by Regina Cantu @ Matt.org
The NY Times wrote an article last week on kissing publicly in Mexico City. NY Times correspondent Damien Caves makes the claim that Mexico City’s recent, more liberal stance on sex and public displays of affection is a consequence of economic growth. He also makes the case that intimate relations have intensified as a result of the fear and despair brought on by Mexico’s drug-related violence.
In truth, I don’t buy these supposed correlations. The city has for decades been filled with lovers on benches and grassy knolls, and this isn’t inspired by access to “Jersey Shore” episodes or pornography on portable devices, as Caves writes. If anything, I suspect we se so much public romance because houses are small and crowded. The “large middle class” Caves seems to think exists in Mexico is still faced with a relative scarcity of space that impels hormone-driven teens to find a spot in the middle of the park or plaza. It sure beats sharing the living room with Grandma.
Sure, public affection and informal relationships may be more widely accepted as a result of the liberalization of sexual behavior. (It wasn’t long ago that Mexico City broke the World Record in 2009 for most people kissing at one time). But it’s a leap to say people are kissing more as a sign of a booming economy. I think it’s an even greater leap to say the current drug wars have bettered or even “intensified” intimate relationships. Mexicans have always had the amazing ability to retain their happiness and disposition in times of hardship. We have, after all, consistently placed among the top countries in terms of happiness rates.