True Gripes: Shake in the grass: Private pleasures should not be public

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The Independent Online
Oh, how I wish the sunlovers who have popped up all over the place would do their loving out of the sun. I know sumer is icumen in and all that, but do they have to, in public?

My local park in south London has been liberally sprinkled these past few weeks with the octopoid ones, their myriad limbs freely wound round one another, their mouths and hands busy, absorbed in the timeless rituals of the besotted. They seem oblivious to the old ladies enjoying the sunshine, the children on their tricycles, the middle-aged dog walkers like me.

The other I passed a typical sun-loving couple. They were positioned on what resembles the stage of a natural amphitheatre: a smooth, grassy slope easily viewed over a large area. I tried not to look as I strode by, but it was hard to ignore the whispers, the giggles and shrieks, the constant rolling over one another.

I have no objection, moral or aesthetic, to the al fresco love-making or near love-making; I just wonder why it has to be so blatant. What are the sociological implications?

In my younger days we used to find a lonely bush, a secret hollow, a cornfield far from prying eyes. Aah, I remember a pine forest in Norway. . . prickly it's true, but private. Now the aim seems to be 'what can we get away with on the grass near the bandstand?'

Are you auditioning, dear sun-lovers? Is this a competition and, if so, can anyone join in? Are you just common or garden exhibitionists or do you simply not care if anyone notices those rather, er, familiar movements you are making?

I have to say I have had fun imagining at what point your un-English insouciance, presumably heatwave induced, would turn to indignation. Would it only be if your antics attracted a substantial and spellbound crowd of gawpers? ('Oh, I am sorry. Private, you say? I thought perhaps they had got you in when the Punch and Judy show had to cancel. No, no, Henry, hurry up please. Marcus] Come away from the man and lady. . .')

Well, it will be over soon. Come September, you lovers will have to leave the haven of the park and take your sensual pleasures unobserved, exchanging fresh, cool grass for squeaky bedsprings. Meanwhile, find a bush, mush.