Love blooms, decorum dies

April 05, 1994|By Kevin Cowherd

One unfortunate by-product of the warm weather is that the sidewalks, parks and outdoor cafes are again filling with young lovers, who are surely the most annoying people on the planet.

With hormones raging at full throttle, they feel compelled to publicly announce their lust by entwining in passionate embraces at outdoor concerts or groping at each other during long, soulful walks on the boardwalk.

Or they might be found in the midway at the state fair, furiously grinding their lips into each other, oblivious to the fact that there are upward of 500 people staring at them, including the heavily tattooed operator of the "World's Largest Rat!" booth.

Often, when I see young lovers engaged in this sort of steamy behavior, I'm tempted to yell: "Hey, how about taking that to a cheap motel where it belongs!"

But of course I say no such thing, as so many of the young these days, in addition to being purposeful and humorless, carry automatic weapons.

Of all the young lovers, the most irritating variety is surely the Hand-Holding Couple From Hell.

This is the pimply-faced young man and woman who, whether sauntering through a pleasant arboretum or a busy shopping mall, make it clear via a flinty-eyed stare to approaching pedestrians that the union of his sweaty hand and hers cannot be broken.

As far as these people are concerned, it is the responsibility of others to go around them. Because if either were to drop the other's hand, even for a moment, to allow someone to pass, their relationship would surely wither and die.

If pedestrians fail to get out of their way, things can really get ugly.

I have seen 75-year-old grandmothers with blue hair wander innocently between a Handholding Couple From Hell and get yoked off their feet in as vicious a move as one would find in professional roller derby.

I have seen elementary school children in shopping malls clothes-lined from behind by the HCH, only to wind up in neck braces for 4 to 6 weeks, the tiny muscles in their upper torsos dTC reduced to the consistency of yogurt and their faith in the older generation hopelessly shattered.

Once, in a crowded airport, I even saw an HCH refuse to unlink hands for the golf-cart-like vehicle transporting a woman with a hip cast to her plane.

Me, I would have thrown that cart into first gear, stomped on the accelerator and plowed right through the two nitwits, with any luck catching a part of their clothing in the wheel and dragging them several hundred yards down the concourse.

But the driver of the vehicle -- a Quaker, perhaps, or an aspiring seminarian -- showed far more restraint.

He waited patiently for the crowd to thin and went around the couple, doing nothing more than shooting them a dirty look as he drove by.

Not that the HCH noticed -- they were too busy gazing soulfully into each other's eyes and trampling the cute toddler in Oshkosh overalls who had unknowingly wandered into their path.

I don't know what became of the little boy; there was a good deal of shouting going on from his alarmed parents, but I had a plane to catch.

Another particularly irritating breed of young lovers is the couple who insist on feeding each other in public.

At a wharfside restaurant recently, I spotted one such couple feeding each other hot dogs, despite the obvious fact that both had arms and hands that appeared to be in working order.

The whole gooey tableau went something like this: First the man would cram his hot dog -- which, by the way, was piled about three stories high with chili, sauerkraut, onions, you name it -- into her mouth while the two giggled.

Then he would stare deeply into her eyes, sigh, and murmur: "God, you're beautiful!" somehow ignoring the large mustard stain now visible on her nose.

The young woman was even more goofy, hard as that is to imagine.

I say this because after she gave the young man a bite of her hot dog, she would reach over with a napkin, catch the onions that had dribbled down his chin and -- here's where it really gets sickening -- PUT THEM BACK IN HIS MOUTH!

Yes! In his mouth! Can you imagine!

Then the two would giggle hysterically again, an unnerving high-pitched giggle suggesting a chipmunk on helium.

A normal person would be forgiven for wondering why the two didn't simply eat their own hot dogs, thus sparing passers-by the whole disgusting spectacle of chewed onions falling from a man's mouth.

I'm sorry, but that's just not right.

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