Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Public Displays of Affection:



As an immigrant, the North American practice I find most disturbing are all the Public Displays of Affection. Not just amongst lovers, but also amongst friends, co-workers and people you don’t even know too well.

When I started high school there would be hugs when you met in the morning, hugs when class was over and hugs at the end of the day; a hell lot of hugging. I also never got the couples on the subway, kissing like they were about to go under the guillotine, without any male evidence of attraction. As my friends mum said, “Nuh man be able to kiss me like that and nuh get excited....he nuh a real man....”

Growing up in Dubai and in the Indian culture in general, PDA’s are plain old unacceptable. The recent uproar in Mumbai, where Richard Gere, caught up in the moment, kissed Indian Actress Shilpa Shetty one too many times on the cheeks, is evidence. To North Americans all the burning of Richard Gere Effigies is just plain silly. To Indians it certainly is not. In the Indians defense, watching the video courtesy Mad Bull’s site, made me wonder if RG was high, he was certainly over the top.

You cannot appreciate how romantic and conservative Indian society is, until you unwittingly pack booty shorts and tank tops for three weeks, accidentally forgetting those pesky sleeves. Despite the heat, Indians always wear sleeves, and quite a bit of clothing. People generally kiss behind closed doors or at a wedding. No where else. Dubai is even worse. Growing up we were not allowed to be seen even talking to boys. Instead relationships and illicit deeds were reserved for terraces. Out of sight, out of mind.

Frankly I am still not used to all the kissing and hugging. Saturday night, at the Monchy y Alexandra concert, a Spaniard, who I didn’t know from Adam, was all kissy, huggy & feely. Here are the rules: If I am dating you, you get to get near me, if you’re my friend/acquaintance, someone I’ve just met (and I have no idea what the future holds,) a simple handshake should suffice. In more tragic moments a hug may be deemed necessary, but it is entirely discretionary.

16 comments:

Jdid said...

definetly not big on PDA. still remember once upstairs at Eaton Centre over by where Greenjeans is seeing this couple really involved in some heavy heavy PDA totally oblivious to those around them

Mad Bull said...

PDAs! Now there is a topic worthy of being blogged about! I wonder if I dare...

Jumbie said...

Hmm, my PDA still fits in my pocket.

Kingston Girl said...

so how do you feel about air kissing? it's not actually touching you - is that acceptable for an acquaintance?!

Miz JJ said...

I remember doing the PDA thing in high school, but now I hate even holding hands. As for the hugging my friends joke that I tense up when they hug me. Lol. I like hugging my family in my defence!

SimplEnigma said...

LMAO @ jumbie...that was cute.

Honestly, the PDA is something I got from my Grenadian friends and my Haitian in-laws. They always hug and kiss when greeting family, so I adopted it from being around them.

In JA, we nuh hug and kiss. And teenagers making out in public like I see on the subways here??!! Simply unheard of.

Slobbering over me in public isn't cute, and I don't appreciate it. Handholding or other subtle things, I can tolerate.

Andy said...

Love, the authorities caught on in Dubai .. all the terraces are locked ... you dont have to go far though ... just hop into one of the pubs and you'll get an eye full!!!

Abeni said...

Not comfortable with too much PDA my self..still do not get all the kissing and stuff

jay bee said...

there is a time and place for all sorts of things; but i'm generally affectionate by nature, something not entirely accepted in the bajan culture. i'm too "handsy" according grandmother... and it's true. out of all my cousins (and there are many of them) i'm the one to touch and kiss and hug and stuff. my parents are uncharacteristically romantic for old-school west indians, so perhaps this is where i get it from.

Crankyputz said...

Mad bull, I double Dare

GC (God's Child) said...

you went to hear Monchy Y Alexandra?!!! Oy. I am so jealous. I don't know all their music but Dos Locos is so nice.

Anyway re pda
I'm torn. Not used to it. Even though I live in NYC, mostly I hang around West Indians and despite the explicit dances there's still a hell of a lot of British reserve. I feel like affection and its expression is between me and he and not a show for everybody to watch. Even not holding hands on the street is fine by me. We're not dogs. We can do what we need to do in privacy. This is not to say I'm calling anybody a dog.

Crankyputz said...

GC, Monchy Y Alexandra were simply amazing live....you have to listen to the classic Vuela Vuela....

Stephen Bess said...

French kissing in the street is crazy to me, but a hug or a quick peck from a close loved one is always cool.

Gooders Girl said...

hmmm.....

PDA's only if I am being kinky ;)

jennifer starfall said...

thank you for letting me know! when we finally get to meet, i promise not to hug you too much. i am a big hugger...

Crankyputz said...

GG, Kinky PDAs at a bar after a good night are acceptable...

Jen: You can hug me, just no debating lol!!!