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Friday, April 15, 2011

Do people still snog in public?

One of the least popular features of the re-born St Pancras station is the huge statue of the canoodling couple on the upper level. If you subscribe to Danny Baker's view that statuary went wrong with the introduction of the trouser you'll probably fall in with the view that it just looks false.

The other thing that strikes me every time I go through stations and airports nowadays is the farewells I witness are no longer as fond as they used to be. The couple bidding goodbye at the ticket barrier will be in phone contact throughout the ensuing journey and so there's somehow no need to get quite as tactile and tonsillar in their parting.

I was reflecting on this while reading the story about the gay couple who'd been asked to leave a Soho pub after kissing. I don't feel as if I see quite as much public snogging as I used to, heterosexual or otherwise. I don't see teenagers on park benches osculating themselves to the point of numbness. I don't see girls pulling their boyfriends towards them on the tube in that time-honoured demonstration of ownership. And another thing. I used to have a friend who worked with the Royal National Institute for the Blind and she used to reckon that her clients were the most romantically demonstrative section of the population. I witnessed what she meant on more than one occasion on public transport. I don't even see that any more. Is it possible that the public snog is yet another area of human behaviour that has been quietly changed by technology?