Dear Di

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How much thought should you put into a movie you won’t actually be watching?

Dear Di,

Help! I have someone coming over to “watch a movie” or whatever, and I have no idea how to pick a movie to not watch. I know the first 20 minutes have to be entertaining enough for the dance of small talk as we get comfortable with each other, but it should also not be so entertaining that we genuinely get invested. Any recommendations?

Norah Maker

Dear Norah,

The movie choice for a hook-up is more important than people care to consider — we need a balance of not being so terrible or so great that it pulls focus. For such a situation, I typically advise sticking to 3 genres: action, rom-com, or horror.

For action movies, you should have an intense soundtrack and a quickly set-up plot, so that you can still follow if you miss an hour of the movie. I would say this is great for a situation where you may not know your partner that well and don’t want to leave room for awkward silence.

If you go the route of a rom-com, you can expect happy endings and lots of build-up. These may include more quiet moments of longing or a sex scene that makes you feel bored or gives you a chance to make a move.

And finally, if you go with a horror movie, you’ll have a reasonable cover story for burying your face into them. You can also expect the film to have scenes with heavy breathing for yours to blend into. The only drawback of horror films is the potential for jump scares to cut through and interrupt.

Get through some of your awkward small talk by choosing that movie together. Give them an idea of what genre you’d like and let them choose, and judge them on what they choose based on that information.

I wish you luck with this challenge.