Smooching in Santiago

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Alongside the Mapocho river, languishing on lawns, on benches or sat smack in the middle of the stairs leading down into the subway, they are there. Couples making out. Expressing their feelings. Sucking face.

From 14 to 74 years of age, public displays of affection are fully socially sanctioned here in Santiago. Bouncing along on a bus, their mouths may be mere inches from your ear. They don’t mind. One pair of lips assures the other that they still care, and everyone must witness. No, I swear I didn’t see that cute girl get on. Yes, you are so much better looking than your brother. I really haven’t texted my ex in days, and I never drunk dial anymore. I may have only met you last week, but you are the one for me!

Sometimes the deed isn’t remotely passionate, eyes open, looking around… for someone more interesting? Some couples must be as physically attached as possible at all times for mutual reassurance. No bitch is gonna get my quality man!

It’s not so safe for gay folk to follow this cultural norm. Now that would be rubbing it in people’s faces! I mean really rubbing. Unbelievable. I personally don’t give a good goddamn. I kiss my girlfriend in public whenever she’ll let me, albeit chastely by comparison; holding hands draws enough commentary. As a northerner my cultural indoctrination doesn’t include extended social spit swap fests, so it’s okay with me.

I’m not a lover hater, but sometimes it is too much in the face. On a couple of occasions I’ve witnessed some goings on that would have been labeled pornographic if not for the fact that the participants were dressed. While sat in the park eating a piece of ricotta pie with my bare hands, being in the immediate area of an awkward dry bump and grind does not my cake the sweeter make.

It may come down to a lack of options. If you’re not yet thirty, it’s highly possible that you still live with the ‘rents. Hotels are expensive and parks, well, those are free of charge. Viva el amor.

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