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Davis

Davis, California

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Relationship talk

With all of the furry critters and birds pairing up, as Chaucer once observed, it is not hard to see that spring, a myriad of allergens and love, is in the air full-swing. With things as they are, I can’t help but witness couples indulging in public displays of affection around campus.

It’s not so much that I can’t pull my eyes away from said instances as in cases such as a car wreck or a mirror (just joking, I’m not that guy). It is more like it wouldn’t matter where I put my vision – I could be walking through the engineering buildings and still find couples playing pick-a-body-part-and-touch-it. It seems the only safe place to look is under my eyelids.

Not only that, but it seems that many couples tend to behave alike. Hips held together by Super Glue, always eating together, they exhibit their relationship visually – i.e. just by looking at them, you can tell – usually by the universal hand-holding, etc. However, just like individual people, it’s refreshing to meet couples that are not only different but genuinely different almost to the point of eccentricity.

I know this one couple quite well. They’ve been together for a little over a year, met at church and tell me they’re quite in love with one another. The odd thing is that you couldn’t tell just by looking at them. In fact, if you didn’t know them at all, you might imagine that they hardly know each other.

One day, I decided to informally interview my friend, the boyfriend. It wasn’t really for the purposes of this column but just out of my own curiosity. Some of the things I found out were quite novel. It would be a shame not to share some of my findings.

Something that most notice right off the bat is that there isn’t a whole lot of physical contact between the two out in public (except for this odd forehead-to-shoulder bump that the guy does with no reaction from her), so I wondered what it was like when they were “behind closed doors,” so to speak. He said that of course there is more contact physically, but not as much as you might expect. They go as far as hugs and hand-holding but that’s where they’ve decided to draw the line. Having met at church, I pretty much assumed a somewhat platonic relationship, but I did notice that there was no mention of kissing.

Pursuing it further, I found that the only kisses allowed are on the hands or cheeks, but in addition to sex, kissing was to wait until marriage too. I was a bit astonished. “So in the few years that you’ve known each other you’ve never kissed?”

He said that they did a little at first but decided it was best to wait mostly because, although it isn’t barred by the church, they felt it may be too difficult to just stop at kissing. Plus, there are all kinds of other interesting benefits as a result of this no-kissing rule.

According to him, it makes certain pressures totally dissipate. All there is then is their relationship. Setting their sights on marriage in a few years, they know that their marriage will hold together with or without physical intimacy if they are able to make it that far without it. What they in turn set themselves up for is what he calls “real intimacy.”

Both of them being fairly devoted Catholics, their spirituality is important to them. What my friend was truly grateful for is the ability to pray with his girlfriend. Quite vehemently he says, “It’s something that experience says is pretty hard to find.”

I began to wonder just how many couples out there are comfortable enough to touch but not to pray. He explains that the ability to pray with each other, aspiring to be able to talk about anything in the most absolute sense, and developing another “sense” for one another is “real intimacy.”

The final reason they want to exercise such prudence is that they know what it’s like to have people get carried away right in front of them. At the time, they knew it wasn’t envy or anything similar – rather it was a form of discomfort, even mild disgust. One thing that they want to be as a couple is one that is friend-friendly.

 

JEREMY MALLETT would like to be around more friend-friendly couples. Particularly when he has to climb over couples who decide the walkway is a perfect place to stop and play pick-a-body-part-and-touch-it. Tell him where to meet some at jjmallett@ucdavis.edu.XXX

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