'Grease' isn't the word for my tween
I thought Sandy was simply beautiful. Rizzo scared me. I wondered why Frenchy didn't stand up more for her new Australian friend. Danny Zuko was pretty cute. But the songs were the best part of all. By the end of the summer I knew every last lyric and sung them with all my heart into my hairbrush. Thirty summers ago, when I was 10, I saw the movie "Grease" seven times. Every girl from my age to 20 loved it, too. It was a milestone of the summer, if not our youth.
So as a parent who chooses her battles pretty carefully, why is "Grease'' one of them? My 11-year-old daughter has been asking to see it since she was 9. She's seen several PG-13 movies in theaters with swearing and references to sex. But for some reason I don't think she's ready to see this 1978 take on the 1950s. Or maybe she's too ready. When Kenickie's condom breaks while making out with Rizzo, I had no idea what that was all about. I didn't really care either -- I just wanted to get to the next scene with Sandy. When Rizzo missed a period and calls herself a "defective typewriter," again it soared right over my head. Have you ever really listened to the lyrics for "Greased Lightning"? And when the girls stuffed their bras during a slumber party, I did realize they wanted to be more curvaceous but they seemed a good bit older.
And maybe that's what's different now. Pre-teens these days aren't so far behind high schoolers. They carry the same cell phones, watch the same movies, and can even wear the same form fitting or strapless shirts, available as small as size 8. So maybe I worry my daughter will think she's not so far behind Rizzo and Frenchy. (And remember how she got her nickname.) But perhaps it's better to watch the movie together when she's 11 and talk about the things I would have never mentioned in a million years to my mother. Parents of teens say the best way to keep your kids on a somewhat straight path is to talk about everything. But is she simply too young to watch a boy curse when his codom breaks while making out in the back seat with a girl who snuck out of a slumber party?
-- Katherine Snow Smith, Go Momma