Public Displays of Effection

I am not a prudish person.  I am an affectionate, red blooded American male who is not ashamed to kiss or hold hands in public.  I have embraced and had tearful goodbyes with the one I love on more than one occasion… in public.  I have publicly declared my undying love and devotion to my true companion.  Nothing makes me swell with pride more than when that love is proclaimed in kind, whether it be in front of the whole bloomin’ universe or in the privacy of our intimate domain.

But there are limits, where good taste should prevail.  Our love is not for display purposes only, certainly not for public entertainment or the “right to do so” simply because we can.  Nor is the affection we might share meant for shock value.  We realize we are not like the animals who have no knowlege of acceptable behavior; whereas they react on instinct, humans are bound by a higher credo, one of mutual respect and admirable conduct.

Years ago I was at a religious service where the public talk was taken from a Bible based topic.  Before the information was shared, we would rise and sing a song in praise of our Grand Creator.  Then after the 45 minutes or so we would stand and sing another song to conclude the service.  At the time my ex-wife and our children all sat together and enjoyed the facility for the purpose it was designed for, learning about and expressing appreciation for God.

This particular day we were at the service and a couple were sitting in front of us.  They were perhaps in their 30’s and seemingly newlyweds.  I say “seemingly” because early on, after the first song was sung and the talk started, they decided that they couldn’t keep their hands off each other.  Long, passionate kisses and touching ensued.  Murmurings, whispering and heads laying on shoulders and more long, passionate kisses all through the talk.  It was obvious that these two people needed a hotel room and not the information that was being given on the platform before us.  And we, the people sitting behind them, were distracted to the point of discust.  Finally, the talk ended and we rose to sing another song, but this couple continued to paw at each other like they were caught in the rites of Spring.  Kindly, but firmly… I thrust a songbook in between them and they both looked up like I had just invaded their bedroom. 

“We have a songbook!”  the man volunteered, looking up at me in bewilderment.

“How about using it then?”  I replied.  With that they rose and departed in a huff.

Now the only reason I bring this up is because of what I read in the news today about a lesbian couple kissing during a baseball game in Seattle.  Apparently there was a complaint about the appropriateness of their behavior during the game and an attendant asked them to “tone it down” a little bit.  But instead of taking the cue to respect others rights to enjoy the game with their children present, these woman refused to cooperate and created a big scene about being discriminated against.

Of course, nothing was made of the fact that any two people acting out their insatiable desire for each other in public would be requested to “tone it down.”  Instead it becomes a gay rights issue. 

I resent that and I’ll tell you why.  My right to go to a religious or public entertainment venue shouldn’t be marred by wanton sexual advances between the species regardless of who they are or what their sexual orientation.  If I want to watch that type of behavior I can rent a video or in some cases view it live in the proper setting.  But public behavior is different.  There is a measure of respect required because we are sharing neutral ground. 

Not everyone shares my beliefs, and I have to accept that.  I do not do it begrudgingly because this is what makes the world go round: positives and negetives, opposites attracting, viewpoints differ subject to possible change.  I’m okay, you’re okay.

Lately we have had a shift in the respect of others opinions.  Now you aren’t supposed to have an opinion for fear of “offending” someone.  But at the same time there are those who becry discrimination while offering to offend others.  How?  By displaying behavior that they feel they have a right to enact regardless of who is watching, and that is a double standard.

According to Josh Friedes of Equal Rights Washington, “Certain individuals have not yet caught up.  Those people see a gay or lesbian couple and they stare or say something.  This is one of the challenges of being gay.  Everyday things can become sources of trauma.”  I disagree.

People put themselves into situations that cause themselves trauma.  There is a time and place for everything and some behavior no matter who the individual(s) is not suitable for public viewing.  Instead of jumping up and down claiming infringement, why not act with a little dignity?  If, as Mr. Friedes says, “it is one of the challenges of being gay” then they have a problem with respect of others because the issue is/was not about being gay or lesbian or straight.  The issue was inappropriate behavior in public in front of parents, grandparents and children.  

I don’t think public displays of affection are bad. There is nothing more charming then seeing a couple walking together holding hands or walking arm in arm.  Even kissing on a park bench or during a show or yes, even while watching a game in Seattle is acceptable because life is good and it is wonderful sharing it with the ones you love.

I don’t know if I am homophobic.  I might be, but I try not to be.  I like to think I am open minded and willing to live and let live.  My sexual preference is mine and I don’t have to “announce it” publicly every chance I get, to me it is a very private matter.  If while in the company of my chosen one, the love of my life, the gift I have received from the One that created us… I show love it is as natural as breathing to me.  But I would never do anything to offend others while attempting to convey that love, it would cheapen our relationship and make it less than sacred to me.  Dignity and respect are key in our marriage, as it should be in any relationship that is worthwhile.  Otherwise we are no better than the animals who cannot contain their lust and know no shame.

So in my mind, bedroom behavior should be reserved for the bedroom.  Who you invite to watch then would be your own business.




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9 Responses to “Public Displays of Effection”

  1. chirchi965 Says:

    I agree with you, sometimes people should also think about how others feel , and the only thing to do is to avert my eyes or pretend to i don’t have the guts to tell them to tone it down :s
    good post, as always great writing


  2. Meander Says:


    i need to think on this one. i think everyone has their level of what makes them uncomfortable. would the lesbian couple making out cause more folk to be uncomfortable? maybe so. if a heterosexual couple were the ones doing the same thing would people be as uncomfortable? you are doing well to explore these issues. at least you are up front about how you feel.

  3. chrisfiore5 Says:

    Hi Agila…

    good to see you again, my friend. We do have the option to look the other way, but like the instance I was speaking of with the couple making out in front of me, it is sometimes too hard to ignore. If they were in the back row of a movie theatre then it wouldn’t have bothered anyone. But to be sitting in a house of God with children there showed a general lack of respect for everyone and everything that is holy, in my opinion.

    hey Meander…

    that was the point I was trying to make, it doesn’t matter the sexual orientation of the parties involved, it is the general lack of respect for themselves and the people around them. Too many times the attitude is “in your face” and “who cares what you think?” But when the shoe is on the other foot and we say “who cares what YOU think!” these same people cry foul. You can’t have it both ways. To have respect you have to earn respect, otherwise you sound like a spoiled child who cannot have it’s own way.

    glad to see you back, I hope this topic does not completely turn you off… AMRFP enjoys making people think.


  4. Karen Says:

    I’ve had to think about this one, mainly to make sure my own personal preferences don’t get in the way.

    I’m not “homophobic”, & I don’t care what 2 (or as it’s been pointed out to me, maybe more) CONSENTING ADULTS do in the privacy of their own home. As long as the curtains are pulled, that is. I don’t want to see it. If for some strange reason I want to go to a sports game, or a movie, I don’t want to see anyone carrying on like they need a bed, or an armless chair, any second. I certainly wouldn’t want to have to explain that behavior to small children who are in the area.

    I’ve been the recipient of a kiss on the lips by my husband who thought I got lost in church, & even the pastor approved because he says we’re a “testiment to what marriage should be”, but Chris’ tongue wasn’t down my throat. Nor were his hands anywhere they shouldn’t have been. He panicked when he couldn’t find me, & I suppose that was his way of making himself feel better.

    Sensual P.D.A.’s should be left at home. Straight, gay, or lesbian, no matter.

  5. marge Says:

    As the mother of a gay daughter I have learned that her happiness is what is most important even though for a long time it bothered me greatly to think she was a lesbian.
    I have accepted it now and even truely care for her partner.
    My daughter is happy and glowing and I know that her partner has contributed to this happiness
    I wouldn’t want to see them making a show of their relationship in front of me or anyone else.
    But I have three children who are “Straight” and I don’t want to see them making a show of their love for their spouse/significant other anymore then I want to see my daughter who isn’t “straight” do it.
    There is a time and a place for showing that kind of affection.
    And I have said, even in a kidding way for a couple (family member or someone I know) to “Get a room” if I think they are becoming overly affectionate in public.

    Showing a little taste is important
    And church is definitely not the place.
    Nor is a ball game.

  6. Chantal Says:

    There is nothing more sensual for a couple to show how hot they are for one another by restraining themselves in public. What a great way to keep the fire stoked: both partners get to anticipate what will come, knowing how the other is feeling. And the general public picks up on those good vibes without being privy to a couple’s private intimacy.

    We are bombarded by garbage television, movies, books, and obsession with celebrities that promote and thrive on letting it all hang out as being acceptable, normal, and defining who we are. If we do, we’re cool, if we don’t, we’re dinosaurs. The “this is who I am and I don’t give a flying fig about you” way of thinking has robbed our society of the ability to discern what the impact of our actions are on others, and it extends to every single issue in society. We are quickly losing our empathy and understanding of others, as well as our self-respect.

    By the sounds of the others commenting here, there is hope for society yet.

    Great post…..

  7. Cyndi Says:

    I agree wholeheartedly. If I see (especially senior citizens) walking and holding hands, I think it is very sweet. A nice, affectionate kiss is also nice and puts a smile on my face. But what you are talking about is just frankly tacky and in poor taste. In public I believe the tongue action and the gropes should be excluded. I don’t care what your gender preference is. Affection is lovely, lust belongs behind closed doors.

  8. chrisfiore5 Says:

    hi Karen,

    as a testament to what marriage should be, bravo! it is wonderful that your husband “found” you and sealed that discovery with a kiss despite being in church. I can’t think of a better place for one to show love towards the other…

    in good taste, of course! good seeing you again, Karen.

    yo Marj,

    You said it perfectly, what makes them happy is key and more power to anyone in a happy, loving and nurturing relationship. But in my mind, the display we are talking about here is meant more for shock value, not a testimony of two people in love. What makes it bad, which is usually always the case, the behavior of a few condemns the whole lot… whether it be young or old, black or white, gay or straight. When people realize that. “Hey… the way I behave has a direct correlation to how my group as a whole is viewed” maybe there would be more tolerance by society.

    thanks for sharing your thoughts…

    hello Chantal,

    you are so right, we do seem to be losing our self-respect… and that is a darn shame. With self-respect comes pride and with pride comes accomplishment and with accomplishment comes a better sense of values and with a better sense of values comes respect of others. If you don’t have it, you cannot give it… it is as simple as that.

    I share that hope, by the way. 🙂

    hey Cyndi,

    it is surprising how seeing a chaste couple who obviously have affection for each other but refrain from a showy display puts others in a better frame of mind. It is almost like we are all involved and share with their sentiment. But when the opposite is true and the wanton sexual advances exposed… it is a major turn off for most onlookers.

    thanks for the comment!

    peace ya’ll

  9. Judith Says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I just spent 15 minutes at a bus stop with two people who really should have considered renting a room. As we got off the bus, I accidentally bumped into the man who turned and yelled at me for being rude…

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