Back when I was a teenager, in a decade known as ‘the Eighties,’ I spent a lot of time at the movie theater. My friends alternated between the theater one weekend and the recreation center the next. It was a great system when I had the disposable money of my parents to burn. I remember when Dirty Dancing came out. As always happens, we were bombarded by advertisements leading us to believe this would be the must-see movie of our generation. I’ve always been easily swayed by such hype and I wanted to see it with my friends.
My mom said no.
“But,” I argued, “it’s PG-13 and I’m 14.”
She was not deterred.
The PG-13 rating was still fairly new and I didn’t really understand it all that much. More important, it was obvious she didn’t understand it.
I think that’s about as far as I got.
“The title says it all. You are not going.”
And I didn’t go. I never saw it in the 80’s. Which is quite odd that I didn’t have an “accidental viewing” of it somehow. You know, I was walking by the theater and somebody was choking and I ran in to save the victim – and the movie just happened to be on. Some lame excuse like that.
But no, I was actually obedient with no loop holes to mom’s word. Funny thing though, I lived to tell about it.
Flash forward years later, the movie is now on the recurring cycle on ABC Family’s programming. Don’t let the name fool you. ABC Family is less concerned about showing family fare as it is promoting it’s definition for a “New kind of family.”
I have never actually sat down and watched the movie in its entirety. It has something to do about mom’s voice in my head whenever it comes on. Plus, I really have no desire to watch it now. There is no crowd to sit with in the theater.
But I have seen enough of it to piece the story together. I get the gist. Just your basic, boy on the wrong side of tracks and girl on, I guess, the right side of the tracks love story. Sounds familiar, where have we heard that plot line before?
The more I see of it though the more I realize how smart my mom was. I am so glad my fourteen year old brain did not see such dark and serious subject matters billed under a “romantic” movie. Knowing me the way I do, I would have glossed over the abortion and possible statutory rape factor (does it ever say how old Baby is? I read somewhere that she was supposed to be 16?) and would have focused on the romance and how love conquers all and blah, blah, blah. Because that’s all my fourteen year old self would have seen. Another bad example of love and romance.
My forty-year old self watched a short snippet and wondered, what happened to Johnny and Baby at the end of the summer? There’s no future here. All they will have is one great dance. And both of them seemed awfully young to have the time of their lives already. I hope for their sakes, that was not the peak of either of their lives. Hopefully they went on to have many happy days. I doubt it was together.
No, my fourteen year old brain would not have picked up on any of that. So, thank you mom. Thank you for saying no and depriving me of the hit movie that year. I appreciate you being a wise mom and for realizing I didn’t need to take those scenes into my brain. Truth be told, I still don’t need to see those scenes.