Dear Ann Cannon • Over the last 50 years I have observed something that continues to bother me. I have never talked to my bishop or anyone else about this, but I am finally getting this off my chest. I am so tired of observing a couple sitting in front of me, probably a husband and wife, who throughout a church meeting are rubbing each other‘s head and neck. It is so distracting. I would think they could save the foreplay until after church. Other than not going to church or sitting on the front row, I’m not sure how to address this. I always observe at least one or two couples participating in this distraction. Any suggestions about how to handle this situation?
— Disgruntled in Draper
Dear Disgruntled • As your letter demonstrates, different people are comfortable with different levels of PDA, i.e. “public displays of affection.” While I understand that you’re put off by couples who engage in PDA in the same way others are put off by people who don’t corral their children at church, you might want to ask yourself what would happen if a bishop told people to knock it off. Would those couples feel like they weren’t welcome to attend sacrament meeting any longer? Would they stop coming? Would you be OK with that? For now I think if I were you, I’d sit on the front row.
Meanwhile, readers sound off on having to wait for other people …
I lived over 80 miles out of Denver. I had to go in to town to a doctor’s clinic on a regular basis. I was always on time. I waited in the reception area three times for 10, 15 and 20 minutes. In talking to others, I found out he always ran behind, but never took a long time with his patients. His assistant did not schedule right. I took $30 off of the next two bills. After some discussion, the wait times decreased.
A couple years ago, I would have totally agreed with your advice to the woman whose friend seems to have a crush on her husband. But I was in a similar situation and, yada yada yada, I’m now divorced and my ex-husband is with the neighbor. I realize now that I was about as naive as I could be. I was uncomfortable watching my neighbor seem so enthralled with my husband, and yet she was married (in what I later learned was only a marriage on paper, apparently continuing to live together for the sake of the kids) and my husband didn’t seem to notice she only had eyes for him. I would have never expected this neighbor to pursue a married man, and I would have never expected my husband to “date" a married woman. But I didn’t really know this neighbor, and she convinced my husband they were soulmates and all the heartache that ensued for my family was necessary in their need to be together.
So, while I think you had a good start with your advice, I would have also cautioned the reader that she be alert and not naive. I had all kinds of premonitions that something was going on, but I kept brushing them aside, thinking, “I’m over-reacting; they’re just friends.” She may think she knows how her friend and husband will act in this situation, but she really doesn’t. At least, that’s what I learned from my experience.
And finally …
To the woman whose friend has a crush on her husband: Over the years lots of women have had/have crushes on my husband. And why not? He is charming, gracious, thoughtful, intelligent, and I personally think he is handsome. And I love the twinkle in his eye when we privately laugh about it. Who doesn’t like to be appreciated. Celebrate that others see the same wonderful qualities as you do!