I am not a fan of PDAs, Public Displays of Affection. I don’t mind a peck on the cheek or lips as you say goodbye to a loved one, or holding the hand of your husband as you walk down the street; those things seem sweet to me. But when it goes beyond sweet and enters into something more? Well … let me tell you a story.
While living in California, BC — Before Carlos — I’d met this guy, whose name now escapes me because since our date I have always, and only, called him Harvard. He asked me out and we decided to spend the day in San Francisco; he wanted to visit the Museum of Modern Art, so you know, art, museum, art. But while there, and while gazing at a painting, he walks up behind me, wraps his arms around my waist and tries to stick his hands down the front of my pants.
I calmly ask, ‘What are you trying to do?’
‘I’m trying to get into your pants,’ he replied.
‘Well, you’d have better luck getting into Harvard.’
Hence the name.
Now, I was attracted to him, but I really kinda felt that maybe the art museum wasn’t the place to grab my junk; call me crazy. And sure, the hands fondling my package is not the same as a kiss, but there are times when a kiss — especially between two men — makes people uncomfortable, and there are times when it doesn’t …
As happens at sporting events from time to time, when, up on the Jumbotron appears the words ‘Kiss Cam,’ and then a camera operator zooms in on a couple, usually heterosexual, and the couple kisses on camera. For several years the camera operators at these events might focus on two men attending the game, and the men might grimace and pretend to kiss and the crowd would boo and moan because, you know, two men kissing is icky.
But just last week, at an LA Dodgers baseball, the ‘Kiss Cam’ moment came up and after spotting several opposite sex couples in the crowd, all of who gladly kissed for the camera, suddenly two men — Steven and Rick Simone-Friedland — appeared onscreen and, with a slight hesitation, they kissed.
"I turned to my husband … and I said 'You know, this could go badly. This could not go well,' but then we did it, because we thought it would be just so fun to do, and then we heard the crowd — and that was really unexpected, and beautiful, and affirming. All we did was kiss. What made everyone's day was the crowd reaction … I don't think anybody was expecting that reaction … I kiss my husband every single day. That's not the big deal. The big deal is what happened immediately after. That's just the most amazing thing."
It’s just a kiss right? And a kiss is just a kiss, even between two men, but apparently it’s so much more in Huntington, West Virginia, where Zackary Johnson and Casey Williams paused on the street for a quick kiss and ended up being attacked by Marshall University football running back Steward Butler.
The couple was visiting friends and , after a night of dinner and barhopping, had started walking back to their hotel when Casey pulled Zackary in for a kiss. Steward Butler, riding by in a car with friends, leapt from the automobile and being shouting anti-gay slurs at the couple before punching both men in the head.
"I thought it was going to be the normal case of someone rolling their windows down, yelling some words, and just keep on going, I mean that happens a lot." — Zackary Johnson
Butler is claiming the confrontation was in self-defense, though it’s unclear how he was defending himself against two men kissing … unless he wanted to kiss one of them? I mean, maybe he’s a self-loathing closeted homosexual who spotted two men, in love, walking down the street and stopping for a kiss and then decided he couldn’t stand to see them doing that when he couldn’t and so he had to jump out of a moving car to tell them how much he hated them for kissing … with his fists.
Whatever his reasons, and there really aren’t any, Steward Butler is charged with two counts of misdemeanor battery, and was dismissed from the Marshall University football team.
All because he didn’t like the idea of two men kissing, so I’d like to offer him, and others like him who might decide to stop man-on-man kissing with their fists, a little lesson:
If you’re on the street and you come across two men, or two women, kissing, and you find it repugnant … ignore it and just keep moving.