Public Displays of Affection

15 02 2010

As you might have guessed by now, Amy is fond of free expression. One common manifestation of that drive is that when a passionate kiss is on her mind, the kiss occurs – regardless of the situation. That happens pretty frequently (and honestly goes both ways), and reactions can be pretty funny.

Today’s kiss was in a parking lot and took place after a fun photo shoot for a photographer-friend’s portfolio. I didn’t realize it at the time, but a group of older folks (I would guess mid-80’s) were walking in our direction when Amy decided that the time was right. Fast forward to end-of-kiss, and I notice them coming our way. I wasn’t embarrassed, but was certainly curious to see how they would react.

How pleasant it was to watch one of the gentlemen – leaning heavily on his cane – stand up straight, turn to his friends, and say “How wonderful!”

Sometimes people surprise you πŸ™‚

posted by jayhorowitz

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7 responses

16 02 2010
Michael in the Great Plains

Jay,

Isn’t it interesting how our reactions to people’s behavior–including our reactions to their reactions–are contextual, and based on our expectations? The elderly are expected to be more restrained, and disapproving of the young, so an old man reacting (to a young couple kissing) with the simple words “How wonderful!” is more poignant and meaningful than a young man’s jumping up and down and shouting his approval.

Somewhat similarly, I rmemeber noticing over my years of schooling, that the older and more serious and revered was a professor, the more the class laughed at even his mild (and not particularly funny) attempts at humor. The bar for a cheerful, younger teacher was set much higher.
Emotional impact = expectation divided by reality.

16 02 2010
jayhorowitz

@Michael

Completely – I love your equation! (But I think it should be “emotional impact = reality / expectation” – that way emotional impact increases with reality, right?)

Also, I think it goes beyond what you noted. I wouldn’t expect a young man to jump up and down. I wouldn’t even expect him to care. I would probably be just as surprised by a young man jumping up and down, actually! The fact that an older man not only cared but was made happier was – as you put quite well – a break from the expectation of restraint and disapproval. That’s what made it fantastic. And… I’m rambling.

16 02 2010
Michael in the Great Plains

@Jay

To clarify, the equation I mentioned is a variation on William James’s equation: Self-esteem = success/pretensions. And your positioning of the “numerator” and “denominator” does seem more consistent with his…

You second point (on the old man vs. young) I don’t follow…but these are small things.

Best of luck on your independent living and your blog.

16 02 2010
Freely Living Life

I find it very odd that more people don’t show affection in public! Well within reason anyway. My husband and I are the same way, if we want to kiss, hug, and hold hands we do. It doesn’t matter to us who is around. Although we respect the atmosphere we are in, we aren’t the type to really care what other people think about us. We just are who we are regardless of where we are. πŸ™‚

16 02 2010
jayhorowitz

@Freely Living Life

I wouldn’t have expected anything else from you. Otherwise you wouldn’t be Freely Living Life, right? πŸ™‚

16 02 2010
jayhorowitz

@Michael

Do you have a blog? I’d love to read it. Where in the Great Plains are you and whatcha up to?

16 02 2010
Michael in the Great Plains

@Jay

Thanks for asking, but I don’t have a blog. I may get around to that, but for now I write for print. (My first book is on religion and agnosticism.) As to location and involvements, I’m a transplanted New Yorker living on a semi-urban ranch in Oklahoma; In addition to writing, I also work in the field of mental health.

I’d ask you more questions about your life, but I’ve just come upon this blog within the past couple of days and haven’t had a chance to read your earlier postings, and I imagine they contain many of the answers to the questions I’d ask. My first impressions are that the two of you are an intelligent, indpendent-thinking, high-energy couple with a zest for life’s joys. May you continue to create happiness together.

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