FROM THE BOQ: LOVE & SEX #23

Another question from Gregory Stock’s book is this:

What is the strongest public display of affection you ever made?  What is the strongest one you ever witnessed, and how did you react to it?  At what point do you think expressing affection in public becomes improper?

Before answering any question, it is very important that one understands both the connotative and denotative meanings of the terms used in the question–as well as the context in which they are used. 

In other words, by public display of affectionI highly doubt Dr. Stock means anything as “innocent” as this:

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or this:

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That said, let me answer each part of the question, in turn:

What is the strongest public display of affection you ever made?

I can’t help but laugh, every time I think of this–it’s one of those “stories to tell your (adult) grandchildren!”

Stock doesn’t indicate that the “public display of affection” need have been consentual–and this definitely wasn’t (although she might have secretly enjoyed it)!

It was about 1986, when I was 20–and still living in my Mobile, Alabama hometown.  Jay, my best friend from high school, was practically babysitting me in my drunken state–having drank far less beer than I.  I insisted on going to the Acapulco Club, and he reluctantly went along. 

As soon as we entered the nightclub, I came face to face with the most beautiful set of breasts I’d ever seen!  They were huge, but firm, and cozied in a lacy bra.  And they were attached to one of the most beautiful blondes I’d ever seen.  It just came naturally–I simply grabbed those breasts, and held on!  I can still feel them to this day!  I don’t know how long I held onto that blonde’s breasts–but I was in heaving heaven, and she did not resist!

And I was only awakened by a shrill, drawling voice like that of “Festus” (from “Gunsmoke”).  “Git yer hands off my girlfriend, motherfucker!”

I hadn’t even noticed she had a boyfriend!  She was shorter than I was, of course–but he was shorter than she was!  And this was the only reason I didn’t get the hell beat out of me, I’m sure!

I immediately let go–as dazed as his girlfriend! 

“Oh–sorry,” I said to him.

And I really was.  I had meant absolutely no harm to either of these two strangers–I was just so fixated on those lovely breasts that I was totally oblivious to anything, or anyone, else! 

I just had to grab those breasts, and hold them firmly in my hands!

Of course I also had to leave the Acapulco Club immediately–but it was worth it!

Do I regret what I did?  Of course.  It was inconsiderate, to say the least.  Yet I cannot help but laugh every time I think of it–and I can still feel those beautiful breasts in my hands!  They were that divine–they left that much of an impact!

What is the strongest one you ever witnessed, and how did you react to it?

The strongest “public display of affection” I’ve actually seen many times–at bars and nightclubs.  When I was a child, during the disco era, my Great-Great Aunt Pearl once expressed disapproval of the bump.  She’d grown up in the early Twentieth Century (born in the late Nineteenth).  And this new dance, men and women “bumping their bottoms together,” was quite offensive to her.

Of course, Aunt Pearl had lived through the Roaring Twenties–and there certainly was alot of strongly suggestive dancing during that time.  But it’s easy for us to forget that the majority of people did not frequent speakeasies (just as the majority of people weren’t hippies or flower children during the Sixties).  As with any era, the majority of people during the Roaring Twenties weren’t roaring–they were too busy just living, and trying to provide for themselves and their families.

So Aunt Pearl had probably never seen much of the flapper scene.  And of course she didn’t see much of the new disco scene either–though enough to have witnessed the bump somewhere.  And I can certainly understand why this “bumping (their) bottoms together” was offensive to her. 

That said, the bump was nothing compared to the next dance craze–the dirty dancing that seemed to have begun in the late Eighties and continues to this day–getting dirtier and dirtier.  This dance–which can best be described as simulated sexual intercourse–seemed to have begun with the movie, “Dirty Dancing”.  But just as “Saturday Night Fever” had simply brought the already well-established disco dancing to the mainstream public consciousness–“Dirty Dancing” arguably did the same with dirty dancing.  In other words, art imitated life–not the other way around.

Whatever the real origin of this dirty dancing (and I consider the lambada, bumpin’ & grindin’, and twerking to simply be variations of dirty dancing), it still goes on at dance clubs all over the country–at least last time I checked.  And it really is the “strongest public display of affection” now, short of actually having sexual intercourse. 

I’ve done this once–at a country bar I used to frequent.  The woman, a stranger, was quite attractive, and it was quite arousing dirty dancing with her (amidst numerous other couples dirty dancing).  Yet I still felt somewhat–well, dirty!  It wasn’t actually the dancing–it was the fact that it was in public.  And that’s really the problem with this simulated sexual intercourse–at least for me.  It would be fine in the bedroom–but it just doesn’t belong on a public dance floor.

Dirty dancing is not necessarily immoral–there’s nothing unethical about it (in an adult atmosphere, of course).  But when a couple starts having this simulated sexual intercourse in public, I cannot help but think, ‘Those two should get a room!’  And I’m reasonably certain alot of other customers at a bar or nightclub think the very same thing.

At what point do you think expressing affection in public becomes improper?

Of this three-part question, this part is the most difficult to answer (or the simplest).  If, instead of improper, Dr. Stock used a word like unethical or inconsiderate, it would be alot easier to answer (though the answer could take up pages of space).  But he doesn’t.  So the question is simple to answer because of the time it takes to answer it–yet difficult to answer because of the relativity of the term, improper

What is considered improper is far more relative than what is considered unethical or inconsiderate–relative not only to a particular culture, but to a particular individual.  What is improper in one culture is not necessarily improper in another.  And what is improper to one person is not necessarily improper to another.  I consider dirty dancing in public–because it really is simulated sexual intercourse–quite improper.  But someone else might not consider it improper at all.  Likewise, most Americans (at least of my generation (Generation X) and previous ones) consider simulated sexual intercourse in public to be improper.  But most people in some Fourth-World cultures may not consider it improper, at least in certain courtship rituals.

So it’s all a matter of context.  The key word of this entire three-part question is publicIn the privacy of the bedroom, almost any display of affection is acceptable.  But in public, almost any display of affection is questionable.

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