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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Was that you making out at the Oxbow Market?

Last night, ABC News aired an episode of 20/20 where they hid cameras and then taped how people would react to different situations: a child who lost their mom on a busy street, someone who sings really bad and wants an "honest opinion", and gays making out in public.

They started the "gay PDA" segment with an intro about people's reactions to a straight couple making out in a restaurant. The straight couple did get looks, but they also got applause, cheers and other people were inspired to start make out as well.

One person called in the incident to 9-1-1.So what happens when they put a gay couple on the street? Of course, the crazy reactions were the most talked about on the show: a lot of people in the clips just gawk or stare uncomfortably (until they exchange the two male actors for women, and then the male passersby stare in enjoyment), one person called in the incident to 911 (and the police actually showed up and ask the couple to not do that in public!) and another woman commented about the two gay men: "they lessen their chances of getting into heaven".

However, 20/20 reports that the overwhelming majority of people (even in southern Birmington, AL, where part of the segment was filmed) didn't care. "Delores Spraggins of Birmingham and her daughter June seemed to speak for the majority in both the red and the blue state. 'There is a lot of hatred in the world. Love is good wherever you can find it,' Spraggins said."
For whatever reason (fear of the unknown? actual experience living here? no examples to go by?) I think that Napans might not be so indifferent. Maybe they wouldn't care? I have yet to see a gay/lesbian couple kissing or even holding hands at Chef's Market. Am I just not looking hard enough?

What has been your experience with gay PDAs in Napa? How do you think people would react to a gay couple holding hands or kissing in public?


  1. I totally caught this segment on 20/20 too and it was very interesting on some of the peoples reactions which to no surprised were "shocked"! I wish more people were open minded to public affections (gays or straight) for that matter.

  2. Hi,
    First, I am glad I came across this site, the "...Other Fruit" (I happened to follow the NV Herald, to Napa Now, then the video). I think my perspective is worth sharing.

    I think a person's reaction to displays of affection in public is in part based on what they are used to. I grew up in a family that, when my parents showed affection in the living room, dancing with or kissing each other, we (their children), giggled & verbalized our feelings in oos and ahs.

    In my childhood, displays of affection in public were not encouraged. The very young (preschoolers to puberty) were thought of as innocent, while, the very old (canes and white-haired), were looked on with an awe of tenderness (still fond of one another after all those years!).

    Teenagers could get by with holding hands and the newly married with kissing on the honeymoon. It was implied that showing public affection was crass.
    At the same time, my mother told me that in her day it was common for heterosexual women to walk down the street holding hands or having an arm flung about the other's shoulders.

    As an adult, with children of my own, I was concerned that young people could put themselves in jeopardy with either the clothing they wore or public displays of affection, not, because what they did was wrong but rather how others interpret them (note on the video that the homophobic male, in the Taxi, is ready to do damage to other men, while, the men watching the women being affectionate, seemed giddy if not ready to join them).

    We do respond to others actions (again, note the couple who became more affectionate in the restaraunt), if a person smiles and tells us to have a nice day we tend to feel better; when, someone uses a harsh word, they can ruin our day.

    For many years, Napa has been known to harbor some extremely prejudicial people (be it skin heads, good-ole-boys or what-have-yous). I strongly feel that here in Napa, homosexual couples are not safe, being affectionate in public. I do believe that as family, friends and neighbors, become accustomed to gay and lesbian couples being affectionate, so too will our society become accepting of same sex couples displaying affection in public.

    I still tend to keep my displays of affection, private.