Let me start by saying that the trauma I speak of is not really trauma. It is a complete exaggeration of my inner thirteen year old who would highly disagree with my definition of trauma now. In fact, my inner thirteen year old feels insulted I do not consider seeing the film Wild Things with my father trauma. If you have seen this film you have probably tilted your head and feel like I made a typo. I have not, but without further adieu here is my story.
At thirteen years old, we all find ourselves embarrassed by something. This embarrassment all started when my friend and I wanted to see Grease in the theaters. We thought it was a one night only event, only to find out that they were playing it for the next two weeks or so. The good thing is we were able to go see Grease eventually. However, that left us wondering if we should see another film that evening. We debated for a little while. Titanic was an option, but three hours long. And I was probably one of the few people in world who had not viewed the brilliance that is Kate and Leo. Actually, I’m probably one of the few that never saw Titanic in theaters, but I digress.
Instead, we all agreed on seeing the movie Wild Things. At thirteen I had already seen some films that were not meant for teenagers. I’m not going to pretend that I was a completely innocent baby boo, but what happened next was absolutely traumatizing then. Now it’s a story I gladly share as it’s hilarious as hell twenty years later. Though I will admit that it is crazy to think that it has been twenty years since the release of Wild Things but that’s neither here nor there. We all agreed to go see Wild Things. After all, the film was simply a mystery surrounding a police detective investigating a guidance counselor accused of rape by two of his female students. How could this go wrong?
There are so many answers to that question, but for me the answer is Kevin Bacon’s full frontal scene. I remember sitting in theaters and thinking to myself as Ray Duquette (Bacon’s character) exited the shower, ‘So what. It’s not like they’re going to show anything. They never show guys in movies.’ And there it was! His penis. And I remember then thinking, ‘Holy crap that’s Kevin Bacon’s penis. That’s Ren McCormack’s penis! OH MY GOD MY DAD IS BEHIND US. LOWER YOUR HEAD!!!!! LOWER!!! YOUR!!! HEAD!!!’ So there I was under my baseball cap, blushing like it wasn’t anyone’s business and praying to God my dad somehow didn’t see that part of the movie.
Now I know what you’re thinking. Of course he saw that part of the movie! It’s hard to ignore a film when you go to the theaters to see it. Well, it was back in 1998 when cell phones were not commonplace and we weren’t addicted to social media. Small detail. As we were exiting the theater I kept thinking, ‘Don’t talk about it dad. Don’t bring it up. Just no. No penis talk please.’ I was not that lucky. In fact, I remember him laughing as he said, “You know, I never thought I’d be with my daughter when she saw her first penis.” And there I was wanting to melt into the sidewalk as we walked to the car and my friend laughed. I don’t remember what I said back, as I was too busy dying on the inside.
What I do remember, after my dad finished embarrassing me, is that my dad told us both that if anyone else we all saw Titanic. I’d like to say that until this day I had not revealed I did not see Titanic that evening, but that’s a lie. However, I could not help but smile and laugh at this story now as Wild Things is one of the most bizarre films in the world to watch with a parent. I don’t recommend this if you have never seen the film, but I can say I can basically watch anything with my dad and not feel embarrassed now. I was also okay with throwing him under the bus for letting me buy American Pie too once upon a time at Blockbuster. That’s the story for another time though.