“The Babysitters” & “What Happens In Vegas”
                                    Sex with A Purpose?
 
It has only been in the last few centuries that the Western World has been in thrall to the Romantic notion that a man and woman ought to marry because they fall in love with each other.  Before then, marriages were arranged by families, presumably because raging hormones could not be trusted to be good judges of long-term compatibility.  Our ancestors may have had something there.  Of course, other circumstances came into play, as well, like political alliances (not always a bad thing), and the desire of the royalty to preserve blood lines (thus the curious inbreeding of nobility), and the desire of the wealthy to not dilute long-held family wealth (thus the persistence of economic aristocracy). 
“What Happens In Vegas” is what happens when a man and a woman who might otherwise be sensible, rational, responsible human beings allow themselves to get, in no particular order, impulsive, hedonistic, compulsive, reckless, intuitive, and inebriated.  They just might wake up in the morning and find themselves married.  There was a time, in this country, when that would not have been an easy contract to dissolve.  These days, a divorce is almost as easy as a wedding.  But in this case, there’s a complicating factor:  he put her quarter in a slot machine, and they win the jackpot.  But if they’re no longer together, whose money is it?  Since this is America , they wind up in court, and the judge decrees that they must try marriage for six months, and then they can come back to him and talk about distributing the assets:  an unusual decree for unusual circumstances.  Cameron Diaz plays the professional woman who has been so married to her career, and so committed to trying to please her demanding fiancée, that she has lost track of who she is.  So when he suddenly breaks up with her, she goes to Vegas.  Ashton Kutcher plays the slacker guy who just got fired from his job---by his Dad, no less----whom he can’t seem to please, anyway, so he’s quit trying. Then he goes to Vegas.  After their accidental fantasy fiasco, the two of them try to build a real life together, but it isn’t easy.  They now have the worst of both worlds.  The romantic notion has already come and gone, and they are forced to try to make something work that was decreed for them---but after they’d already developed mutual antipathy.  How to overcome the reciprocal disdain?  Well, by each helping with the other’s self-loathing, but in a lighthearted, comical way.  This movie advertises itself as a silly comedy, but it is actually a bit deeper than that, because it gets at the heart of what really does make relationships work: which is, well, work.
“Babysitters” possesses an even scarier premise than two consenting adults suddenly getting hitched in Vegas:  some high school girls hire themselves out as “babysitters,” but are actually servicing the Dads on the drive back home.   The money’s good, but sex for hire turns out to take a toll on everybody.  Even the most calloused married man would have some misgivings about taking up with a teenager.  Even the most materialistic teenager would have some emotional pangs about giving herself up physically with no emotional involvement.  Surely, we would hope, people can’t actually go through with this?  Well, as in “Vegas,” for an impulsive few moments, they could.  And then they suffer the consequences.  It’s a disturbing premise, and hopefully will not encourage others to behave badly and mimic the plot.   It’s probably too much to hope for that people would never suddenly get married in Vegas again.  But perhaps if we had a judge like that one, and could really decree that people get over themselves and really work at it for six months before they’re granted the annulment/divorce, we might have fewer disillusioned romantics.  And more relational realists.  Amen to that.
 
Questions For Discussion:
1)      Have you ever done anything while out of town that you wouldn’t want the folks back home knowing about?
2)      When a teenage girl is paid for sex by a married man, should both be prosecuted?
And does the answer to that question change, depending on the age of the girl?
3)      What are the advantages and disadvantages of the romantic ideal of marriage?
4)      What are the advantages and disadvantages of marriage being arranged by the families?
 
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church, Greenville , Texas