Summer reissue: Crowd entertainment at sports games is a hard task, but please let’s stick to T-shirt cannons and on-field japes instead of watching strangers smooch, eh?
First published July 13, 2020.
Funny kiss cam footage is a key element of any viral fail video compilation. A “she’s my sister” sign pulled out of a pocket as the camera accidentally pans to siblings instead of a couple, or a pair of celebs being called out in front of thousands of jeering fans are both classics of the kiss cam genre. But it wasn’t until I was victim to the glare of a stadium (half) full of Blues fans last week that I’d even considered the weirdness of the kiss cam and how the tradition should probably, definitely stop.
While everyone else at that game has long-since forgotten the few seconds my mug appeared on the stadium screens, I for some reason keep falling into a day-nightmare about how it went down. I get stressed thinking about the fact my mouth was half full of chips, my hair had blown into my face paint and what if someone recognised me (lol)?
As two of the very few Highlanders supporters among the throngs of lads in blue, me and my fiance stuck out like a Speights in a craft brewery. It was one of those moments where before anything had happened I just knew, somewhere in my heart, it was going to be me.
To say it happened in a blur would be a complete lie. In reality, the few seconds of attention lasted hours in my mind and every split second is a reoccurring terror even two weeks later. I cheersed the camera with my hot chips, turned to my fiance, opened my mouth wide, stuck out my tongue, tilted my head, licked him, looked back at the screen and it was over. The next victims had been selected.
Why, you may ask, did you choose to do that instead of just a polite, non-offensive peck? Oh, I don’t know. Maybe because it’s weird thinking about thousands of people watching me kiss. I wanted to avoid that situation, so instead I did something far more disgusting and embarrassing.
On the come-down from the high of that three-second stardom, I could barely speak or see or hear but one thing I do remember is what happened directly afterwards. The camera panned to a group of girls, then focused on two in the group. Before they’d even had the chance to notice they were being singled out, the stadium voice appeared like God to declare that “No! Silly cameraperson. You have to choose a couple!”
What in the hetero does that mean?
On that note, how do they ever know who is together when they select a stunned pair from the crowd? Unless the camera pans to a pair who are already making out, which is a completely different issue, they can’t know.
Waving in front of my face this whole time was a Blues-branded pride flag with their logo smacked garishly in the middle of it, yet at their home ground we were all having a good old laugh about the potential of two girls having a smooch.
To tell you the truth, I probably wouldn’t think the kiss cam was so bad if it hadn’t happened to me. On reflection of the decision I made when the camera was pointed at me, I understand how cooked it is when you’re faced with a stadium of people looking at you. Even if that wasn’t the case, even if only a handful of people were actually watching the screen and cheering, that’s still a handful of people I don’t know putting pressure on me to share with them what would usually be an intimate moment.
The big problem with a lot of the kiss cam footage we see in stadiums and compilations online is one of consent. While some people are fully prepared to be put up on the big screen, most people aren’t. Because when they’re under pressure and caught off guard sometimes people do weird stuff, like grabbing the person next to them more forcefully than they may have intended, or not waiting to see whether the person they’re kissing wanted to do that in front of a crowd.
If you want to watch people kiss, there are plenty of ways to do that which don’t involve heading to a sports game. In fact, I’m taking a punt that nobody in that entire stadium was there to watch strangers smooch. Yet there I was, licking someone in front of a few thousand people as if being a Highlanders supporter isn’t stressful enough.
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