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The real reason why movies are assur

I was joking tonight with a friend of mine who lives in a small town and will be hosting a girl he’s shidduch dating for about a week and about how the Rabbi wouldn’t be so into him going to the movies with her because it’s untznius. He said he doesn’t go to movies anyway, but that the Rabbi wasn’t necessarily against movies per se, but he didn’t really get what I meant.

Many people think that movies are assur because of the untznius images and other non-kosher items displayed on screen, but this is not the real reason why going to movies is against the mesorah and God himself.The real reason is random elbow play.

For some reason, probably the one I am about to mention, modern movie theaters still have the shared armrest thing and it’s not like you can just pay extra for first class movie seats, no matter where you go, most theaters only have shared armrests and this is probably because they see movie going as a romantic experience and to make sure that at least a little touching is going to happen.

I remember the first time I sat in a movie theater next to a girl I liked, I was probably 12 or 13 and I swear to you that all of my concentration was spent on trying to get our arms or elbows to touch. Every little twitch registered in my brain as “was that intentional, or was that just her natural movement” only years later, did I learn women were thinking these same very thoughts.

As I got older, it went from elbow touching, to the more scandalous knee touching, like playing footsie without actually implying that it wanted to be played. I am talking about new relationships or one sided relationships here – the kind where you like the girl, but have no idea if she likes you back (based on all of my media brainwashing, it all comes down to kissing, if you like the girl you can tell in a kiss – I’ve never actually kissed a girl so I don’t really know, but based on my advanced movie theater knee touching you can really tell if you like the person from a nice warm knee brushing your knee)

So now you may understand why shidduch daters rarely go to the theater, besides, if you know the girl well enough to sit next to her with a shared armrest, don’t you think you should be married already? Obviously, due to the fact you are sharing armrests with an unmarried woman means you must not be doing it for tachlis purposes.

I wonder if this is a big reason behind the “does he/she go to movies” question such a big deal? Maybe an answer of no to that question means the guy is in fact very frum because he refrains from the putting himself in non-shomer negiah conducive situations. Of course, it is probably more likely that you touch an unmarried woman’s private parts at a Kiddush than at a movie theater, when squeezing past them to get to the tamtams before they run out.

{ 29 comments… add one }
  • Lisa December 19, 2010, 2:11 PM

    “I’ve never actually kissed a girl so I don’t really know”- you’ve never kissed a girl?

    • Dr. Shrink December 19, 2010, 2:33 PM

      Can I use my gemarah cup and be midayek that when you say you never kissed a girl, that is to imply that maybe you kissed a boy, no? (can you see my thumb going from the downward to upward position across my chest)

    • Geoff December 19, 2010, 2:53 PM

      I think Heshy may be channeling Bill Clinton here…it may depend on what “actually” means. Or what “a” means. Or what “girl” means.

      • Dr. Shrink December 19, 2010, 3:10 PM

        Brilliant…so I guess “the” “woman” that Heshy hooked up with didn’t use tongue so it wasn’t “actual” kissing by some standards…a festeh chiddush and a lomdeshah zach!

        • Heshy Fried December 19, 2010, 6:52 PM

          Jeez can’t you people take a joke – I’ve sharing saliva with girls since I was 13

  • Ralphy December 19, 2010, 3:15 PM

    Dude, these sort of posts show that the 3 or 4 years of yeshiva made a disproportionate impact on your life. Are there really people in their late 20s who think about elbow play? How sad.

    • Heshy Fried December 19, 2010, 11:06 AM

      You just don’t get it, but it’s ok, not everyone has a sense of humor.

    • kissmeimshomer December 19, 2010, 11:26 AM

      Ralphy you clearly don’t read this blog often. It seems the real question is “are there really people who don’t go to movies when they are already trying to get married..because they’re thinking of elbow play” Good question but you’re directing it at the wrong person.

  • A. Nuran December 19, 2010, 4:13 PM

    It’s worse than that. I’ve heard that at movies boys and girls sometimes *gasp* touch feet and even knees!!!

    • Heshy Fried December 19, 2010, 11:41 AM

      Have you ever heard the thing where I guy puts a hole in the popcorn bucket, puts it on his lap and when the girl puts her hand in to get popcorn she grabs his you know what.

      • Yoreh K'chetz (aka Phil) December 19, 2010, 12:02 PM


        I guess the provided the butter 😉 Reminds me of the hot dog scene in Bachelor party.

      • A. Nuran December 19, 2010, 4:32 PM

        Or the guy who smuggled a goose into the theater in his pants.
        A while later one girl turned to her friend and said “That guy next to me, his thing is sticking out.”

        “Big deal,” said her friend “We’ve all seen those before.”

        “Yeah, but this one’s eating my popcorn!”

        • speculating December 19, 2010, 9:36 PM

          LIKE!! 🙂

  • Anonymous December 19, 2010, 6:47 PM

    Not to mention that the guy might hold her hand, put his arm around her, or sit with her head leaning on him/their sides touching the entire time. Even if they don’t do the ultimate sin, making out (Chas veshalom) it is still a big Yetzer Hara zone. Tsk.

  • OfftheDwannaB December 19, 2010, 6:48 PM

    Hurray for Accidental Kiddush Action!

  • Anon December 19, 2010, 6:49 PM

    Of course, it is probably more likely that you touch an unmarried woman’s private parts at a Kiddush than at a movie theater, when squeezing past them to get to the tamtams before they run out.

    LOL. So true

  • Yoreh K'chetz (aka Phil) December 19, 2010, 10:53 AM

    Tamtams should be banned if they lead to such things.

    • ghottistyx December 19, 2010, 10:59 AM

      dude, that’ll be the day they ban kiddushes altogether.

      • Yoreh K'chetz (aka Phil) December 19, 2010, 11:21 AM

        Somehow, I’m can’t picture the scenario:

        “Hey babe, get those boobs out of my face, they’re blocking my access to the herring”. Guy must love herring or hate women.

        • A. Nuran December 19, 2010, 9:42 PM

          The possibilities for tasteless jokes just freaking ABOUND

  • M. Python December 19, 2010, 4:00 PM

    The problem with movies isn’t so much the issur or the temptation, it’s the lose-lose scenario: Misbehave, and you’ll hate yourself at intermission, but behave, and you’ll hate yourself for remembering (if you were ever married or less frum) the joy of watching a movie with a girl’s head on your shoulder, arm ’round her waist, arm ’round her shoulders, hands clasped, etc. The memory will remind you of the miserable emptiness of shidduch dating, despite pathetic third-parties’ exhortations to “have fun.” Then again, when I’ve actually wanted to see a particular movie, taking a well-behaved date was better than going alone.

    • Anonymous December 20, 2010, 6:39 AM

      where do they have “intermission” at movies? have you even ever gone to a movie?

      • Aaron December 20, 2010, 4:34 PM

        Apparently not. He is thinking of the HASC concert where they have intermission so some Jews can ripoff other Jews with high priced food and stuff.

        • Anonymous December 20, 2010, 5:22 PM

          added that to my bucket list – “misbehave” at a HASC concert.

  • M. Python December 21, 2010, 7:34 PM

    Dude, I was alluding to the expression “you’ll hate yourself in the morning” not to rare cinematic intermissions, about which you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I like movies about gladiators?’ Well, do ya Anon?

    Indeed those who would oppose co-ed movie attendance might look equally askance at live theatrical performances, although I know of some elderly orthodox rabbis who attend the latter, despite kol isha.

  • Mitch45 December 29, 2010, 8:37 AM

    Best shidduch date/movie memory occurred back in 1991.

    Full disclosure: I am a huge Star Trek fan. So I get set up with this girl from Flatbush, don’t remember her name or what she looked like. We got into my car and I gave her my usual opening spiel about what kind of restaurant she wanted to go to. She said to me, “if you don’t mind, can we go see Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country”? This was like a lightning bolt – a frum girl who not only asked to see a movie on the first date, but asked to see a STAR TREK movie??? I knew then that this might be someone special.

    We saw the movie, which she thoroughly enjoyed. We then went somewhere in Midtown for a late bite. I drove her home on the BQE. While sitting in traffic, a Beatles song came on and she said, “Oh, I love the Beatles!” I do as well, so we sang together (no kol isha problem for this girl apparently – she was really “with it”).

    I finally got to her house and I was already half in love. I walked her to the door, looked into her eyes and told her “I’d really like to see you again.” She smiled, said “sounds good” and went into her house.

    She closed the door immediately, which seemed odd, as I thought she might keep it open until I got back into my car (which some girls with good Middos do). It was then that doubt started to creep in.

    The next day, I called the person who set us up and told her that I wanted another date. She later called me back to say that the girl was not interested, that we didn’t “click”. I was stunned – didn’t click? After Star Trek and the Beatles?

    It took me years to realize that this girl either (1) liked me but had commitment issues or (2) didn’t like me and just used me to see a free movie that she wanted to see, and was acting interested.

    Live and learn.

    • Mitch45 December 29, 2010, 8:40 AM

      I should also mention the possibility that (3) she liked me but was scared off when I asked her for a second date in person. That was known to happen with some girls.

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