This is a video of people kissing. Not just people. Strangers. You've probably seen it, the thing exploded all over the internet last week. I'm told it's a very good video, but I can't be certain because I've only seen the first minute or so.
Now, I should tell you that I have a problem. (Well, obviously, but let's tackle one at a time, shall we?) I never grew out of that stage where kids find it uncomfortable to watch people kiss. When I'm alone (or with people who won't make fun of me) I still cover my eyes and peek through my fingers at couples kissing on television. Not all the time, but often enough for it to be considered an actual problem.
Why? I'm not really sure. I think kissing is great, it's fun, it burns calories, not to mention the emotional uplift it provides. I think people, in general, should kiss as much as possible. I just don't want to see it.
For a long time I thought it was because it's such a personal activity. I've never been a fan of PDA. The world doesn't need to know or see or hear about everything. And I still feel that way, but it's probably something a bit deeper than that. I feel the need to look away when that kind of emotional intensity is on display. Even kissing between two strangers who have no emotional connection is extremely intimate.[pullquote align=”left”]Even kissing between two strangers who have no emotional connection is extremely intimate.[/pullquote]
This is supposed to be a post on why I write romance when I can't even bear to watch people kissing on a TV screen. Frankly, I'd much rather read about kissing than watch it. I consider myself a visual person, I have a degree in film production and have dabbled in design for a living, I understand the power of the image. Is it that watching intimacy is more or less impactful than reading about it? Which is more immersive?
“The medium is the message,” Marshall McLuhan famously stated. Watching moments of real intimacy feels intrusive, voyeuristic, like I'm crashing a party when I should be safe at home. Reading about them, however, pulls me in, makes me feel included in the exchange, like my emotional intelligence is necessary for me to understand what's happening on the page. I don't feel like an outsider.
I love movies, don't get me wrong. We probably see 60 movies, in the theater, each year. But I read more than twice that many books last year, the vast, vast majority of them with strong love stories. And when it comes down to what I want to spend my spare time writing, love always wins.