Bill by L. G. William Chapman, B.A., LL.B.

What I ask you is a more wholesome, frugal and consoling project than dinner and a movie? It is truly a “down home” venture, one which is typically preserved for a compatible couple, friends at least, and more often than not, two persons who are (or who once were) romantically inclined towards one another.  By the nature of its agenda, the culinary feature of the affair is destined to be unhurried but not protracted; and most likely the gratification will involve little more than an aperitif or a glass of wine (thus ensuring that the subsequent cinematic dimension is not unwittingly consumed by soporifics).  Normally the venue for the dinner is something on the lower end of the posh scale, though nonetheless equally probable to be of good report.

Many people, especially younger couples with children, have trouble allocating the cherished resources of time exclusively to themselves.  By a pattern of sustained attention to the interests of others (whether family or business associates), the couple by progressive margins distance themselves from one another.  What more innocent and penny-wise endeavour than dinner and a movie to reunite the separated particles of the relationship!  As couples infrequently afford themselves the luxury of common communication, the juxtaposition of the parties across the dining table from one another or side-by-side in the hushed and darkened theatre nonetheless qualifies as human liaison perhaps even strengthened by the dearth of conversation.

If you, like so many others, have recently ransomed your household savings for a new large, flat-screen television, there may be an understandable reluctance to weaken the propriety of the outlay by having resort to the commercial cinema. You might even temporarily convince yourself that the comfort of your drawing room readily outweighs that of the theatre or the appeal of its buttered popcorn.  This however is a misguided distortion of the more important truth that a “night out” has its advantages.  If nothing else, a break with routine is a small but provocative transition.

Bearing in mind that we are a gregarious lot, being part of the mix of swirling movie-goers is not without its further restitution.  Quite apart from the communal aspect of the outing, the mere diversion of one’s mind by the sight of young and old going about their business is bound to delight and distract for one reason or another.  I confess, for example, that modern fashion provides me endless diversion.

I don’t know about you but the popcorn and confection at the theatre food counter are always a matter of consternation (the cohesive and relentless solicitude about one’s protuberant belly). I suppose that if the cinematic sorties are sporadic, the topic warrants little debate.  Better to throw in the towel and submit to the allure!  Popcorn may after all be such a hallmark of the adventure that its omission constitutes positive neglect, eroding one of the very favourable elements of the mosaic. At the very least a gander at the counter is on the programme.

If you’re lucky the planning for the dinner and the movie will turn out to be a happy synthesis of its constituent parts, the crowning delight of which is hopefully the film itself.  But even if not, I maintain the outing is in any event worth the price of admission!