Public Kisses in the Movies: Romantic or Embarrassing?

Whenever I watch a romantic comedy with my husband Jun, we always laugh together over that inevitable moment when the couple shares a kiss – in public.

It’s almost like a game for us – let’s see how long the movie will last before lips lock among a group of people, whether that’s a handful of their closest friends or an entire flash mob (Friends with Benefits). If it’s a love story, it invariably happens somehow, somewhere.

And the funniest thing is, I never really took note of this romantic comedy troupe until I met Jun.

He grew up in a world where public displays of affection, like kissing, were generally confined to bedrooms, closed doors and any other private corner of the world. His parents in rural China never kissed and hugged in front of him, like mine did, and neither did his relatives. That kind of intimacy was always tucked out of sight in his life, and it was the normal thing for people to do.

Hence, his fascination with kissing in the presence of other people, as depicted in all those Hollywood romantic comedies.

I’ve recognized for a long time that Hollywood stretches reality for entertainment. After all, few of us will probably ever kiss, say, in the center of a baseball field at an evening game (Never Been Kissed) or on the snowy streets of London, wearing our underwear as bewildered pedestrians walk by (Bridget Jones).

Nevertheless, I often idealized, and even loved, these public kisses in the movies, even if the reality might make me blush. The idea of having others witness your kiss in public had struck me as romantic, which outweighed the ensuing embarrassment.

Jun would come to remind me that, on the flip side, sometimes the embarrassment might outweigh the kiss, depending on your culture or perspective.

Nevertheless, we still delight in those romantic comedies. And while I know it’s a total long shot, who knows — maybe someday I might just convince Jun to give me one of those ultra-dramatic kisses, say, in front of Tian’anmen Square. 😉

Have you ever noticed how romantic comedies love to feature kisses in really public places? Do you think it’s romantic or embarrassing?