Mature Eyes Only

I have a confession to make.

A few weeks ago, my sister-in-law and I rented the movie Bridesmaids.

I know, I know.  What kind of role model am I for the young Catholics of the world if I can willingly subject myself to such a film?  And why even tell you this at all?

Well, besides the fact that I want to be straightforward with my readers about where and who I actually am, I tell you this because I have a sneaking suspicion that many of you have seen, or will at some point in the future see, a film on par with Bridesmaids.  And I’d like to share a little secret with you.

Actual running time of Bridesmaids: 125 minutes. 

Time my sister-in-law and I spent watching Bridesmaids: about 100 minutes (and no, we didn’t press the Stop button before the final credits rolled).

Friends, allow me to re-acquaint you with the beauty of the fast-forward button (yes, it’s for more than just skipping over commercials during your pre-recorded TV shows).

Remember when you were younger, and you happened to be in the room with your parents when an inappropriate part of a TV show or movie came on?  If your family was anything like mine, one of three things happened:

  1. Your parents told you to cover your eyes (or did it for you)
  2. Your parents fast-forwarded until the part was over
  3. Your parents changed the channel or turned off the TV altogether

They did this for the same reason they did most things: to protect us.  They loved us and wanted to safeguard the innocence of our minds and hearts.

And then we grew up.

Our parents may have loosened up the leash a little bit, not because they no longer cared, but because we were now old enough to know right from wrong, and they couldn’t oversee every decision we made throughout the day.  It became our own responsibility to protect our own innocence.

Unfortunately, a lot of us misunderstood this.  We noticed that the world often frames inappropriate content as being for “mature” eyes only.  Subtext being: If you can’t subject yourself to watch what can hardly be labeled as anything other than soft porn (or worse), then you’re an immature little kid who still needs to grow up.

Well, I’m 21.  When I’m in a movie theater and stuff starts happening on the screen that, frankly, should not be happening on a movie screen, my eyes shift sharply downward (and I’m also not above covering the eyes of those around me—just ask any of my guy friends who have ever seen a movie with me :-P ). If it gets really terrible, I walk out of the theater and ask for my money back (which, for the record, I’m certain I would have done if I saw Bridesmaids in theaters).  If I’m at home watching a movie, those parts get fast-forwarded over.

To a lot of the world, this may mean that I’m immature, awkward, or worse.  But I know myself.  I’m human.  And yes, I’m weak.  The things I allow myself to see, hear, or do have an impact on me whether I want them to or not.  And as far as I know, there’s no magical age that humans outgrow that completely.

I’m not saying that you should all go out and rent the worst movies you can find just as long as you fast-forward through the bad parts.  Just remember that if you ever find yourself in a situation where any kind of evil is placed in front of you, you always have the option to turn away from it.  I think that recognizing your weaknesses and guarding against them takes a lot more maturity than staring helplessly at whatever is put on the screen in front of you.