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March 10, 2008 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]


Even though I find the concept and more so the recognition of a ‘national identity’ a little irksome when I don my stubborn idealist hat, in reality I can’t help but feel a little disenfranchised by the whole thing. See, while many foreigners seem to suggest that New Zealanders are stereotypically laid-back, friendly folk, it doesn’t take a lot of introspection to remember we often freely acknowledge ourselves as a nation of tall poppies. When you get a big bunch of New Zealanders together, you can almost smell the fear of being the one to raise the bar or swim upstream. I think that it’s primarily because the New Zealand tall poppy sees acting ‘not-like-everyone-else’ as an act of aggression, which is why the homophobe, nervous as a kitten, may strike out of intimidation. I’d like to think that Wellington central at least, having a fairly educated population, would be a little more open-minded, but unfortunately, kitty still got claws. Kitty can still scratch.

With suitable ambiguity, the subject of PDA (public displays of affection) can be a touchy one, and I think there are right and wrong reasons to display affection publicly, especially when you’re reppin’ it Queer.

The key to PDA in practice should be to really do what the acronym suggests; do it because you genuinely feel affection for the other person. If the onlooking public decides to gawk at your simple, harmless gesture of fuzzy-wuzziness and see it as some challenge to their masculinity, or whatever, then their gawk can walk. But be careful! Nothing screams tasteless like the couple sucking face outside Burger King on Manners, like they was the kind of nasty girl Destiny’s Child warned you about. Yeah, you know the kind.
And Beyoncé all up in your face is something y’all should never forget, not after ’02 hit.

By a similar token, to do it merely to create a spectacle will probably attract the wrong kind of attention. Celebrating being together in public is one thing, but PDA can also be reduced to showing off, which is quite another. Although the public might not be able to tell, showing PDA can reflect someone’s possessive nature too, and that has insecurity written all over it. While your inner fuddy-duddy may insist that for the sake of societal cohesion you repress the wish to express your sexuality in public, the decent self-respecting individual in you should know that that’s bollocks. What you do with your partner in public is no one else’s luxury to afford but your own. Queer PDA is adorable and just before this column becomes uncomfortably separatist, I should acknowledge that 99% of breeders are pretty cool with it. However, upsetting the ones that aren’t can be a lot of fun so as long as you’re keeping it real, keep it up!


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