I’ve admitted this before, but I will reiterate the point in light of what I am about to talk about – I am a bit of a prude. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have any objections to others talking about.. er, you know, er, sex (said in a slightly Miranda-esque manner) and I don’t really mind too much if I have to read a sex scene in a book or watch one in a film or TV programme – I mean, I’m not Mary Whitehouse reincarnated – but I’m not one to sit and chat to friends about it or to electively watch something dodgy (see I have to say dodgy, I can’t even use proper words). When K and I watch a film or tv programme and a raunchy (what is wrong with me?) scene happens we quite often laugh about it “what’s that they’re doing then?” sort of thing. Just to stop me feeling awkward.
I’ve become very aware of late that I need to try and not pass on the prudish tendencies. But it’s difficult. It used to be funny (sort of cute) when A would sing along to songs in the car – she loved Scissor Sisters and one of their songs ‘Filthy/Gorgeous’, was a particular fave. She was barely two years old so her singing along “cos you’re filthy…..ooh and your gorgeous” didn’t really matter, or similarly singing to Lady Gaga about losing her shirt in the club you see see. Nothing dodgy, just a little child singing words she didn’t understand the context of. But, when I hear her now singing along to Zara Larsson (someone who really should consider wearing a skirt sometimes) about “getting to know you better” (this is the least provocative of her lyrics) and so forth, I feel a bit uncomfortable. I suspect that there were plenty of songs in my heyday that made my parents’ toes curl – Frankie’s ‘Relax’ for starters – but somehow it seems different when it’s YOUR daughter. Luckily, she is probably still young and naive enough not to fully get the intention behind a lot of the lyrics that she hears/sings along with and she is definitely still at the “yuck” stage so I am feeling uncomfortable for no real reason.
K, T and I settled down to watch a film the other night (A had a friend for a sleepover and was otherwise occupied) and I was way more than just a bit uncomfortable when the opening sequence involved a ‘scene of a sexual nature’. Bloody Ewan McGregor. I’d forgotten how much that man likes to get his kit off on screen. Now, normally I wouldn’t be too bothered as I’m quite a fan, but when my 14 year old son is sitting 4 feet away it’s a bit different. It was a very brief scene and was not overly gratuitous – it was sort of necessary for us to get the message that all was not well in the marriage of the couple on screen – and so we carried on watching with little to disturb until a further 20 minutes in when another far more disturbing scene (a fairly violent, albeit again very quick, rape scene) at which point I almost yelled “are you sure this is a 15?” and stalked off to check the DVD box before allowing us to continue. Thankfully, that was it sex-wise for the rest of the film and we thoroughly enjoyed the plot twists and storyline, but I was left feeling a tad uncomfortable.
I’ve tried to be a grown up as far as the kids are concerned when it comes to bodies and puberty and sex and have answered questions (while trying not to stutter) that I would rather not have had to answer and have had conversations that I really would prefer a real grown up to come along and undertake for me. I think they believe that they can “ask me anything, tell me anything and I won’t be shocked or upset” (I will be dying inside but I will try not to show it). And I think that K and I are fairly liberal in a non-1960’s free love, sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll kinda way. We don’t censor too much in the way of bad language on TV or films or music (within reason!) – we have the party line that just because you hear someone else say it, it doesn’t mean you should repeat it or that it’s appropriate – because let’s face it T did spend 3 years of his school life on the bus. Nuff said. But when it comes to sex and, indeed, violence, I am more than a little more conservative and would definitely err on the side of, well, prudish.
My colleague was talking about taking his son (same age as T) to see T2:Trainspotting and I am sure he noticed the look of horror on my face before I was able to hide it. Really? At 14? I would rather stick pins in my eyes than let T watch it and he then went on to say that maybe his son should watch the first one to set the scene. Woah. I’ve seen it (the first one) many times and it is NOT something for a 14 year old to watch. Not my 14 year old anyway. I know that T has and will undoubtedly watch films that I deem inappropriate when he is at a mates house, but I am definitely not laid back enough to take him to see them at the cinema or watch them with him on DVD. My colleague’s theory was that he would rather his son see films while in his presence so he could talk to him about it and make sure he was OK with stuff, rather than watching at a mates house. Makes sense, I guess. But can I please have a pass from that parenting session and let someone a bit less prudish than myself do it?