This past Memorial Day weekend, I was sitting at the Angels baseball game in the heart of conservative Orange County, when I turned my attention from the Fox News sponsorship on the center field wall (how appropriate) to the jumbo screen to watch the “Kiss Cam” presentation.
For those who don’t frequent sporting events, the Kiss Cam is a staple at many stadiums, fields and arenas. It’s fairly simple — couples are shown on the big screen and encouraged to kiss. Each time it comes up, my eyes turn to the screen with hope that I will see the camera pan to a same-sex couple, who will proudly embrace with either the same excitement or embarrassment as their straight counterparts. My dream has never come true, so I hit the Web to see if it has ever happened.
I have scoured several video sites for days looking at kiss after kiss after kiss. I have never seen so many straight people kiss in my life! In the sea of all those opposite-sex kisses, I did find a few noteworthy stories. Apparently, including two men in the kiss cam is a regular occurrence at many sporting venues across the country — only the two men are usually players on the visiting team. It seems that fans go crazy when the opposing players are put in the situation where they are encouraged to kiss one another. While I’d like to think that it is because they understand how hot a Shaq on LeBron James kiss would be, I’m afraid that it’s probably because they think it is an emasculating insult. Although, I am excited to report that the reaction of the players appears to range from ignoring the kiss cam to having fun with it. So far, I haven’t found any players who flipped off the camera or anything. One of the best responses came from Manu Ginobli of the San Antonio Spurs. When the camera was placed on Manu and Ian Mahinmi, Manu playfully puts his hand over Ian’s mouth and jumps in for a big kiss. Similarly in hockey, a few years ago, Stephane Veilleux turned and pecked the helmet of Minnesota Wild teammate James Sheppard to the crowd’s delight. Famous fans have also been featured on the kiss cam a lot, with the crowd going crazy when Jack Nicholson wassweetly kissed on the cheek by Adam Sandler courtside at the Lakers game.
Videos of regular everyday fans being put in a same-sex kissing situation are less easy to find. Dan Woike of the Orange County Register recently called for more instances of “finding two dudes for the kiss cam,” because they will either be a gay couple who will have no problem kissing, which will “cause some people to get uncomfortable,” or they will be two “mortified” straight guys. In fairness, Woike does instruct straight guys to laugh it off and go with it, should it happen to them. In days of searching, I did find one great example of the camera finding two regular male fans, who shared a nice kiss on the lips (at 1:55 in the linked video). It oddly happened at a World Wresting Entertainment event immediately after a kiss between two female wrestlers.
It doesn’t appear that any teams have official policies against same-sex couples on the kiss cam, although the WNBA’s Washington Mystics canceled the Kiss Cam altogether out of fear that kissing lesbians would make it onto the screen. Mystics managing partner Sheila Johnson said it wasn’t appropriate because “we got a lot of children here.” I won't be going to any Washington Mystics games any time soon, but I will continue going to other games and continue to wonder what would happen if the camera made it my way. If my PDA-phobic husband agreed to kiss me in front of 40,000 people, I wonder if they would cheer or boo? There is only one way to find out — pucker up!
Photo credit: Afagen