Friday, June 8, 2012

Watching Movies With Nudity With Your Parents

Let me just start by saying, don't do it. It's not worth the emotional trauma or the years of therapy you will need as a result.

Unfortunately, however, sometimes nudity will just pop up in a movie when you're not prepared for it.

Take, for example, the time when I was 14, and my mom rented Pump Up the Volume for a mother-daughter bonding night. I actually thought it was a pretty hip choice on her part, considering that when I was 12 and asked to see a PG-13 movie that all my friends had seen, the response I got was, "You can see it when you're 13." Obviously, I'd come a long way in getting my parents out of the dark ages in just two short years. As for the fact that I would be watching the movie with my mother, well, we were watching it at home, not going to the movies. You know, in public. Nobody had to know. It was all good.

But that was before the scene where Samantha Mathis was making out with Christian Slater, and she took her shirt off. And she wasn't wearing a bra.

(Having watched this movie now as an adult, I realize that there was plenty in the movie that should have embarrassed me besides Samantha Mathis's boobs. Such as the fact that Christian Slater's character referred to himself as Happy Harry Hard-On and did an extensively over the top impression of a man jerking off that put Meg Ryan's fake orgasm to shame. But remember how I wasn't allowed to watch PG-13 movies until I was 13? Yeah, there was a lot that I didn't get until I was much older. Which is embarrassing in itself, but for completely different reasons.)

Anyway, that happened. And I sat there, staring at the TV screen in horror, thinking, oh my god, I am watching this with my mother. And to be fair, I'm sure it was just as horrifying for her. Neither one of us moved our eyes from the screen for the remainder of the movie, in a deliberate effort to avoid eye contact. When the movie ended, we still sat motionless, staring at the blank TV screen. I was terrified that Mom would want to talk about what we had watched in some kind of twisted Very Special Episode moment. I had to figure out a way to escape before that happened.

"Good movie," I said in a strained voice.

"Yes, wasn't it," she replied, her voice equally strained.

"Well, look at the time, it's almost 10, I guess I should get to bed. Good night!" And I made a run for it. And we never spoke of it again.

Or, at least, not for many years.

Fast forward a decade and a half, give or take a couple years, and one day Mom (who, I discovered as an adult, was not really the prude I thought she was when I was a young teen, but was trying to shelter me - something I understand better now when I hear my 7-year-old niece singing about skinny dipping in the dark and it makes me want to smash any radio that might play Katy Perry in her earshot), anyway, Mom was telling me how funny Get Him to the Greek was and recommended that I watch it. So I asked her if she'd seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall, because Russell Brand played the same character, and it was also very funny.

(Huh. Katy Perry. Russell Brand. All in one paragraph. I totally didn't even do that on purpose.)

ANYWAY. A couple weeks later, Mom borrowed Forgetting Sarah Marshall from a coworker, and asked me if I wanted to watch it with her.

I hesitated. "Did I mention that there's full-frontal male nudity in it?" I asked.

"You know, we're both adults now. I think we can handle it," she replied.

I considered this, and then shrugged. "I guess you're right. It couldn't possibly be as bad as when we watched Pump Up the Volume."

"Oh, god, that was awful!" Mom exclaimed with a shudder.

It was strangely comforting to know I wasn't alone in the horror of that memory.

Mom asked my father if he wanted to watch with us, but he declined. I was secretly relieved, because even though I was now enough of an adult to watch nudity in movies with my mother (supposedly, anyway), I wasn't sure I was quite ready to look at a stranger's penis with my father.

Unfortunately, fate had other plans. After putting in the DVD, we discovered that the remote was missing, so we couldn't choose the movie version we wanted to watch, because those controls were ONLY on the remote. After searching in vain for the remote, Mom went to find Dad to see if he knew where the remote was, or if he could figure out how to get the movie to play properly. It was my further misfortune that this particular DVD was one of the ones that start to play the movie automatically when it has sat in the DVD player for a few minutes. So I suppose it was inevitable that Dad walked in at the EXACT moment when Jason Segel opened his towel and showed the world his goods, and I had to relive my adolescent horror.

Clearly the lesson here is that I shouldn't tempt fate. I failed to learn this as a teenager, and I paid the price. From this point forward, I will play it safe and only watch movies with my parents that feature animated singing animals.