Give me two minutes to get a huge pet peeve off my chest.
I saw it the other day in a fast food commercial meant to garner a laugh.
I saw it when I logged on Twitter this morning.
I frequently hear it in public places.
It’s the sound of young people cooing and awwing at the sight of an older couple showing affection. Why does this happen? Why does it trigger the smirks, the elbowing and pointing, the patronizing remarks? Do teenagers and young adults mistake these couples for children? As if they are a pair of toddlers building castles together in the playground sand box. As if they are two kittens in a ball of yarn on a desktop calendar. As if the many years of life has reduced them in age and knowledge, rather than strengthen and wisen them.
Don’t be mistaken. These couples who hand-in-hand have survived years of marriage — economic highs and lows, the many joys and deep griefs of parenting, the lives and deaths of friends and family, the changing nature of bodies and intimate desires — are not children, so don’t be fooled by bent statures, frail physiques, or time-stamped dress code. They aren’t children, they’re warriors. They have fought together in the trenches. They’re Aristotle, Plato, Thomas Aquinas. Philosophers of marriage. They have known the secret paths and deep trails of intimacy that our image-driven culture has sought to flatten.
You think it’s cute and funny when older couples share affection, hold hands, plant soft kisses? They should think you’re cute and funny, with your little ideas about life and love and knowledge. You are the one playing in the sandbox, while they have stormed the beaches of life, marked and changed by what they know, but still standing strong. Together. Hand in hand.
Ok, end of my get-off-my-lawn rant.