Dear Dr. Ovlowska,
Every year when the weather gets warm it seems that Polish students come to the Planty in droves solely for the purpose of snogging each other in a gratuitous display of overactive hormones. For me, this is disgusting, but I also understand that maybe it’s just part of the culture. Am I being a prude, or is there a time and a place for everything? What is acceptable as far as public affection is concerned?
Annoyed in Krakow
Dear Annoyed in Krakow,
You have made some interesting observations and I wish that more people would be as conscious of how our hormones affect us as you are. Yet defining what is prudish and what is not is indeed not only a cultural question, but also a very personal one.
Whether we like it or not, we are all subject to the laws of the universe and we cannot change the fact that nature’s juices are rising in humans, just as they are in the trees and flowers at this time of the year.
The good news is that we CAN change the way we look at it. Have you ever thought of making your own natural cycles and hormones your trusted friend and partner? A kind of ally that helps and protects you in different ways at different times? It’s an interesting notion.
If you can’t change it, don’t fight it or “go with the flow” – to use a popular expression. Whether you are a man or a woman you are well advised to know about the influence of hormones, which by extension will give you an entirely new perspective on snogging couples on a bench on the Planty.
Words like “a time and place for everything” or “acceptable” sound judgmental and make me wonder if you (like me) would like to take the place of one of the “snoggers”? In moments when we have no boyfriend or girlfriend it can be extremely painful to be exposed to the “gratuitous display” of other people’s happiness.
But don’t make yourself a victim. In reality it is you who decides how you want to see yourself – like a prude or like a lover of what is. But you can’t change it. Snogging on the Planty is an expression of life that exists in all of us.