Mills and Boon vs. Virgin

Seems over in the UK, Virgin has banned kissing in UK train stations saying it causes inefficiency in the crowd movement.

Mills & Boon has taken up a campaign with posters all over the place proclaiming that this ban is ridiculous. According to the press release,

“Romantic embraces and passionate kisses are a vital part of life and should never be discouraged. We believe that attempting to restrict passion to certain times or areas is a denial of the human right to express love,” says Mills & Boon Publishing Director Sarah Ritherdon….

Britain is the latest country to have this kind of behaviour order imposed loved-up couples. Similar limits have been set up in Moscow, Chicago, Paris and Mexico City causing angry protesters to set up flash mob kissing and snog-ins.

There’s a Facebook group and a Flickr photo collection —which is extra double awesome for featuring the Mills & Boon advertisements at the bottom. I adore the one that says, “Why so frigid Virgin?”

Go Mills & Boon! Well played, indeed. MWAH.

[Thanks to Michelle Styles for the link.]


Ranty McRant

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  1. 1
    AgTigress says:

    It is not true to say that even this ONE rail company, of many, ‘has banned kissing in UK train stations’:  the sign went up in one location within one railway station, at a point where embraces were presumably thought to create a bottleneck.  The reasons for the ‘ban’ (no legal force, by the way), whatever their soundness or otherwise, had nothing to do with morality.

    I agree that it was pretty silly to do this, and the sign itself is truly bizarre and hideous, but it is quite extraordinary how a tiny local issue has been built up to seem like something significant.

  2. 2
    MsMoonlight says:

    “banned kissing”?? Hmm… Does that mean kissers will be arrested for breaking the kissing ban?

  3. 3
    DS says:

    Actually I thought about the series of ads where someone pulling out cash causes a serious breakdown in an efficient line of credit card payers.

    If Virgin wanted attention they got it.

  4. 4
    Janicu says:

    There’s also a Twitter group!!! Which followed me and made me go “huh?” until I figured out what it was:

  5. 5
    Lori says:

    I have to agree with AgTigress that this is much ado about not much.

    The only people who actually believe that “romantic embraces and passionate kisses are a vital part of life and should never be discouraged” (emphasis mine) are either voyeurs or have never been late to the train and stuck behind people who just Will. Not. Move. 

    Here in DC the stations have drop off areas that are referred to, even on official signage, as the Kiss and Ride.  No one complains when people there have a nice smooch.  Inside the station can be a different matter because of bottlenecks.  Pointing out that some places are inappropriate, and sort of rude, doesn’t make a person anti-kissing. 

    And now I’m extra annoyed because I feel like this is making me sound like a cranky old lady and I hate feeling like that. 

    Hey you kids, get offa my lawn.

  6. 6
    Eunice says:

    I’ll be an old cranky with you, Lori! I’m not anti-kissing, I’m anti-being the frig in the WAY!

    One of my top Pet Peeves that is.

  7. 7

    For those who complain about kissing couples being in the way, there is a simple phrase, “Excuse me, please.”  Said clearly, I’ve found, it usually gets people to move.  This crappy sign is just another way to be impersonal, in my opinion.  The ban may not be a big deal, maybe people won’t get arrested for kissing there, but don’t you all think they will get hassled by station attendants?  Handshaking and hugging take time too.  They better put up signs against those inefficient activities.  And don’t forget talking.  People slow down when they talk. Especially on their cell phones. Indeed, everyone had best not talk, not make eye contact and walk only in their specified ques—single file, no hand holding. That would be the most efficient way.  If we’re too whatever to ask someone to move who’s in our way, we better ban it all. 

    It may indeed be irritating to get stuck behind someone kissing, embracing, saying farewell to a loved one who is leaving, but I always figured it was equally irritating for the athletic people stuck behind my slow moving fat ass.  If they say excuse me, I move just like most other people move when I say something.  And if the person blocking may way doesn’t move, well, I’ve found there are as many jerks with baby strollers as there are jerks who kiss each other.  People get in the way of each other.  After all, we’re people; it’s what we do.

  8. 8
    SonomaLass says:

    It wasn’t too long ago that my SO was t’ohter side of the ocean, and when we got a rare few days together, letting him go again was very difficult.  I don’t think we kept anyone from catching a train, but I can’t swear to it. 

    I figure that couples saying passionate good-byes might well be parting for a long time, or when they really don’t want to, or under extremely difficult circumstances.  I call myself lucky that’s not me anymore and wish them well. 

    I’d totally sign up for a “snog-in” or a kissing flashmob, if I were in one of the cities where this kind of ban is actually serious.  In this case, it’s obviously a local thing that M&B have piggybacked onto for publicity.  Which I think is kinda cool, since I like ads that remind people that romance and real life don’t have to be unrelated.

  9. 9
    Lori says:

    @jocelynnesimone: I understanding what you’re saying, but slowness isn’t the issue.  We have cultural norms to deal with differences in speed, e.g. stand on the right, walk on the left, and they work well enough. (People pushing strollers aren’t an issue because they have to take the elevator, which puts them in a whole different traffic flow.)  I’m not nearly self-involved enough to believe that I should be able to move exactly where and how I prefer at all times.

    The thing is, kissers and huggers aren’t slow, they’re stopped.  It’s been my experience that they’re sort of immune to “excuse me”.  Or when you say excuse me they treat you like some people are treating the sign—-“OMG!  You’re so mean.  And you don’t understand.  And you’re probably just jealous.  Blah, blah rudecakes.”  It may be just me, but I’ll take impersonal over that any day.

    The abiding rudeness of cell phone users in a whole other rant.  I’m thankful every day that the majority of cell phones have no reception in the Metro.  Unless you’re with Verizon reception cuts out pretty much as soon as you step on the escalator to go down into the station and that’s a Good Thing.

  10. 10
    ev says:

    Here in DC the stations have drop off areas that are referred to, even on official signage, as the Kiss and Ride.

    I loved those signs when I saw them for the first time last spring. I thought that they were great. Although here in the US the train thing isn’t that much of a problem anymore since you need a ticket to get near the platform. But many people do tend to give you dirty looks when they are sucking face right where you are trying to walk and god forbid if you are handicapped, they don’t give a crap about getting out of your way.

    I do understand that leaving is a bitch, but move it out of the traffic pattern.

    As for the baby strollers- use an elevator? You must be joking.

  11. 11
    Lori says:

    ev—in DC the strollers have to use the elevator.  They’re not allowed on the escalator and the station attendants monitor it via the CCTV.  You occasionally see people breaking the rule, but mostly not, even during tourist season.  When a stroller heads for the escalator The Voice comes over the loudspeaker and advises them to change course.  It’s both unnerving and hilarious, but honestly it happens a lot less than you’d expect. 

    In the time I’ve been here I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how few interpersonal conflicts I’ve seen on the train.  I think that’s part of my aversion to the kissers.  They’re doing the one thing that consistently gets people angry enough to start conflict—-blocking traffic.  As you say, move it to the side & no one will care what you do.

    I’ve done the long distance thing and it is awful.  The flip side to that is that you can just as easily imagine a scenario where the person who is upset really does need to make that train.  Critical job interview, family emergency, etc.  You can’t know the lives of strangers.  Social norms exist in order to avoid the problems inherent in getting into “the justification for my rudeness is more worthy than the justification for your rudeness” smack downs.

  12. 12
    Harlequin says:

    Here in DC the stations have drop off areas that are referred to, even on official signage, as the Kiss and Ride.

    I find this hilarious because in Ireland the word ‘ride’ is a euphemism for having sex. So nice of train stations to accommodate this!! :-D

  13. 13
    Betsy says:

    Okay, as someone in an LDR, those station kisses are so important to me!  You’re not going to see your guy for quite some time and what are you supposed to do, shake his hand and salut?  Of course, he and I always make a point of letting everyone else on the bus or train first, thus bugging people less with our smooching, and squeezing (oh dear, puns) the most out of every moment together.
    spam word: were16, and I believe we were in fact sixteen years old the first time we had to deal with this.

  14. 14
    Qadesh says:

    After having just watched the Oscars, mmm Hugh Jackman, I blame all of this on Hollywood.  No, seriously, if they hadn’t made all those iconic celluloid images of Hollywood lovers reuniting or saying farewell at train stations it might not be such a big deal.  But they did and we all want to recreate our own romantic movie moments, thus we kiss in train stations.  Personally I’m still irritated that on the rare times I fly alone that The Hub won’t be at the gate to meet me, thus no more running up the gangway to fling yourself into your waiting loved one’s arms.  I used to love doing that.  It just isn’t the same waiting until you reach the baggage area.  Damn terrorists, another thing to chalk up on your karmic tally card. 

    But to keep the peace kindly move out of the way of others before you, in the infamous words of Henry Fonda in “On Golden Pond”, decide to suck face.  Now that wasn’t too hard was it?

  15. 15
    AgTigress says:

    Okay, as someone in an LDR, those station kisses are so important to me!  You’re not going to see your guy for quite some time and what are you supposed to do, shake his hand and salut?

    No, of course not!  You just do your hugging and kissing in an area where you are not causing an obstruction.  :-)

    To repeat, this silly sign was put up in ONE limited location in ONE station.  People could have their protracted farewells in other areas of the same station.  This is such a storm in a teacup that I just can’t believe it.

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