Pucker Up

One thing I have learned from the press coverage of all the recent political developments regarding gay marriage is that I don’t enjoy looking at pictures of same sex newlyweds kissing. Sure if I was a photo editor I’d run photos of men kissing men or women kissing women: it’s eye-catching and succinctly illustrates the issue. And for the larger cause of gay rights extra visibility is a good thing, but I still don’t want to see it. In real life people kissing is fine. They kiss, the moment ends, and they resume moving–it’s all natural, part of a flow. A picture of people I know kissing is usually tolerable, but a photograph of strangers frozen in mid kiss is too intimate. I feel churlish because these particular kisses are hard won, but the photos and the treacly nuptial talk that accompanies them have an icky quality. I think, what are you going to do now: go home and make love?

I don’t want to see men kissing men. I maybe want to see a woman kissing another woman, but only if they’re both really cute. I don’t want to see a man and a woman kissing either. The one entry in this genre I don’t mind is a man in a tuxedo kissing a woman in a frilly white wedding dress, because this is such a cliché that I take it in as a whole, without perceiving individual people. It’s merely a stock image, not TMI.

People who believe homosexuality to be disgusting are only partially correct. It’s not homosexuality that’s disgusting, it’s the sexuality of anyone you’re not personally physically attracted to. Which is pretty much all sexuality, which is why societies evolve privacy taboos around it. Left to our own devices most of us are good about respecting each other’s sensibilities. It’s only when busybodies take it upon themselves to create government incentive programs for the purpose of coercing people into conducting their sex lives in a state-sanctioned manner (otherwise known as the legal institution of marriage) that things get messy. Then newspapers are obliged to put kissing on the front page because kissing becomes a political act, and the kissers are obliged to make a show of it so as not to be seen as backing down. If you don’t want someone’s private life to be thrown up in your face, fair enough. But the best way to achieve this is to not make their private life a matter of public concern.

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