Dark Knights and Double Dates

The Dark Night

by Hope Madden

So many superhero movies right now! They put me in a nostalgic mood for that time, somewhat awkwardly and utterly unintentionally, I was a part of my son’s first double date.

I review movies, and Riley always enjoyed seeing the new blockbusters before his friends got to, which is why I knew without asking that he would go with me to screen The Dark Knight.

As I left for work the morning of the screening, I was under the impression that Riley and his buddy Nate, as well as my husband George, would join me at the Rave movie theater in Polaris at 6:30 for the screening. Halfway through the day, though, George decided he couldn’t back out of a softball game, so he’d have Nate’s parents drop the boys off.

But later I learned that I was going to become the fifth wheel of a double date.

This was a first.

It’s not as if things always have gone well when Riley and Nate saw movies with me. Years ago, at the Christmas with the Kranks screening, I left to hit the concession stand, only to return to find that the boys had given away my seat.

At another screening, maybe the second X-Men movie, Nate, Riley and I sat in the old Arena Grand Movie Theatre and tried to answer all the trivia questions during the pre-show entertainment. Because the boys were about 9 years old, I was kicking their butts.

Then came a question about which X-rated films had been nominated for Oscars. I mentioned Last Tango in Paris and Nate asked me about the film.


“Well,” I said, “it’s about a lonely older widower who develops a relationship with a much younger woman.”

I thought I heard Nate say, “That sounds like porn.”

“Oh, no,” I told him. “It’s not porn.”

A perplexed Nate responded, “I said it sounds boring.”

Long, awkward pause.

Then he said, “What’s porn?”

“Who wants popcorn, kids?!”

I’ve made other poor decisions when it comes to bringing youngsters with me to the movies. I once took my son’s entire Little League baseball team to the remake of The Bad News Bears. The problem, of course, was that the kids loved it; many have never forgiven me for my scathing review.

But the point is, I was used to hosting Riley and any number of his little friends. On the car ride home, there was usually some debate over how many stars a film should receive, which X-Man would be the best to have on your team (Mystique, duh!), and how much more grating the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants is when you’re subjected to it for 90 straight minutes.

This screening of The Dark Knight, though, would be different.

This time, Riley and Nate brought girls.

Things went well enough. Mainly because of Riley’s one rule: I may never speak to a girl.

I did have to listen, though, and I noted that Nate’s date does not like mashed potatoes. Maybe that’s not a deal breaker, but come on. What kind of sociopath doesn’t like mashed potatoes?

To be honest, given that the boy was 15-years-old at the time, I was lucky he was willing to be seen in public with me at all—caped crusader or no. And by the time the Christmas blockbusters came out that same year, there would be at least one licensed driver in this foursome who could get them to and from the movies without me.

But they were always late, so luckily they still needed me to save their seats.

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