Sunshine Boy is closing in on 16 years old in a few months. In many ways, he’s an extraordinary young man who makes Mr. Sunshine and I very proud. And in many ways, he’s very much a normal teenage boy, who makes Mr. Sunshine and I cringe. As such, he has increasingly been asking to see movies we don’t necessarily want him to want to see. Specifically, R-rated movies.
The other night, as I was in his room saying goodnight (can it still be called tucking him in if he’s almost 6 inches taller than I am?), he asked me if he could see “The Dictator”. I asked what it was rated.
“R”, he said.
“Don’t you have to be 17 to be able to see an R-rated movie?” I asked pointedly, “How old are you?”
Nice try kid.
To be honest, we have started to allow him to see R-rated movies, and have found out after the fact that he has seen R-rated movies at friends’ houses without our knowledge or permission. We realize that we are no where near as cool or hip (is that still a word?) as his friends’ parents who all allow their kids to see any R-rated movie they want. We’re perfectly OK with that.
But when we allow Sunshine Boy to watch an R-rated movie, there is a price to pay beyond the ridiculously priced ticket and concessions. One of us gets to go to the movie with him, and sit with him. This way, it ensures he will be sufficiently uncomfortable during the scenes where he should be uncomfortable.
When I am the tag-along parent, I totally understand that watching sex scenes with your mom is uncomfortable. That’s pretty much why I’m there.
And there is a “discussion” after the movie. Always. Where we talk aboout the movie. All of it. Not only does he have to watch any sex scenes in the movie with his mom sitting right next to him, he has to talk aboout it with his mom afterwards.
To be up front and honest, I generally HATE R-rated movies. (I am truly a G-rated movie kind of gal.) But I am trying to allow my son to grow up and be a part of his peer group. (We are well-acquainted with his friends and love and approve of them all, so far. If a girl enters the picture, all bets are off.) So if I’m forced to attend one of these R-rated movies as a good parent, I make it worth my time, and I have a little fun with it. There’s no crime in watching my kid squirm a little!
And then we come to Mr. Sunshine….. I am quite certain that when he takes Sunshine Boy to an R-rated movie, he is “one of the boys”. I imagine him springing for the large popcorn and refillable sodas, laughing out loud at all the “right” places, and walking out of the theater, arm around our son’s equally-tall shoulder, both laughing at the raunchy humor. And probably laughing at how they got away with watching an R-rated movie and both enjoying it, behind my back. (But not really.)
So Sunshine Boy will probably get to see “The Dictator”. And so will Mr. Sunshine. And I will get to avoid seeing it myself (thank God!). And we’ll all pretend that Mr. Sunshine made Sunshine Boy aware of all of the inappropriate humor while we all know that they just spent “Man Time” together. And Sunshine Boy would never spend time with his father if anyone actually called it “Man Time” out loud. But knowing that our time is rapidly shrinking as Sunshine Boy gets closer to a driver’s license, “Man Time” is the price we charge to see an R-rated movie.
It’s a steep price, but I think we’re OK with that.