Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Life Lessons in Moscow: The Do's and Don'ts of PDA

If you think of Russia as a frozen wasteland, covered in ice and snow and inhabited by an equally chilling population sporting every type of fur imaginable...you're partially right. On the surface, things can be a bit cold here. But catch a glimpse of the Russian soul and you'll be convinced of the fiery heat that lies within.

Take it from Tolstoy (Lev):

Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. Everything is, everything exists, only because I love.

The whole world is divided for me into two parts: one is she, and there is all happiness, hope, light; the other is where she is not, and there is dejection and darkness...

Such passion is not a thing of the past. (Though it's quite possibly less eloquent). Step into the Moscow metro...or any public arena for that matter...and you'll find that the fire is alive and well. EasyJet recently began non-stop service from London Gatwick to Moscow and asked me to a "Snapshot of Moscow" video. Said video can be found here. (Side note: I don't know why, but this process was exceptionally embarrassing for me. VBlogging? Never going to happen!) But here's a different angle from the outtakes:
video

My reaction while filming did not nearly do justice to the laughter that continued afterward, as nearly every shot I attempted inevitably included some Moscow makeout.  Welcome to my city...capital of the most serious PDA I have witnessed in my life! In the metro, you'll witness it within moments. Likely on the escalator on the way down, while you're waiting, and in the actual train. But we're not limited to public transportation in this city. Anywhere is fair game. If you're feeling it, you go for it.

I would not call myself a proponent of PDA. Especially not when it borders on pornographic. But I will say, the Russian "emotional readiness" has its advantages. Part of the profound amount of PDA stems from the ability to more openly express love. (NOT equivocating PDA and love...just noting the relationship.) I come from a culture where saying "I love you" often seems as serious as reading a death sentence. (Or maybe this is just me??) Those "three words" mean commitment, responsibility, future, and maybe even weakness...you're vulnerable if you say it first, right? While I don't believe that love should be treated lightly, and true love does mean work and commitment, there's a refreshing emotional freedom in acknowledging only it's pure emotional form and being able to easily express it. Just because you feel it.

Here in Russia, my girlfriends use an abundance of endearments: my sunshine, my happiness, my little bird, my dear, my beloved...the list goes on. In America? I can only come up with girl, girlfriend, and lady at the moment. I'm not advocating adopting "my little bird" in English. Somehow it doesn't have quite the same ring. BUT, I have found myself, after talking with one of my close friends, wrapping up by saying "I love you." Because it's the truth.

So, those are the perks that come along with PDA. But it most certainly comes with some downsides as well. To address those, I have compiled a list of what I consider the "Dos and Don'ts of PDA," based on my personal viewing experiences in Moscow. These are not what I would consider city-specific, however. Feel free to observe them regardless of location.

1. Do keep it short and sweet. If you have to ask how long that is? Too long.


2. Don't display your tongue techniques. If we can see tongue, the technique you should really 
work on is subtlety. And besides...it's likely you've already exceeded your time limit.


3. Do hold hands. Do not hold other body parts.


4. Do not moan or produce similar noises. Especially if it's that loud enough that we can still hear 
it in the metro. Also, moaning likely means you've broken Rule #1. Yet again.


5. Do limit kissing to the facial area. Or at least above the neckline.


6. Don't unbutton, unzip, or unfasten. No explanation needed.


7. Do keep aware of your surroundings. While we're impressed with your balance and multi-tasking, we do fear your safety when the metro brakes and you fall.


8. Don't straddle your partner while there is more than enough bench space available immediately next to them. Straddling will imminently lead to the breakage of all the rules on this list.


9. Do dance with inner joy as you rejoice in your love. Do not dance for each other. In public.


10. Do tell her she's beautiful. Do say you love him. Do not say what adventures that combination will be taking you on for the evening.


The list could go on, but ten seems like a lovely number for now. Contributions, however, are more than welcome!

Embrace a culture. Embrace emotion. Embrace each other. But when you're embracing the moment, think about embracing this list.

Love you, my little birds!

5 comments:

  1. I used to not like pda until I fell in love and then I was ok with it. I mean not like unfastening clothes in public pda but, holding hands and kissing.

    I think in general hands should be where I can see 'em in pda.

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  2. This is awesome. Miss you, my little bird.

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  3. Love this post! It's nice to know this side of Russia. :) It reminded me of this one time (breaking rule # 1) when we were on our way back to Dubai at the TGV station en route to Paris at 6AM. We arrived at the platform and found this couple amorously lip-locking non stop in front of us. The train was already there and we waited to board until it was time to leave, chatting with my parents-in-law and it took about 10 minutes of non stop kissing for this couple. I was amazed. How do they come up for air? :)

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  4. Svet's email address means little bird (gulubcse). It's what the exiled queen of Bulgaria use to call him in Portugal.

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  5. "Do hold hands - do not hold other body parts" HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!

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