It is the “innocent bystander” who suffers most at first, but experience shows that after the “newlyweds” have become “long-marrieds,” the couples who quarrel most are the ones who are most affectionate in public, while the deeper love proves its existence in the home.
XOXO: Should newlyweds show affection in public? (1919)
by Fay Stevenson
Should a young married couple be affectionate in the presence of others?
John and Mary are coming home after an extended honeymoon — shall they show their deep feeling for each other in public? Shall John blow a kiss across the table to Mary every time he looks into “the most beautiful eyes in the world,” or shall he be dignified and act like an old married man? Shall Mary slip into John’s lap after the evening meal when the whole family are gathered in the drawing-room the way she would like to, or shall she discreetly take a chair at least three feet apart and not rumple his hair until they are alone together?
Grandma will tell her to take the faraway chair, and old grandad will tell John to “cut out” those confounded fool kisses and not take everybody’s appetite away,
“But if I don’t seem affectionate, how shall I ever let people know how perfectly devoted I am to my husband?” asked little wife Mary.
“And if I don’t show my wife a little attention during the evening meal, and send her a few wireless kisses or chuck her under the chin, people will think I don’t give a rap about her,” sighs muchly-married Johnny.
And yet, Mr and Mrs Newlywed, your demonstrations of deep love which you wish to impress the home folks with do not work exactly the way you would like to have them.
Newlyweds be wary
When you are a little older and see a little more of the world and its married couples, you will find that the couples who quarrel the most are the ones who are the most affectionate in public. All the husbands and wives who fight like dogs and cats have a peculiar little knack of calling each other all the pet names in the lovers’ vocabulary. They have a way of portraying little love scenes and stage settings of ideal lovers as cleverly as Mary Boland or John Drew. And yet when they are alone together — presto little Cupid, and enter little-horned demons!
And then outside of this desire to make the right impression of “real love,” young married couples make a tremendous mistake in displaying their affections for one another in public, because sometimes either the husband or the wife is a little sensitive about this utter lack of modesty. In many cases, the man is even more annoyed than the girl.
The newlyweds and their pet names
Not long ago, a young bride and bridegroom paid a visit to his mother, a strict old-fashioned lady.
The young wife kept rumpling her husband’s hair when they were receiving callers in the town, slipping her arm around his neck and calling him all sorts of absurd little pet names. The bridegroom had not paid a visit to his hometown since he left college, and his whole ambition was to impress the folks at home with the idea that be was a successful businessman in a large city.
But with this clinging-vine wife, he found himself blushing and stuttering and saying all manner of things he would never have said if he had not been so frightfully embarrassed.
Somehow, this over-display of affection rather dampened his honeymoon and cooled his ardor for his wife, to say nothing of depriving him of half the pleasure of his home trip. Several times, he saw a queer look in his mother’s eyes, and when at last he came to the end of the trip he had counted on for months, he was actually glad.
If too many cooks spoil the broth, certainly too many kisses and public caressing spoiled his homecoming.
When does your wife like to be kissed?
Some men have an idea that their wives liked to be kissed when other women are about. Perhaps there are certain individual cases where they do (among the quarreling couples for instance), but generally, the wife one sees kissed in the presence of a large group of friends blushes not a gentle maidenly blush, but from the very roots of her hair to the glands of her neck.
The surliest, ugliest husband I ever met in my life delighted to kiss his wife whenever she was giving a bridge-whist party. He would get off especially early from the office to give her this lover-like kiss in the presence of her feminine acquaintances. Whether he took delight in embarrassing her before so many friends, or whether he kissed her merely to give them the impression of what a dear, sweet soul he was, was always a mystery.
All the world loves a lover, but somehow the married lovers never scorn to receive much sympathy when they display their affection in public. The spoony engaged couple can be forgiven, but the spoony married folks are more inclined to excite smiles than sympathy.