Friday, May 06, 2011

Romance IRL – In Public and On Display

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a prude (at least, I don’t think I am), but some public displays of affection (PDAs) gross me out. Maybe I’ve got puritan values. Or maybe people aren’t doing it right.

Witnessing lovers in public should make you go “awww”, not “ewww”.

Seeing couples who are sharing their love in a public way can inspire me to think about love and romance in general, to reflect on my own experiences, and, yes, even to write. And anything that inspires me to write is good in my books.

The line shifts between what is an acceptable PDA and what makes me cringe. It depends on the place, the degree of affection, and, sadly, the people involved. Kissing that might be sweet and romantic on a park bench can seem repulsive in a crowded restaurant (a recent example is still fresh in my mind, where the kissing was mainly taking place after the meal was long since devoured). Similarly, an older couple with their hands around each other might be adorable while a prepubescent couple might draw some unwanted stares and glares.

Handholding almost always makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. That could be because I’m a fan of handholding myself. Nothing is better than that warm safe feeling holding a man’s big strong hand gives you. Plus, I’m a klutz, so having an extra steadying force beside me is never a bad thing.

Loving couples are the backbone of romantic literature and seeing them IRL (in real life) can inspire us to write convincingly about them. Our experiences shouldn’t be faithfully copied down into our fiction. We need to see real life examples, not just rely on other works of fiction. And in real life, the variety of couples is broad, illuminating and beautiful. Use them, be inspired. Just don’t use the ones that make you say “ewww”.

Photo courtesy of luigi diamanti at

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