FeaturesThe Cringe

The Cringe

There are many things which make me cringe. People using the word ‘classy.’ Back fat induced by an ill-fitting brassière. Emoticons. But nothing, NOTHING compares to that quintessence of cringe – the Happy Couple.


Firstly, I would like to assert that I am not anti-Valentine’s Day.  I myself am fortunate enough to have a very nice chap who has unwittingly found himself to be my current love interest.  However, I have never been a girly girl.  When a friend of mine was regaling a dinner party with a tale involving her boyfriend, a bath and rose petals, I was vaguely repulsed. I clearly lack the soppy gene.  As a result, I take issue with those Happy Couples who give contented twosomes a bad reputation, meaning we are labelled gross or hideous. Or even … smug.


I’m not going to lie, my very nice chap and I often hold hands.  But this is not because we like to have skin-on-skin contact at all times; nobody likes sweaty palms.  It is because he lives in London and I am easily distracted by big buildings and shiny shops; the hand-holding is essential otherwise I get lost.  The image of a couple with their hands tucked into each other’s back pockets is a common cringe-inducer, perhaps with the occasional thumb slipped through a belt-hook.  This makes no sense at all – it is highly unlikely that you have the same leg length and gait, so don’t pretend it’s comfortable.  Are you practising for a three-legged race?  No? Then Stop It.  We get it – you’re having sex.  No-one cares.


Similarly inappropriate behaviour also occurs when seated.  Let’s take typical scenario number two – you are seated at a pub/eating establishment with Happy Couple ensconced on the other side of the table.  One of them will inevitably appear to have their hand in the other one’s crotch.  The hand may well just be resting on their partner’s upper thigh (still cause for disapproving frown).  Clearly, this is a gesture with which they are perfectly comfortable and they would never see as inappropriate.  Either that, or they think no one can see and should be barred from the establishment indefinitely. This kind of activity is something which they think is adorable. However, for the rest of us, it’s just another awkward reminder that they are engaged in sexual relations.


The worst is when you find yourself uncomfortably close to a couple and they are  indulging in a lengthy saliva-exchange.  We have reached typical scenario number three: you are standing in a queue behind Happy Couple.  They’re probably buying matching cashmere jumpers. Having completely lost interest in paying for knitwear, Happy Couple

are occupied with a spot of tongue-wrestling. He probably has both hands cradling her chin.  And THEN, having managed to stop yourself from doing anything more violent than clearing your throat, they will break the hermetic seal of their lips and, apparently amazed at their proximity to the cashier, turn back to you and apologise.  No doubt with beatific smiles plastered all over their self-satisfied faces. Wankers.


Going for a jolly public boob-squeeze?  Refrain.  Is your loved one’s tie slightly askew? Leave it. Want your partner to try some of your food?  They can can use their own cutlery.  So here is a plea to any of you who, having read this, suspect that you may be one of a Happy Couple – Beware The Cringe.  As Bon Jovi says, you give love a bad name.  Thank you, and Happy Valentine’s Day.


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