That's What She Said: "Touch Me Not"

Shahana Nair Joshi takes on couples who indulge in excessive PDA all the time.

You’ve seen them at your favourite coffee shop; you’ve seen them taking a lazy walk down an empty sidewalk, sometimes a busy one; you’ve even seen them wrapped around shower curtains for sale. Ok, atleast I have, and all I want to tell them to do is get a room, or a house or a mansion or even a prison cell, anything that gets them to stop smothering each other.

I have absolutely no shame in admitting that I loathe an overdose of affection in public. It is something that I have maintained for a while now and once you cross college, there is no explanation to this kind of social retardation. Call me a prude or a killjoy but anything more than holding hands and an occasional peck on the cheek is mind-numbingly uncomfortable for everyone around you, even if you don’t give a damn.

Pinky and Guggi have been uncontrollably in love for the last four years. Their uncontrollability however is restricted within the bedroom and other places they may wish to explore the wondrous facets of intimacy. So when Pinky played cupid for her friend Anya, it came as no surprise. The man in question was all that Anya could have wanted and more. So after about a month of their little courtship, both couples decided to haunt one of Mumbai’s trendiest clubs, just to unwind on a Saturday evening. What followed was the stuff many nights of barfing and months of counseling sessions are made of. Atleast that’s the way Pinky puts it.

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Anya and the said man were in the depths of each other. The usual for the first few months of a freshly brewing relationship. The immense excitement and curiosity can most certainly lead to a loss of social propriety. But as long as it just affects you and the significant other and not people around you, we’re good. The night turned into a something like a raunchy theatrical performance where Pinky and Guggi watched like parents who feel embarrassed watching kissing scenes along with their kids. Well, that’s the nearest analogy I could find, the Maa still surreptitiously changes the channel when two pairs of hungry lips decide to get to know each other. Well, needless to say the foursome never met again.

Someone once rightly said that when you lack a dignified subtlety in your expression of affection, you’re not really in love but showing off to the world that you actually have someone to love. And I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been in love, I’ve felt my adrenaline pump like never before, I’ve felt a physical magnetic pull towards a special someone even in a public place. Have I controlled myself? In college, most certainly not. But almost a decade later? Most definitely.

Social media has far from helped matters. Facebook and Twitter have now become playing grounds for couples who have the strong desperate need to have profile pages like museums of their relationship and its special but sometimes uncomfortably intimate moments, honeymoons being one of them. I know a couple who communicate only through 'muah' and 'babbyyyyy' all the time, all of which need to die a slow painful death. What you can’t say when physically present or over the phone but only over vapid Facebook walls is beyond me. Maybe I’m just old school, someone who feels that love is an extremely private emotion that has to be nurtured and not displayed like a cow in a cattle sale. It’s obnoxious and very unnecessary.

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In a generation where the exposure to even the acknowledgment of kissing in a public place is only as recent as the 90s where we were witness to Brook and Ridge Forrester go at it, while our moms watched intently, we’ve been a rather deprived lot. The inappropriate display of affection to the point of public embarrassment and awkwardness stems from nothing but an innate insecurity about your partner and what you share. I met a pair of young newly-weds, the ones you get off the south Delhi racks- 2 carat solitaire, red nail polish, both top to bottom in Versace, Gucci and Manolo Blahnik, in that order. They, apparently, were told off by relatives while they were visiting. Yeah you don’t mess around when you’re on BPC (Bade papa and company) duties. That’s just a given.

Most couples tend to forget that there is a world that exists outside each other’s arms. So they need to stop behaving like conjoined twins. I’ve had close friends as well as distant acquaintances make me feel as awkward as Nicole Richie in my grandmom’s Satsang sessions. And it’s not easy. A couple’s comfort levels can be judged by how much they need to physically reassure each other and make a public show of it. It’s like what they say about money – the old whispers, the new screams.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to nursing a bad cold and spewing some vitriol on my next column. Yes, for a woman who loves to look her best all the time, a running nose and a puffy face is not welcome. Oh and please get those cover photos of you and the significant other off your profile. Life size humans clung on to each other with fake smiles is scary as hell.

Shahana Nair Joshi is not just fabulous. She’s a journalist, so she tries very hard to be the woman on top. In reality, she just likes to bum around and eat chocolate.

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