Committing To Awkward: My Theater Bathroom Encounter

Not often, but sometimes, I’ll share embarrassing shit that I’ve done on this blog.

Today is going to be one of those days.

So recently, I went to go see Underwater with my Dungeons & Dragons buddies. We’ve gotten into the habit of seeing movies together, and it’s quite the enjoyable experience. As a matter of fact, they’re the ones who I went to go see Cats with. (For more on that, be sure to check out my rant on the film.)

Part of our joy in watching movies is from raucously yelling at the screen. We like expressing our disdain, enjoyment, or disbelief out loud. Rest assured, we do this when no one else is in the theater.

That was partially why I wanted a late showing for Underwater. The later we went, I assumed, the less likely other people would be at the theater with us.

Side note: Underwater is actually an okay movie. It’s got the usual horror movie tropes, but if you’re looking for an underwater horror experience, that’s exactly what you get. It’s decent. Plus, there’s a delightful surprise for any classic horror fans at the end.

So when we all entered our particular theater, I was thrilled that the six of us were there alone. We could be loud to our hearts’ content. When we went to see Cats, there had been two people who were at our showing as well. We still snorted with laughter and all, but I felt guilty about it afterward.

Now, anybody who knows me knows that I like to pee right before a movie starts. It’s all a part of my theater experience. There’s nothing I hate more than getting the urge to take a leak right at the good part. So in order to prevent that from happening, I often jog over to the bathroom right before the film actually starts. I like to think I’m completely emptying my bladder so that it can then be adequately refilled during the course of the movie with my water/soda/etc.

Thus, after we took our seats, I promptly stood back up and popped off to the john.

The layout of our local movie theater is fairly straighforward. There’s a main concession area, then two hallways that lead to different theaters. One of these hallways is shorter and only branches off into two theaters. The other is longer, and it has more theaters connected to it.

Here, I’ve made a stupid diagram of it.

The red splotches are doors. I didn’t draw out the theaters.

The showing of Underwater that my friends and I were going to see was in one of the two theaters leading into the shorter hallway. So it was a short walk to the bathroom nearby.

Just as I entered the bathroom, I saw a man leaving the concession area and heading toward the hallway. He looked to be in his forties, had a bag of popcorn in his hands, and was presumably going to watch a movie that night.

I stopped in the middle of the bathroom after entering, looking back over my shoulder out the door. The door to this bathroom is notoriously slow, so it was inching closed like molasses, allowing me a good long look at this man.

‘Dammit,’ I thought to myself. ‘What if he’s heading to see Underwater? We won’t have the theater to ourselves.’

So great was my desire to have the theater to myself and my friends, I decided to ascertain right then and there whether or not this man would be watching it with us. The bathroom door was still ponderously closing, so I stepped right next to the door jamb, staring at the man’s now-retreating figure. If he made a right into the longer hallway, I would know he was seeing something else. If he continued straight, we were doomed to polite silence.

As fate or fucking chance would have it, the man seemed to sense eyes on him, so he turned around and looked right at me.

At that moment, I had a choice.

I could either hurriedly duck away from view and pretend that I hadn’t been eyeballing his movements this whole time.

Or I could commit to what I was doing.

Side note: In stressful situations, a moment of nonplussed inaction is my usual recourse.

So I fucking committed to this stare, and the last thing I saw as the bathroom door finally closed shut was the quizzical stare of this 40-something man as he looked into the girls bathroom and saw a freak with glasses and a beanie unabashedly gazing at him with a deer-in-headlights face.

And that was probably the most embarrassing thing I’ve done this year.

So far.

I still have eleven more months to go.

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