Sap is flowing, and it's gooey

KEVIN COWHERD

April 12, 1993|By KEVIN COWHERD

One unfortunate byproduct of spring is that sidewalks, parks and other outdoor gathering places are again filling with young lovers, who are surely among the most annoying people on the planet.

Regular readers of this column know that I have a sunny, upbeat personality, with an amazing tolerance for all types of human behavior, no matter how quirky.

Certainly I could never in any way be considered . . . anti-romance.

Nevertheless, seeing all these hormone-fueled couples strolling arm-in-arm and gazing soulfully into each other's eyes and whispering gooey nothingisms such as "Is Snuggles getting hungry?" -- who are we talking to here, a cat? -- is enough to . . . well, it's enough to make you sick.

(Of course, I was a young lover myself once. But at least my girlfriends and I had the common decency to keep our filthy urges to ourselves.

(We were content to engage in torrid, windshield-fogging sessions in the back of a Pontiac GTO, hurried groping on the living room couch while her parents watched "M*A*S*H" in the next room, furtive assignations in cheap, out-of-the-way motel rooms, that sort of thing.) Today's young lovers practice no such discretion, as was confirmed during a recent walk around the Inner Harbor.

Everywhere you looked, young couples were pawing at each other, as if any minute now one (or both) was about to be rushed off to prison for 10 years.

There was even one lovesick couple clawing desperately at each other in a paddle boat, which takes a fair degree of acrobatic (not to mention nautical) skill.

I swear, after watching them for two or three hours, I was tempted to yell: "Yo, take that to some sleazy singles bar parking lot where it belongs!"

But the problem with yelling at young lovers these days is, you rTC never know what kind of weapons they're packing.

And since the paddle boat was more or less hugging the shoreline, it afforded the young thugs an excellent shot at me if they were armed.

Plus, there was this to consider: I had a chicken salad sandwich and a Diet Coke spread out before me.

In the event of gunshots, I would have been forced to scramble over a nearby sea wall, which would probably mean adios to the food. And then you're talking another four bucks for lunch again.

So I basically kept a low profile and tried to avoid any sort of confrontation, although there was no avoiding The Hand-Holding Couples From Hell.

We've all seen the Hand-Holding Couples From Hell, of course, most notably in the malls and seaside boardwalks.

These are the zombie-eyed, pimply faced couples who have decided that, no matter where they walk or whom they come across, the union of flesh formed between his sweaty hand and hers will not be broken.

Therefore, if you happen to be walking toward them, they let you know with a hard stare that it is your responsibility to go around them. They are simply too much in love to let go of each other's hand (even for an instant) and permit you to pass.

So obsessed are these couples with keeping their hands linked that I have actually seen toddlers garroted and senior citizens knocked off their feet while attempting to walk between the lovers.

For pure unadulterated goo, however, you would have to go a ways to top the young lovers I saw at an outdoor cafe.

Instead of eating their ice cream cones like normal human beings, this couple proceeded to nauseate the other customers by -- hold on, here's where it gets ugly -- entwining arms and feeding each other!

I'm not sure I can describe the full horror of the events that occurred next, but here goes:

The guy would stuff his cone in the girlfriend's mouth. Then he'd sigh and whisper something goofy such as: "You look beautiful," somehow ignoring the large chocolate stain now extending from her nose to her chin.

Then the girlfriend would stuff her cone in the guy's mouth and laugh with delight and say (in baby-talk, no less): "Want more, wittle boy?"

Oh, God, it was awful! I used to be a big fan of ice cream. Now I can hardly look at the stuff, if you want to know the truth.

Years ago, when people were actually expected not to behave like idiots in public, another customer might have stood up and whacked these two over the head with a chair and told them to knock it off.

These days, by the time you climb into your body armor and get your helmet and plexiglass shield, the moment has often passed.

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