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0293 Being Affectionate in Public

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Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 293: Being Affectionate in Public.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 293. I'm your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Visit our website at eslpod.com and take a look at our ESL Podcast Store; it has some additional premium courses we think you'll be interested in. You can also download a Learning Guide for this episode by going to our website.

This episode is called “Being Affectionate in Public.” “Affectionate” means showing someone that you love them. Let's get started.

[start of story]

Nelly: Look at that couple over there. What they’re doing is indecent!

Sadat: Where? Oh, you mean those two people hugging and kissing? That’s not indecent.

Nelly: They’re not just hugging and kissing. That girl is sitting on her boyfriend’s lap and they’re making out in the middle of a public place. They need to get a room.

Sadat: They’re just passionate, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Don’t you remember when you were a teenager in love?

Nelly: When I was a teenager, we behaved a lot more modestly. We might hold hands or give each other a peck on the cheek in public. That’s it. Anything else we did, we did in private.

Sadat: Oh, you’re not saying that you didn’t get cozy with your boyfriend as a teenager, you’re just saying you did it in private.

Nelly: Right. What I object to is having to watch other people’s public displays of affection. It turns my stomach.

Sadat: Don’t look now, but there’s another PDA over there.

Nelly: Oh, no!

[end of story]

Our dialogue between Nelly and Sadat begins by Nelly saying, “Look at that couple over there.” That “couple” is usually a word that refers to a romantic pair, two people involved in a romantic relationship. Nelly says, “What they’re doing is indecent!” To be “indecent” means to be inappropriate or immoral – offensive. It's a negative description; the opposite of “indecent” would be “decent.” If you run outside without any clothes on, that would be considered, in most places, to be “indecent.” At least, at my house!

Sadat says, “Oh, you mean those two people hugging and kissing? That’s not indecent.” To “hug” means to put your arms around another person, usually when you are facing them so that your bodies are touching. To “kiss” means to put your lips to another person's skin, usually their lips. If you ever come to Los Angeles, I'll be happy to show you “hugging and kissing,” depending on who you are!

Nelly says, “They’re not just hugging and kissing. That girl is sitting on her boyfriend’s lap.” To “sit on someone's lap” means to sit on their legs – the upper part of their legs when they are sitting down. That's to “sit on someone's lap.” Nelly says that this couple is “making out in the middle of a public place.” To “make out” (two words) is an informal verb that means to kiss and touch someone else; sometimes it has a slightly sexual meaning as well. The expression “make out” also has some non-romantic meanings; take a look at the Learning Guide for some additional explanations.

Nelly says they're “in the middle of a public place.” “Public” is where there are many people – open to anyone. The opposite of “public” would be “private.” She says, “They need to get a room.” This is an informal expression, which means they need to get away from the public view so that people can't see them. Literally, it means to go into a room by themselves and close the door, such as a hotel room. This is usually an expression we use when we see people who are being too affectionate, somewhat indecent in public. You may say, “Oh, get a room!” meaning you're doing something that's not appropriate for a public place – something romantically or, possibly, even sexually, related.

Sadat says, “They’re just passionate.” To be “passionate” is to have strong feelings, especially about love and romance. You can use the word “passionate,” however, for anything; you could be passionate about art or passionate about movies. It means you love them; you think they are great; you are very excited about them.

Sadat says this couple is “just passionate...there's nothing wrong with that. Don’t you remember when you were a teenager in love?” he asks Nelly. A “teenager” is anyone between the ages of 13 and 19.

Nelly says, “When I was a teenager, we behaved a lot more modestly.” “Modestly” means conservatively, not attracting attention. To be “modest” means not to make yourself more important – to make yourself the center of attention. In this case, “modestly” means more decent – more appropriate for the “circumstance,” the situation.

Nelly continues, “We might hold hands or give each other a peck on the cheek in public. That’s it.” To “hold hands” means to put your hand in someone else's hand, usually to indicate that you love them or are affectionate toward them. In the U.S., usually only couples in love hold hands. A parent may hold the hand of his or her child, especially if they are very young. A “peck” (peck) is the same as a kiss, a very quick kiss. A “peck on the cheek” would be to kiss someone on their cheek. The “cheek” is the part of your face underneath your eyes, between your ears and your mouth and nose; that's your “cheek.”

Nelly says, “Anything else we did, we did in private.” Again, “private” is the opposite of “public,” away from other people.

Sadat says, “Oh, you’re not saying you didn’t get cozy with your boyfriend as a teenager, you’re just saying you did it in private.” To “get cozy” (cozy) means to be physically close to another person.

Nelly says, “Right,” or that's correct. “What I object to” – what I dislike; what I oppose; what I think is wrong – “is having to watch other people’s public displays of affection.” To “object to” something has some other meanings, take a look at our Learning Guide for some additional explanations.

A “public display of affection” is when people kiss and hug in some romantic way, where other people can see them. It's sometimes abbreviated “PDA”: “Look over there, it's a PDA” – a public display of affection. To “display” means to show something.

Nelly says that public displays of affection turn her stomach. To “turn your stomach” means to make you feel sick, to make you feel like you have to “vomit,” or throw up, when the contents of your stomach come out through your mouth. Not a very nice thing!

Sadat says to Nelly, “Don’t look now, but there’s another PDA over there.” The expression “don't look now” is used to “point out,” or to indicate, something to someone, something that they probably don't see yet. “Don't look now” really means look now at what is happening. Of course, in public sometimes we say, “Don't look” to mean don't turn your head and look at something because that person will know that you are looking at them, and that might be considered rude or impolite.

Now let's listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of story]

Nelly: Look at that couple over there. What they’re doing is indecent!

Sadat: Where? Oh, you mean those two people hugging and kissing? That’s not indecent.

Nelly: They’re not just hugging and kissing. That girl is sitting on her boyfriend’s lap and they’re making out in the middle of a public place. They need to get a room.

Sadat: They’re just passionate, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Don’t you remember when you were a teenager in love?

Nelly: When I was a teenager, we behaved a lot more modestly. We might hold hands or give each other a peck on the cheek in public. That’s it. Anything else we did, we did in private.

Sadat: Oh, you’re not saying you didn’t get cozy with your boyfriend as a teenager, you’re just saying you did it in private.

Nelly: Right. What I object to is having to watch other people’s public displays of affection. It turns my stomach.

Sadat: Don’t look now, but there’s another PDA over there.

Nelly: Oh, no!

[end of story]

The script for this podcast was written by Dr. Lucy Tse.

From Los Angeles, California, I'm Jeff McQuillan. Thanks for listening. We'll see you next time on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. This podcast is copyright 2007.

Glossary
couple – a romantic pair; two people involved in a romantic relationship

* Ingot and Stanislav make such a beautiful couple. I hope that they stay together!


indecent – inappropriate and offensive; immoral

* Many people thought that the actress’s dress was indecent because it was too tight and showed too much of her body.


to hug – to embrace; to put one’s arms around another person while facing him or her, so that one’s bodies are touching

* Chelsea hugged her grandma for a long time when it was time to say goodbye.


to kiss – to put one’s lips on another person’s skin (usually lips, cheeks, or hands) to show affection or love, say hello or goodbye, or be romantic

* Do people kiss each other on the cheek to say hello in your country?


to sit on (someone’s) lap – to sit on another person’s upper legs while that person is sitting down

* The cat likes to sit on Burt’s lap when he’s reading.


to make out – to kiss and touch someone sexually for a long time

* A lot of high school students drive to the top of that hill to make out in their cars.


public – for everyone; with many people; open to anybody

* In the U.S., most people attend a public high school, rather than a private one.


to get a room – to stay at a hotel room, usually because one wants to do something sexual that shouldn’t be seen by other people

* I don’t like watching people kiss and touch each other. They should get a room so that I don’t have to see it!


passionate – with strong feelings, especially of sexual love

* Romeo gave Nancy an extremely passionate kiss.


teenager – adolescent; a young person who is 13-19 years old

* Teenagers often fight with their parents because they’re trying to have more independence.


modestly – conservatively; not attracting attention

* Desdemona told her daughter to dress more modestly.

to hold hands – to put one’s hand in another person’s hand as a sign of love or affection

* It made us smile to see our grandparents holding hands as they walked through the park.


a peck on the cheek – a quick kiss on one’s cheek (the skin on the side of one’s face)

* Becky’s first kiss was just a quick peck on the cheek, but she was only 12 years old, so she thought it was very romantic.


private – for only certain people; without other people being around

* Noemi asked to speak with her doctor in private because she didn’t want other people to hear about her medical problems.


to get cozy – to be physically close to another person

* Shane and his girlfriend get cozy while watching movies, sitting as close as possible to each other, with his arm around her shoulders.


to object to (something) – to oppose something; to believe and say that something is wrong or inappropriate

* Leo objects to the way that some parents give their children everything they ask for.


public displays of affection – PDA – people kissing, hugging, and touching each other in sexual or romantic ways where other people can see it

* I know you two have only been married for a month, but could you stop the PDA, at least while I’m here?


to turn (one’s) stomach – to make one feel sick; to make one feel like vomiting

* The smell of sardines turns my stomach.

Comprehension Questions
1. What does Nelly think is indecent?
a) The way that the couple is making out.
b) The way that the couple is talking.
c) The way that the couple is behaving in a private place.

2. What does Nelly mean when she says, “It turns my stomach”?
a) She is hungry.
b) Her stomach hurts.
c) She feels sick.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
to make out

The phrase “to make out,” in this podcast, means to kiss and touch someone sexually for a long time: “Did your parents ever catch you making out with your boyfriend when you were a teenager?” The phrase “to make out” is also used to ask someone informally how he or she did with something, or whether he or she was successful in doing something: “How did you make out on your first day at work?” The phrase “to make (something) out” means to distinguish something, or to be able to read or hear something that is difficult to read or hear: “Can you make out what that sign says? The letters are too small for me to read them.” Or, “The professor is speaking too quietly and it’s hard to make out what she’s saying.”

to object

In this podcast, the verb “to object” means to oppose something, or to believe and say that something is wrong or inappropriate: “Antonio objects to the way scientists use animals in their research.” As a noun, an “object” is a physical thing that is not alive and can be seen and touched: “The art gallery is filled with interesting glass objects.” An “object” is also an aim, goal, or purpose: “For Albert, the only object of studying is to get a good job.” If someone says, “money is no object,” it means that he or she is willing to spend a lot of money to get what he or she wants, and the cost isn’t important: “Money is no object for Elisa. She always buys the best things available.”

Culture Note
In the United States, people have different ideas about what kinds of public displays of affection (PDAs) are acceptable. It “varies” (is different) depending on the age of people, and what part of the country they live in.

Almost everyone believes that holding hands in public is okay. Most people believe that kissing and hugging is acceptable, too. But very long kisses and hugs, or lots of touching, is often “considered” (thought or believed) to be indecent and inappropriate. “Snuggling” (holding another person close for a long time) sometimes even sleeping, is usually not appropriate in public. However, during the spring and summer, couples are seen snuggling on blankets in the grass at public parks. As long as there isn’t too much kissing and touching, most people don’t “mind” (object) to it. Sometimes, however, another person in the park might feel “offended” (insulted) and shout, “Why don’t you two get a room?” to try to “embarrass” the couple, or make them feel ashamed, so that they stop snuggling.

At nightclubs, PDAs are more acceptable, even though these are still public places. Many young people enjoy dancing close to each other and rub their bodies against each other in sexual ways while they are moving to the music. At nightclubs, these couples are surrounded by other young people doing the same thing, so no one objects. But when older people see it, they often think that it is indecent.

In general, each “generation” (group of people with similar ages) seems to accept more PDAs than the “prior” (earlier) generation did. Over time, U.S. culture is becoming more tolerant about what other people do in public.

Comprehension Answers
1 - a

2 - c