13 December 2009

Love - terms and conditions apply

Love is a funny thing - not love so much, but other people's reaction to it. Take holding hands for example - in public.

I remember in my day which admittedly was spent in a small Welsh town, with small streets, and small people with small minds, that it was thought "unseemly" for elderly couples to hold hands in public. If two people of mature age had been decadent enough to indulge in such a public show of affection, they would be subjected to holier-than-though stares from the doorstep orators mumbling to each other, "What are they thinking of? Their parents must be so proud".

Fortunately those days are gone, and couples regardless of age, happily enjoy that special feeling of being together one gets from simply holding hands. Maybe I am an old softy, but can there be anything sweeter than to see two people who have spent most of their lives together, fought together, struggled together and loved together, walking down the street holding hands like a couple of teenagers?

However - those days are not quite gone.

Today I was walking down the street when two young men came out of a block of apartments and started walking along the footpath. At first they just strolled along side by side, but then held hands.

That's when I realized that some things still remain the same.

First an elderly woman passed me, "Do you see that?" shaking her head to add visual dramatic effect to her spoken display of indignance. Then a slightly younger woman walked towards me, turning her head to look back at the two lovers - while shaking her head like some human wagging dog in the rear window of a car.

To my left, I noticed that others were staring across the street at the couple - especially when they started putting their arms around each others waists. Had this been a male and female, no one would have taken any notice. Perhaps more to the point, two females would not have provoked such a negative reaction - it is quite common to see two females holding hands here.

My suburb likes to pride itself on being "one of Sydney's more affluent" suburbs, which is why the shopkeepers here charge customers so much for the privilege of being totally ignored by them, unless you are another shopkeeper or local councilor.

Educated, middle class and one would assume enlightened - promoting and supporting one wanky flavour-of-the-month "must do" cause after another, (especially if it has the word "green" or "environment" in it or involves lycra clad terrorists on two wheels running down pedestrians on the footpath), it's not as though we normally suffer from working class, self-righteous, sexual hypocrisy.

But today I sadly witnessed the sort of bigotry It seems I naively believed, had long gone.

A suburb that believes in tolerance, reconciliation, assimilation, reconciliation - and gender based love.

Wherever you may be - be safe

Copyright Mike Hitchen Online, Lane Cove, NSW, Australia. All rights reserved