Running Up That Hill
My daughter started watching Stranger Things last month and has become completely obsessed with it. I can’t say I’m mad about this, as I usually get pretty stoked about her liking the same things I do. The scary part, however, is realizing that she is closer to being a teenager than I thought. When she was first introduced to the bad boy of season two she declared him her favorite character. Every time he came on screen her eyes got big and she became riveted to the TV. She giggled uncontrollably when his shirt came off at the pool. I can’t say that I didn’t have a similar reaction when I saw his car, but watching my tween drool over a teenage boy was a little unsettling. My husband, horrified by her interest in Mr. Danger had to point out that she may have a thing for bad boys like her mother. This was further reinforced when she met the dungeons and dragons freak making his third attempt at senior year in season 4. She was instantly smitten. It could have been worse, she could have named the stoner pizza boy as her number one crush, and I would have planned the intervention right then and there.
I am happy to see that her taste has improved since last year. On more than one occasion she told me that she only liked bald guys with hair growing out of their ears. I was a little concerned that she had a very specific type, one that might lock her in his basement or a box in the woods, and then I realized she was talking about her grandpa. I often forget that every man is measured against him. This either sets the bar really high or really low, depending on how you look at it. He is kind of a superman in some respects but he also ate a piece of plastic off the floor last week because he thought it was cheese. So my daughter is going to hold off on dating until she finds a guy who will let her paint his face and nails and eat floor cheese. Great!
Luckily my kid still felt awkward watching any of the affection between the teenage characters during the first few seasons. Even more lucky that I remembered where these scenes were so I could fast forward through the parts that made us both squirm. Somehow in our house watching a demon dog rip a man’s intestines out makes us less squeamish than a couple of fourteen year olds making out with the door cracked three inches. I had already been traumatized during the first season when my kid asked what a douchebag was after hearing it 100 times in the first three episodes. I told her it was a feminine hygiene product and was the equivalent of calling someone a tampon. I’m happy to say she accepted that explanation with no further questions.
She also didn’t ask me what it meant anytime someone said “bang”, “nail” or “screw” and when the creepy middle-aged man asked the teenage boy how the pull-out was, she didn’t question if he meant the couch or something else. I have recognized that she is at an age that I can no longer make sex jokes with her Dad and get away without a look, but when they fly out in the middle of a movie, I am usually caught speechless, which is an unusual place for me. I did get to explain to my kid how valuable both a bike and a walkman were to a kid in the 80s and spent what felt like an eternity in a second hand music store digging through cassette tapes so she could have the full experience. Apparently my generation’s version of walking uphill both ways to and from school in a blizzard is having to rewind a cassette tape to get to right part. Who knew we had it so good.
**Feeing a little 80s so I listened to my favorite band in the 80s. The Clash of course!