I have been thinking a lot about relationships lately. I guess this comes as no surprise, since a lot of what I have been writing about recently has been about my relationship with Dennis and how much I am overthinking the distance between us. But Dennis is not the only reason why my mind wanders toward thinking about relationships; I think about them a lot because it seems most of my friends here have paired off and have become couples. And even though I am thrilled and excited for them, I know my face doesn’t register those emotions. Mostly it registers an expression one might make just before gagging.
I’m trying to think of why I would look this way when I see my coupled friends together. I can think of the obvious reasons: they have what I don’t, I’m seething with jealousy over their intimate relationships because Dennis isn’t here, hearing about their wonderful relationships and the wonderful adventures makes me think of the wonderful everything that’s currently in New Zealand, whatever, whatever.
I also despise Third Wheel Syndrome. Here, though, since so many of my friends have found partners, it is something like Seventh or Ninth Wheel Syndrome, which isn’t so bad if everyone is together. Third Wheel is, by far, the worst wheel to be since there is absolutely no avoiding the exclusivity of the first Two Wheels. And if those Two Wheels should begin making out in front of the Third Wheel, which is not out of the realm of possibility by any stretch of the imagination here, the Third Wheel (myself) retches and mentally throws up into her beer glass. Or gets too drunk to notice the making out one foot away. True story.
This leads me to discuss the number one reason why I don’t like to be around coupled friends (when they’re with their partners): P.D.A is completely out of control here in Brazil. There is no need–NO NEED–for french kissing over breakfast in public. There is no need–NO NEED–for a couple to sit directly next to each other and rub all over each other during lunch. These are not just complaints about my friends–and in fact, I’m not sure I’ve seen my friends do exactly this with their partners. In Brazil, in general, everyone touches each other all the time, everywhere, in front of everyone. Am I the only one who needs a little space in the morning, especially while I’m chewing? I can’t imagine enjoying someone else’s tongue in my mouth in between bites of pão de queijo and sips of café com leite. Whatever happened to personal space? Whatever happened to respecting the presence of others? All over the place people are kissing and loving each other. And while that’s kind of cool and lovey and wonderful, at the same time it is simply gaggy. “Enough already!”I want to shout. “Come up for a freaking breath, would you?” “I am sitting directly across from you with absolutely no choice of moving away!” All I can do is respectfully divert my eyes to give them the privacy I would want.
Maybe my issue is really with making out over food. It was precisely this behavior that used to make all of us nauseous at Roomba–seeing people get close and intimate over a huge portion of ribs or salmon. Carnal, though the food may have seemed, making out in front of it was still public and still very disrespectful to do in front of others. I felt, unnecessarily, that there in my place of employment, I was intruding as I went about doing my job and happened to come upon people with tongues down each other’s throats. I felt embarassed to be around them, and yet I was forced to be. Unless I ask you to make out in front of me, which I promise I won’t, please don’t.
And so it is that I divert my eyes a lot here. Not just around my friends, but in general. Brazil is a staring culture–everyone stares at each other and I have never been comfortable with staring. I don’t like to see people kiss, I don’t like to be around people who are kissing and overly lovey. I think it is gross and too personal to share with people sitting across from you at a table. I think this way when I am sober, which–contrary to popular and my mother’s beliefs–is most of the time. (It goes to show then, that during the time I am not sober, anything goes since the number of caipirinhas I have is directly proportional to how little I care what people do. More caipirinhas = less sensitivity to things that gross me out. If only I’d had caipirinhas on the fourteen hour bus ride home from Bombinhas.)
And so, it is with these thoughts that I enter my four-day weekend. Turns out I’m not going to the beach because my friend didn’t want to risk the weather, which is supposed to be thunderstorms everyday. So I don’t know what I will do. Meet some new friends, go to some new places….I don’t know. But wherever I go and whatever I do I just hope it will not involve three wheels and a lot of tongue.