Gringo in Guadalajara

Make Out Parks

Mexico is a Catholic and rather conservative country, but stop by any of its parks and you will find something rather strange --- make-out central. Every Guadalajara park seems to be filled with couples, young and sometimes not-so-young, sitting on benches and lying on blankets, kissing, hugging and even groping in what many Americans would view as a PDA nightmare.

Why is this?  It seems to be a strange off-shoot of the country's family-based nature.  Many adults here live with their parents well into their 20's and even 30's.  The problem arises for those young folks who are dating.  Mexican houses tend to be much smaller and more crowded with family members --- often parents, a few siblings, maybe even a grandparent at home.  Not such a good bachelor pad...  Hence, the park.

The parks can be a rather surreal place, especially in the early evenings.  There are parents pushing babies in their strollers, kids running about kicking soccer balls, old folks sitting on benches and taking promenades--- all intermixed with amorous couples pushing the boundaries in the park's darker corners.  Sometimes these couples are merely engaged in a romantic embrace.  But look closely (if you are dare) and you will find many others have wandering hands or are intertwined in rather compromising positions.

After a while, one gets used to this park atmosphere and it all begins to feel quite normal and slowly that urge disappears to shout "Get a Room!"