Going to the cinema for the first time in four months reignited my relationship

Cinemas are back in business, and so is my dating life.

Low Jia Ying

Published: 21 July 2020, 6:58 PM

Just as COVID-19 was getting serious in Singapore, so were my boyfriend and I.

You couldn’t picture a worse time to begin a relationship. We had two months of loving bliss before being forcibly separated by the circuit breaker.

We had to contend with all two of his webcam’s megapixels and my room’s unstable internet connection to keep our relationship going.

Even the dates we went on when Phase 2 started weren’t the romantic reunion we were hoping for. Waiting in long lines to enter malls and having to keep our masks on the whole day were a real mood-killer.

You can thus imagine how excited we were when we heard that cinemas were reopening on Jul 13. I was excited to finally enjoy some downtime outside with my boyfriend in all his non-pixelated glory, and to watch a movie on screen bigger than my laptop’s.

We booked tickets to catch a rerun of Queen & Slim on the second day of The Projector‘s reopening, a movie we had planned on watching months ago.

But as we were strolling to the cinema, I received a text that the air conditioning unit for the hall had broken down, and that our show was cancelled.

Not the smoothest start to a date.

Undeterred, we SafeEntried into the cinema anyways, and from the recommendations of the staff there, decided to catch Train to Busan‘s sequel: Peninsula showing a half hour later in a different hall.

The Projector’s typically crowded lobby was almost empty the day we visited.

The change in movie plans wasn’t the only hiccup.

The credit card terminals at the counter also didn’t seem to realise their four-month closure had come to an end. But a couple of very apologetic staff, credit cards, and an online booking later, we finally got our tickets!

Before getting our tickets checked at the hall, we were reminded to leave a two-seat gap between other moviegoers, and to only take off our masks when eating.

Safe distancing measures at The Projector.

We entered the hall to find approximately 25 moviegoers evenly spaced out and realised that we couldn’t sit at our favourite spot because another couple had taken the seats a row behind.

Other moviegoers entering the hall also hesitated before sitting to count the number of chairs between themselves and the next occupied seat.

We found appropriately distanced seats nearer the front of the theatre and I was mildly upset at how close we were to the screen.

The disappointment didn’t last long as I soon realised how pleasant being away from other patrons was.

A very safely-distanced movie theatre.

For one, there was none of that awkward battle for the shared armrest with a stranger.

We could enjoy the movie in peace as any loud chewing wasn’t within earshot, and there were no nasty foot odours from people behind propping their feet up or kicking the back of your seat.

But the best part for me at least: I could grab my boyfriend’s arm or leg freely during the (many) jumpscares in the movie without being concerned about others judging us for being that couple in the theatre.

The overpriced popcorn we purchased was also well worth it as it afforded us the luxury of taking off our masks to eat during the movie. Though I also noticed that everyone was trying their best to make their popcorn last till the end…

A staple of any movie date – overpriced drinks and popcorn from the snack bar.

We walked out of the theater hand-in-hand, having thoroughly enjoyed our first movie date in months, and spent the next 30 minutes excitedly discussing our favourite parts. The irony also wasn’t lost on us that we were enjoying a movie about a pandemic in the middle of one.

We headed to a nearby bar to end off our date the usual way – with some drinks. Unfortunately, we were only a few drinks in before being told by the waiter to finish our beers as it was 10.30pm and, as per Phase 2 regulations, they could not serve alcohol beyond that time.

Although our date was unceremoniously cut short, my positive experience of watching a movie gave me hope that life was really going back to normal again.

But we might have to wait a while longer until our next movie date. The movie line-up for the next couple weeks don’t look too interesting, and I don’t think either of us are keen on Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna.

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