My mom and I went on a movie date. It was a bit impromptu, because I somehow missed the fact that the movie I’d been dying to see actually had arrived in our local theater, but we were able to manage to take in a movie, just us girls. I knew I potentially could have some embarrassing moments sitting beside my mom at this particular film because the actors are known for a bit of raunchy humor and foul language. It was rated R for a reason. But, I was not going to allow my anxiety over should-I-laugh-or-do-I-not-want-my-mom-to-know-I-got-that-joke to keep me from going.
I grew up in a house where people rarely swore. And, the times that a little foul language did slip out, it was never the granddaddy of all curse words. I knew all of the curse words, but I just didn’t say them. I can’t remember when the switch occurred, though. That shift from we didn’t swear in front of our parents, to we were old enough to use some more colorful language in front of our parents never was clearly defined, but I remember swearing in front of my parents more regularly as my independence grew. I got my driver’s license and was swearing at home; I got my college acceptance letters and was swearing more regularly at home. It never was an issue, and it never was something I went overboard with; I just knew that one day it was not acceptable to swear in front of my parents, and then it was. Poof!
I also grew up in a house where sex was not a common topic of conversation. Actually, it never was a topic of conversation. I can’t remember having “the talk” with my mom; either we never had it, or I was so mortified that I’ve completely blocked out the memory. Either way, I don’t think we ever had that talk about the birds and the bees, and I think that’s why I never felt like sexual conversations were something I should have with my family members. Again, as I got older, something changed. We still didn’t talk about sex, but my parents did their darnedest to embarrass the daylights out of me. Off-the-cuff remarks just to make my cheeks burn started to be their way of having fun at my expense. “You better knock before you walk in because you just never know!” To this day, I cover my ears and la-la-la my way through their barrage of jokes because I’m afraid I’m going to puke.
So, when I accompany my mom to a movie like the one we saw last night, I never know exactly how to play it. I still feel like that little kid who isn’t supposed to get it, so I don’t laugh at the first two sexually-charged jokes. It’s like an OCD-type rule. Then, I felt like I was allowed to laugh at the jokes if she started to laugh first. I used to really like that philosophy a lot, but eventually it dawned on me that I was laughing at the same sex jokes as my mom. And, if I waited to hear her laugh first, that meant that she actually got the joke. I still don’t know what is worse; sitting there hoping that she doesn’t think I understand the jokes or sitting there knowing that SHE does. My mother just laughed at that! Aaahhhh! My awkward feelings immediately melt away when she laughs hard at the joke, because they are replaced by absolute shock. How does she know THAT word? I try to make myself feel a little better by convincing myself that she’s just laughing because some of our fellow theater attendees are laughing, but I know I’m just lying to myself.
My mom gets the dirty jokes. And, she’s laughing at them. Hard. And I’m not sure I can handle it. At least I wasn’t sitting beside my dad. That would have been mortification of epic proportions. The theater staff probably would have to call my husband because I’d be a puddle underneath my seat. What the Hell?