Make Love, Not Litter
One of my Facebook friends posted a piece of writing that she had done after seeing two people making out while leaning up against her white picket fence. She was horrified. Disgusted, even. She will never be able to look at her fence again. Granted, the making out apparently turned into “groping,” though given her horror, I’m not sure that I trust her opinions as to what is “groping” and what is just a predictable ass-grab when you’re really making out.
Interestingly, she begins the piece by describing her neighborhood as marginal. A place that is on the path to gentrification, but not “there yet.” As if being gentrified is the goal of the neighborhood, as opposed to HER goal FOR the neighborhood. She describes litter and the occasional need to carry a big stick to address passersby and people loitering on the street. And, of course, she describes her white picket fence.
The scene that unfolded was this: She was walking her dog and came back to see these people making out, heavily, leaning up against her fence. She slammed the gate, hoping it would stop them, it didn’t. She told her husband, he didn’t care. She thought about calling the cops, but decided against it, in case they were done by the time the cops got there. She got increasingly horrified thinking about what was going on. She looked again, they were leaving.
So, I imagined what my response would have been to the same situation. It went something like this:
The big black dog and I were finishing our evening walk when we arrived home to see two people making out, leaning up against our fence. The people in my neighborhood provide no end of things to think about, really. I have grown used to stepping over cans and bottles, and just as used to ignoring the people who bitch and moan about it. I have gotten used to hearing the occasional fight down the road or even a gun shot, and just as used to being told to mind my own business when I ask if everything’s okay.
For what it’s worth, I like the diversity, and even the tension, of my neighborhood. This neighborhood is as alive as I am, and watching it grow and change provides so many opportunities to learn about how we treat each other as a community.
So, imagine my surprise when Ty and I walked up on these two people making out, on my fence. It’s a bit odd to say that I loved it, but not in some voyeuristic way. I love the idea of two people wanting to make-out so badly that they have to drop their groceries on the ground and lean up against the nearest solid surface. We should ALL feel that kind of passion. I love that, for whatever reason, they chose MY house as the place to do that. I will try to remember that I want to create a place for love. Most of all, I love that what they were filling the neighborhood with was love itself, and not the litter, violence, vitriol or strife that we’ve all gotten so used to.
Obviously, since it didn’t happen to me, I don’t get to respond that way. But I do get to respond to the fact that anyone was so horrified about people making out in public. It was night, on a low-traffic street. I’ve done that, and those are some happy happy memories.
But more than that, why would anyone be so horrified by the site of people making out? That just makes me sad. I’m not a huge PDA fan, really. But this wasn’t at a movie, or a crowded restaurant or something. Why would anyone be so offended that they won’t be able to look at their fence again?
Did someone teach her that physical expressions of love are bad? Do we want to continue to teach people that? How does it serve our kids and our communities when we let them think that making out is offensive? That it’s wrong to “want” someone like that. (God, it’s pretty much the best feeling in the world!)
I would like to think that she’s the only person on the planet who would react this way, but she’s probably not.
How did we get so incredibly uptight? And what can we do to change that? How do we create a world where expressions of love are like little gifts, no matter where we find them? And where bodies are joyful not shameful?
I’m sad. Her post made me sad all day.