A First date to Arlington Road

9329-b-arlington-roadObviously there are traditional  films to take a first date to see, Romantic comedies, Pixar or other animation, a weepy or a light hearted drama are the generally accepted genres. This isn’t set in stone as one of my oldest friends met his future wife at a French Expressionist Film festival many years ago, they have been married for 6 years now.

It’s a difficult thing to get right, pick the perfect film and your date will respect your film choices and maybe just maybe respect you. Get the wrong film and you risk ridicule and lonely nights. Not that I’m suggesting it’s all in the hands of the film choice, oh if only it was that simple.

Now I am about to prove that there can be acceptations, I am not saying that women don’t like challenging cinema, far from it but the rules of a date movie have to be abided by. Or do they?

Many years ago I was about to have my first date with a lovely woman that I dated  5 years. Obviously I didn’t know that at the time, so I wanted to impress her with a film choice that shows off my strong manly and totally dateable personality. There wasn’t many suitable films showing, no Richard Curtis comedy, no cartoons, this was the late 90’s after all. So with the selection of films in front of me I made a rookie error, I picked the film. In my defense Jeff Bridges is a living legend and surely that would count for something.

Well I say I picked the movie, there were two films not sold out  and to this day I can’t remember the other one, but I picked Arlington Road, a tense terrorist thriller with Jeff Bridges and Tim Robbins and focuses on hidden terrorist cells in America.

I’ll just let that sink in for a moment.

She didn’t know anything about the film, or Jeff Bridges for that matter but I was hoping my intelligent film choice would make up for the fact I got the show times wrong and we waited around for 2 hours. Why didn’t you take her for something to eat I hear you ask? I did but owing to nerves I ate quickly and gave myself heart burn.

We watched the two hour film in near silence, I wasn’t sure what to say to her during the film, you’re not meant to talk in the cinema and I’m notoriously old fashioned watching movies. My phone is always off, not that mobiles were as common all the way back in the 90s.

She wasn’t saying much, she also didn’t seem interested in me she was more interested by the film, or at least seemed to be. Had I become the victim of my own plan, was she so engrossed in the film that any attempt for holding hands or a kiss would be in vain?

still-of-jeff-bridges-in-arlington-road-(1999)-large-pictureAs the film went on and the twists and turns were revealed I felt her head on my shoulder and her hand on mine. Bridges you scallywag you have done it, proving that a date movie can be something challenging, not too challenging though as heavy films don’t always equal a good date. Unless that’s your thing.

We left the cinema, she was curious as to why I picked that film and why I didn’t try to kiss her. Not wanting to base our possible relationship on a lie I confessed, I admitted I wanted to take her to see something light and funny but there wasn’t anything else out at the time that I thought she would want to watch. I also admitted I thought she was engrossed in the film so I didn’t try and kiss her, that and nerves and I thought the kiss comes at the end of the night.

As it turned out the movie choice was irrelevant, all she wanted was to spend time with me. Although she would tease me for years about the film choice, even though she said she liked it. It’s a dam good film, one I will always hold with more affection than perhaps I should, as it reminds me of a time when a chubby teenager took his first steps to becoming a man. A journey I am still on to this day.

For every memorable time in my life, there is a film that ties me to that event, every tear shed, every laugh out loud moment, for everybody I’ve lost, for everybody I’ve  found, for every dream I strive to make come true. For every time I did something a little bit different or weird in the hope it makes someone else’s day just a tiny bit better.

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