Under the surface and in the right circumstances, I’m actually quite a soppy romantic. I love nothing better than the small acts of kindness that show how much one person cares for another. An unexpected Post-It note with a few words of love, left on the back of a bedroom door, has been known to go down far better in my world than any big, showy gifts.
Despite this, I have always and forever maintained that public displays of affection are unnecessary, irritating, and frankly a bit gross. Which, for people forced to watch them, they are. No one enjoys being subjected to two strangers fawning over each other, prodding and pawing (well, they might, but that’s a whole other topic of faint revulsion).
It’s faintly forgivable if the both halves of the couple in question are in their teens, and have yet to learn any better. That doesn’t make it pleasant to be on a train back home in the evening along with a pair of teenagers who’re making the most of being able to slobber all over each other before going home to their respective parents - but it is understandable.
But when both parties are somewhat older, and in the realms of should-know-better, there’s not really any excuse. And I have no excuse for being someone with apparently such little self-control that I’ve recently indulged in an activity that makes me feel slightly queasy when I’m on the other side.
My first date with the Nut ended with us snogging like teenagers in a smart bar in town. A recent date with Game Boy ended with us doing much the same in his club, before doing it on public transport (thinking about it, it’s not even a hugely recent phenomenon: I did exactly the same thing once or twice when seeing Minor Sleb, before deciding it was a bad idea in public).
Because, when you’re caught up in the moment, you’re either not bothered by the fellow drinkers or commuters shooting filthy looks at you from adjacent seats, or you’re so wrapped up with desire that you forget that the rest of the world, let alone a few disapproving types, exist at all.
Looking at the picture as a whole, it appears that I’m a person who’s happy to criticise behaviour that I don’t like when I see it in others, and then indulge in it myself when it suits. To counter which hypocrisy, I could do one of two things: either stop capitulating to my inner teenager, and conduct myself with some sense of decorum when out and about; or stop being so bloody grumpy about other people so enjoying their relationship that they can’t keep their hands off each other.
Of course in reality, I’m going to do neither: it’s only a dilemma that I find myself confronted with when on a really good date, or a step or two into a promising dalliance. Which isn’t something that happens often enough to make me reconsider my blatant hypocrisy. Sorry.
Lamb Wrap at F M Mangal, Camberwell
9 hours ago