People are affectionate in public here, which I find strangely comforting. I'm used to seeing affection between friends, especially women, in other parts of Asia, and it's common here as well--women walk hand in hand with friends, sisters, mothers. But here men and women aren't shy about showing affection to each other, either, which is something I haven't seen for a while. I don't enjoy watching strangers neck at the mall, but it somehow puts me at ease. I guessI feel like the leash has been slipped a bit: there's a broader field of acceptable behaviour and I'm less likely accidentally step out of it. It's nice knowing that I won't be pegged as a fallen woman if I were to hug a man in the street. Not that that is likely to happen, but you know--should some dark-haired, high-cheekboned batyr swoop in to rescue me from a rival clan's hunting falcons, well, I might be tempted to throw my arms around him and plant one on him. And I wouldn't be cast out of polite society! Tra la.
(Whistle in the house, though--that's another matter.)
|You'll never get away.|
As nice as all this hand-holding is, though, there is quite a lot of it that seems to extend to the possessive. I see a lot of women walking with one arm stretched totally taut, extending away from her and across her companion's body, gripped fiercely in his opposite hand. It's a bit more like being marched to the gallows than a casual interlacing of fingers. Or you see men with their arms draped over both their ladyfriends' shoulders, enveloping them. The line between "they're so in love" and "he's making sure she doesn't bolt" is often blurry.