars”. Please, you’re not fooling anyone.
7. Get liposuction
Year after year, I rededicate myself to fitness by working out, running, and generally not trying to be a fat ass. I’ve recently discovered that this is a dumb way to go about doing things. Thankfully, living in California has shed light on a better path: Liposuction. Once I save enough thousands of dollars, I can just get all the fat sucked right out, and not have to worry about it for another few years. I’m certain that’s how it works…
8. Become more of a hipster
Say what snide jokes you want about hipsters, they are pretty cool. I like their sense of style and devil-may-care attitude. They’re also unabashedly arrogant, and I’m unabashedly arrogant, so I feel like it’s a natural fit. Also, I look phenomenal in flannel.
9. Stop apologizing
I’m fed up with apologizing to people for perceived affronts. “Oops, sorry I crossed your path 10 feet in front of you” or “My bad for talking on the phone in public”. I’ve turned into too much of a softy, and it’s time to let people assume I’m sorry. I mean, honestly, if you have a problem with what I do, then you don’t have to be around me. If you’re a family member, just suck it up.
10. Make more jokes
11. Say nice things about people (see above)
12. Prepare a bomb shelter
2012. Mayan Calendar. Ragnarok. No-brainer.
From Los Angeles,
My name is Ben Gullickson. I recently graduated from college, and like so many of my peers, I went on to move home with my parents. Long ago I learned to live with the crippling shame of being a tall, nerdy white boy, so moving in with my parents was a natural next step. In fact, I learned to surpress the societal shame I was experiencing, and actually enjoy my time at home. However, sometime during the period of time where I was sharing a bedroom with my 13 year old brother, carpooling into work with my father, and spending Friday nights hanging out with my parents, I discovered my life was a living hell. I of course do not mention that my laundry was taken care of, food was prepared, and alcohol and cable services were provided, as this is negligible. Naturally, growing up in the internet generation, I decided to write a blog about my tribulations.
Ok, I’ll cut the crap. In all honesty, this blog is merely a ploy to crack my friends up as I and some of my fellow peers (and one elder stateswoman who happens to be my mother) chronicle our lives and adventures after leaving the bubble of college. Most of us have moved home, most of us are in a new city, and all of us have no idea what the hell we’re doing. This is a venue to air our grievances, as well as provide fodder on our misadventures, and, at times, embarrassing mistakes. It is my hope that over time, this site will provide something for everyone: humor, adventure, baked goods, music suggestions, murder plots, etc. However, I have been known to have unrealistic expectations. Overall, the tone will be sarcastic and biting, but you might be surprised to find (at times) some real human emotions permeating throughout the site. We apologize in advance for this.
So, please enjoy what we have to say, and how we say it. Whether you return to this site for sincere enjoyment, morbid curiosity, or mocking interest, we hope that we provide bountiful entertainment.
Your Los Angeles Correspondent,