Off the clock with The Checkout Girl: Sugar and spice and science and magic

It seems that, these days, the Jens are back on top. Or the middle. Or the upper bottom, really. Both Jennifer Aniston and Jennifer Lopez have recently released sassy, empowering “sisters are doing it for themselves” movies. The “it”, by the way, is getting knocked up.

It seems that, these days, the Jens are back on top. Or the middle. Or the upper bottom, really. Both Jennifer Aniston and Jennifer Lopez have recently released sassy, empowering “sisters are doing it for themselves” movies. The “it”, by the way, is getting knocked up. The Switch and The Back-up Plan are both movies about ladies of a certain age who decide to stop waiting around for their Prince Charmings and make dwarfs on their own.

Exciting, isn’t it? This science stuff? But it takes a little bit of magic, too. Mr. Right nowhere to be found? Mr. Right Now looking a little dubious when it comes to genetics due to anger management issues and webbed toes? Never fear! These days buying male seed is quicker and easier than picking up the bottle of wine and turkey baster you will need to romance yourself into conception.

You may think I’m being flip, because that’s kind of how I operate, but I kid you not about this sperm stuff. I recently ran into a customer that I hadn’t seen in about two years, and she had a 1 1/2 year old baby with her. I was surprised because the last time we had talked, she was going through a divorce.

“Where’d you get this?” I said, gesturing toward the toddler.

“I made it,” she said, laughing.

She told me she had decided she wanted a sibling for her son (from the marriage) and gone to a fertility doctor.

“Then you just go online, choose a donor, and they send you the, um, stuff.”

How Hollywood!

I wanted to ask more questions, but we aren’t that close. Besides, I didn’t want her mother and I discussing her conception via the UPS guy to be this little girl’s first memory.

But the Jens aren’t the first to bring conception without intercourse into the light. No, indeed. Since Julie Christie was impregnated with a robot baby in Demon Seed, movies have been putting buns in ovens using science and magic, with great success. In fact, three of my favorite movies center around that thing I just said.

Chutney Popcorn is an old movie, because I’m old. In fact, it was released all the way back in 1999 (That’s right, kids, there was a Prince song about it but it actually existed, too! Unlike that mythical Purple Rain he kept whining about). It starred Jill Hennessy as Lisa, a lesbian. Oh, there was another girl, too. Her partner, Reena. But, you know, Crossing Jordan was gay and had a thing for crop tops so it was distracting. Anyway, Reena comes from a traditional Indian family, who frowns upon her homosexuality, but both she and Lisa gain favor when she offers to carry a baby for her sister and brother-in-law, who are struggling with infertility. The insemination scene is funny and real. There is science, there is magic, there is a baby that no one seems exactly sure what to do with. The ending is kind of meh, but the movie is good and, for some reason, I’m a sucker for stories about traditional Indian families. See: Bend It Like Beckham.

Baby Mama is newer and funnier. Tina Fey (Kate) is an uptight, single, driven career woman who has it all and keeps it hermetically sealed in coordinated boxes from The Container Store. The one thing she’s missing is, no, not a man, a baby. OF COURSE! She tries the traditional, non-traditional route of going to a doctor for insemination, but to no avail, so she hires a baby mama (Amy Poehler as Angie) to carry one for her. Guys, you KNOW hilarity ensues. Naturally, the baby mama she chooses is her exact opposite in every way. Why would you want parallel universe you to be the chest for your unborn treasure? Larfs. After an argument, Angie leaves her commonlaw husband and moves in with Kate. Like The Odd Couple. With menstrual cycles. Or not. They both have to step outside their comfort zones, Kate unclenching her ass just a tiny bit and Angie growing up an even tinier bit, to learn to live together. For the baby. There is a scene in a nightclub which is outrageously unbelievable but still gut-bustingly funny. Tina Fey, it turns out, does a Vogue/Cabbage Patch/Riverdance/Possible Seizure dance montage that is not to be missed.

The latest and greatest making babies outside the box movie, not counting the Jens’ gems, of course, is The Kids Are All Right. If you had told me ten years ago that I’d get to watch Julianne Moore making sweet, sweet oral love to Annette Bening I’d have slapped you across the face, kissed you hard, and started making popcorn. Now, though, times are tougher and we’re all a little rougher, it’s not as overtly sexy as you might think. The ladies play a lesbian couple who each gave birth to one child, using the same sperm donor. Now the “Kids” are teenagers and desire a connection with their biological father, played by Mark Ruffalo. It’s a complex situation. The moms feel like this means they aren’t enough, the donor has to decide if the wants to eschew his footloose and fancy-free ways to be an actual father to the kids, the kids, well, are a hot mess, as teens are, and don’t know what they want. It’s a very sweet and emotional movie and totally worth seeing, if only for Julianne Moore’s nipples, which make a stunning appearance like cherries on a vanilla sundae. You can google that thing, but I’m here to tell you that the alleged nipple in the googs is not the one seen in the movie. Stunt nipple?

Okay, so the movies I chose are no Twins, but am I really supposed to believe that Arnold and DeVito are made from the same genetic material? I’d rather suspend disbelief to agree that Jill Hennessy would hook up with a fat chick or Mark Ruffalo is still single and aimless and just waiting to be fixed by me. I’d rather, RATHER believe that Jennifer Aniston and Jennifer Lopez didn’t almost simultaneously release movies where, in the end, they both got their babies AND the men of their dreams. Ladies, you CAN have it all, sometimes it’s just a matter of having two hours to kill.

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The Checkout Girl

The Checkout Girl is Jennifer Lemons. She’s a storyteller, comedian, and musician. If you don’t see her sitting behind her laptop, check the streets of Richmond for a dark-haired girl with a big smile running very, very slowly.

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