Thursday, 11 February 2010

Embrace the PDA*!

* PDA = Public display of affection

Confession time: my boyfriend and I are one of those icky couples that tend to express our affection for each other in public.

People often question how, after six years together, we can still be insecure enough that we feel the need to parade our love for other people’s benefit, but the truth is, it’s not about trying to prove our togetherness — we just appreciate the fun of sharing a spontaneous kiss with someone you like.

So when Michelle received a tourism brochure about the “10 best places to kiss in New Zealand,” I had a cartoon lightbulb moment: in honour of Valentine’s Day, why not share with all our readers what, in my opinion, are the 10 best places to kiss in the international region?

There are lots of opportunities for spontaneous romance here, if you’re open to them.

1. The arrivals gate at the Edmonton International Airport. My boyfriend, J, does a lot of traveling for work, so we’ve perfected the art of the happy return. If you’re feeling down, make like Hugh Grant in Love Actually and wander through the arrivals area. It might actually be the happiest place on earth.

2. The boardwalk overlooking Telford Lake. One evening in the fall, I was wandering around Telford Lake, taking pictures of the scenery to pass the time before my next assignment, when I interrupted a young couple taking advantage of the seclusion of the tall reeds and the beauty of the Alberta sunset to, ahem, get to know each other better. Whoever you are, I’m sorry about that, but thanks for the inspiration.

3. The hiking trail at Pigeon Lake Provincial Park. Technically, the park is located in Wetaskiwin County, but it’s a beautiful spot for a lazy walk hand-in-hand on a summer day, followed by a picnic on the shore.

4. In a canoe on the North Saskatchewan River. On our own canoe trip from Devon to Edmonton in the summer, J and I were too busy trying to get the hang of steering to steal a smooch, but if you can manage it without tipping over, the peaceful water and sun-dappled cliffs lend themselves nicely to romance.

5. The ferris wheel on the Black Gold Pro Rodeo midway. In my single days, I always thought kissing atop a ferris wheel would be the literal height of romantic perfection — as long as you’re not with a jerk who likes to play “rock the seat.”

6. The Amazing Corn Maze. ‘Nuff said.

7. A snowbank. You shouldn’t have a hard time finding one of those somewhere in the region. And nothing says ‘I love you’ like pelting your significant other with snowballs and then tenderly apologizing.

8. Over dinner at any of several great restaurants in the area. J and I are that eyeroll-inducing couple who hold hands over the table in between courses. Some of our best conversations have been had over delicious food and wine. I recommend laying off the spice though — the first time J took me for Thai food I cried so hard the other patrons thought we were breaking up.

9. Sportsworld Roller Disco. This is in Edmonton, but I can’t deny the romantic nostalgia of a roller disco. Fun fact: the first time I held hands with a boy was on my 10th birthday at the roller disco in Mississauga, Ontario. You never, never forget your first slow-skate.

10. Highway 39. Pull over on a range road, park, and watch the sun go down, or a thunderstorm roll in over the picture-perfect farm fields, or the stars, and contemplate the beauty of your existence.

Where do you find romance in the capital region?

(Photo: Alex and J get kissy at the 2009 Chamber Awards of Distinction Jan. 30.)