No, we’re not talking personal digital assistants. Are they even still out there? What we’re talking about are public displays of affection. In general, when tastefully done (which unfortunately isn’t all that often), PDAs are just fine. Walking hand in hand down the street, arms linked while strolling through a park (yes, people still stroll), an unexpected kiss in an elevator. Even She and He have displayed affection publicly. The most public was being caught on the Kiss-Cam at an NHL game in front of 17,000 of our newest, closest friends. We later found out that there were some among those 17,000 who knew us before our 15 seconds of fame and wanted to know how we managed to end up on that video screen. Just hanging around acting like a couple we supposed.
These are true displays of affection. Not the almost public displays of erotica that some seem to think are perfectly acceptable. And not the newest wave to hit coupledom, the public displays of surprise engagements.
Now that the Olympics are over and the NHL is back to its regular schedule, we’re certain there will be several “Will you marry me?” messages on hockey scoreboards across the league. You couldn’t get through the football season without seeing someone proposing, along with the requisite surprise response, on the Monday morning news. And if the asker happens to be a celebrity, the sky and/or television schedule is the limit. Talk show hosts have lost control of their own shows when someone gets into his head that he is going to use that show as the spring board to domesticity. Since we brought up the Olympics, it too has been the site of several proposals. Before the 2010 Winter Games, torchbearer Ryan Clarke proposed to his girlfriend as he ended his torch relay run. Then as the 2010 games were underway, America skier Billy Demong proposed to his longtime girlfriend after winning a gold medal in the Nordic Combined.
Where do these people come from? We recently heard the story of a high school junior who rented a billboard to ask his girlfriend to the prom. If he’s starting out using a public forum as big as a billboard to ask a girl to a dance, imagine him in another 10 years and what his marriage proposal may be like.
We’re not so certain the “surprise” proposals are either fair or surprises. It seems that it would be almost cruel for someone to turn down such a public display. We’ve often seen the very public proposal on the news and the answer has never been “No.” We suppose that’s because nobody wants to be branded as the cold hearted you-know-what when someone makes such a grand gesture in front of so many. Someday, someone may say no and the habit will start to die out. Who wants to take the risk that the outcome might not be what one wants? That sounds almost too much like reality.
The real reality of it is that of all the possible public displays of affection out there, if you’re going to end up on a scoreboard somewhere, make it on the Kiss-Cam. It’s easy. It’s fun. And you get your 15 seconds of fame. Just hang around and act like a couple.
Now, that’s what we think. Really. How ‘bout you?