I took my kids to our community pool the other day to soak up this last bit of warm weather and suffered a terrible shock. Thankfully, it was one that didn’t require CPR. What it did involve was an elderly couple making out in the middle of the swim club.
When I first noticed them, they were holding each other, and in three-and-a-half feet of water, they looked a lot like the bears we’d seen embracing in a Six Flags Safari exhibit earlier this summer. My first thought was that one of them must have just gotten some terrible news -- death of a loved one, devastating test results -- until they started making out.
Like full-on "I’m going to stuff your head in my mouth" making out. Honestly, I haven’t seen people gnawing away with such intensity since watching the Coney Island hot dog eating contest.
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In my shock, I had a hard time looking away. Now let me set the scene for you: This is a community pool in a New Jersey suburb; this is not Club Med. There are no palm trees, no swim-up bars, no swanky cabanas you can run off to for a quickie. All that is replaced by children, their harried mothers, and mountains of plastic diving toys. But what it was quickly turning into was Golden Girls meets Bachelor in Paradise.
As I gawked, they kept at it. Him, with a sizable paunch and three strands of hair, and her, with a salt and pepper bob and bifocals, oblivious to the fact that they were standing smack in the middle of an endless round of "Marco! Polo!"
As shameful as this sounds, my first thought was, "Ugh, gross!" Then I wondered, "Is that ageist of me?" What if it were my husband and me (though I have to say, we aren't the PDA type -- especially at a kid-filled public pool). Would I have felt differently if they were younger? Hotter? Sadly, the answer is maybe.
A few years ago I was interviewing a woman in a Starbucks when a young couple, probably around 20, began kissing like one of them had just been let out of prison, right over my subject’s shoulder. I couldn’t help but laugh in that "Am I on candid camera?" kind of way. Still, I confess that it wasn't as jarring as the scene the other day. Not by a long shot.
As this geriatric duo continued bobbing and grinding, I found myself wanting to know their story.
Had they been together for 30 years or was this the handiwork of those online dating sites whose commercials seem to play in a continuous loop on TV? My mother -- married to my father for 45 years -- is convinced that when an older couple is kind or affectionate with each other in any way, they’re either having an affair or they just met. So what gives?
Then I wondered whether my dismay at witnessing the steamy kissing sesh stemmed from jealousy. When was the last time I made out in a pool? (Truth be told, I feel so old and tired these days, I can't remember if I've ever made out in a pool.) If my husband were there right then, would I have wanted to lick his nose and ears like this lady was doing to her man?
No, I realized, what I really wanted at that moment in time were cheese fries, the heavenly scent of which I could smell wafting past the kiddie pool. But since my swimsuit already fits me like a sausage casing, I had to resist the urge.
Don’t get me wrong. I know that everyone wants affection. Love is love, and it comes in all kinds of packaging. It doesn’t always look like Brad and Angelina. I get it. Love is also what you make of it -- and where. Apparently, for some, that includes the community pool.
But, I’m sorry, I just don’t want my soggy bottom fondled while goggles go slingshotting past my head. Not everything is going to look like the rose-strewn Fantasy Suite from The Bachelorette that Chris Harrison has trained us to expect. But still, is there an unsexier place on the planet to go at it with the one you love (or lust after) than the town pool?
If we can’t impose age restrictions on public displays of affection, can we at least ask that they not be so, well, public?
Because when I’m taking three kids to the pool, please, Old Lovebirds, don’t distract me. I’ve got one son cannon-balling off a high dive, another trying to cut the line at the water slide, and a third ransacking my purse for snack bar money. How much can one mom handle? And that's not to mention the explaining I'd have to do should they ask me about what the heck those two older people were doing there.
For that matter, Young Lovebirds, you need to get a room too. Major displays of let-it-all-hang-out PDA usually don't have a place pretty much anywhere. Especially spots crawling with a whole bunch of exuberant children and their weary (but happy!) parents.
Do you think there should be age limits to PDA?