FOR a people who are painfully private, the English are pretty public when it comes to kissing.
It really does. Block the traffic, I mean. Only last week I saw a girl going hell for leather at her boy. The boy was driving on the Holdenhurst road with one hand — the other being agreeably engaged — towards the ASDA roundabout in Bournemouth. The girl increased her assault and the car screeched to a halt at the circle. And though the way was clear, they stayed there for the next few minutes. I craned my neck to see inside — just so I could report on it accurately, you understand — and the two cars behind waited patiently for them to finish.
Now don’t think this happens only with the youth. Even the middle-aged and the old succumb to it, though, fortunately, the very old stick to holding hands and grinning goofily at each other.
Like with the youth, the elders get an extra kick if they have an audience for their kiss-and-gos. Everyone’s favourite place is any sort of queue, just as they are next in line. Once quite late at night, an ASDA cashier and I waited a long time for a couple to finish their business. Being English, the cashier looked away, but I kept a close watch on the kissers just in case they needed any sort of assistance.
Personally I find all this most entertaining. This is partly because I am from India and mostly because I am me. Unlike the English, Indians are undoubtedly a much excitable people, who normally blurt out things. An Indian, if he doesn’t like something, would say, ‘This is utter crap,’ whereas an Englishman would say, ‘Smashing! How wonderful!’
Despite such unreserved expressions, Indians — and here’s the irony — clam up when it comes to kissing. If they want to kiss, they go home, lock the door, pull down the blinds, check again if the door is locked and the blinds down, look over their shoulder, then kiss. Then they will open the door and put up the blinds and pretend they haven’t kissed, for fear the kiss police of a certain nationalist party will arrest them.
This all goes to prove things are exactly the opposite of what they appear to be — that within every Englishman there beats a heart of pure passion.