Don’t We All Learn How To Kiss By Watching TV?

planet yabadada telenovelas

I think a lot of my social problems arise out of not keeping up with the latest updates in the cognitive development in humans of my cohort. From my point of view, the social norms change so rapidly that just as I finally get to grips of doing something the right way it appears to have already become a thing of the past.

So what am I really in these cases: old-school, naïve, or disrespectful?

A lot of it comes from the fact that I had been learning about human behavior and social-emotional interactions by watching movies and TV shows, so eager yet clueless. My disastrous attempts at applying what I’d so passionately learned from the screen to reality have always left me very suspicious of reality, never the screen. Well, almost never.

When I was growing up in the early 90s in Lithuania, Mexican and other Latin American soap operas (aka telenovelas) was a thing huge beyond belief. In general, a proper household without a TV set always on and blasting in full volume thus celebrating the newly-gained freedom to enjoy Western entertainment was unimaginable. Alright, a full volume was not truly necessary. I personally can attest that having a screen flicker in the background of your domestic routines in mute was intoxicating almost just as much.

These telenovelas had a dedicated weekday time slot between the children’s stuff occupying mornings and noons and the good adult stuff (serious talk shows and real movies was what I meant, not porn) in the evenings. Coincidentally that would usually be the time when I’d come back home from primary school. Having some other screen addicts at my home made it nearly impossible not to get involved in the slip-slop melodramas for a good hour a day, every day.

Now is the time to openly admit that most of my behaviour with my first big crushes in my early adolescence was learned from those impossible storylines crowded by characters with seriously troubled minds. Even though I knew it back then, how silly it was and unrealistic, my subconscious receptivity of incoming information at that age did its job.

Planet Yabadada learn
My unfortunate role models in 90s/00s ― gorgeous damsels in distress that only handsome and rich men can save from their grim and entirely unfair lives.

One of the most cringe-worthy applications of the life lessons that Maria la del Barrio, Marimar, Marisol, and other fellow damsels in distress have taught me happened when I was 13. After our intriguing yet short-term relationship of three weeks, my very first boyfriendo announced to me that it has reached the end. Being stricken by disappointment rather than anything else I felt there couldn’t be a better time to make a dramatic gesture. And so I did – I lost my consciousness right there and then.

Except that I didn’t really, I simply pretended by collapsing straight to the ground. I felt that I played my role like a real pro. As I was falling down to the shabby and damp late summer grass I could feel the wave of Shakespearean pride wash over me. For that short yet startling moment, I felt so happy and empowered by what seemed to me as taking over the control of this unsettling situation that I almost didn’t hear the voice of my highly unconvinced newly-made first ex-boyfriendo, asking me if there’s something wrong with my head or what… I felt much more hurt by the fact that he didn’t buy my act than the whole breaking-up thing. Shame.

I guess I wasn’t as good an actress yet as I thought I was. Also what seems to easily convince us on-screen probably takes a lot more to convince us in real life. The first thing I thought about after his snarky remark, honestly, was how pity it was that I didn’t have the whole scene recorded on camera to watch, study, and improve my moves for the next time. I must say now I’m glad the next time never came.

I realise that it must have looked as if I’m so desperate for love. But if you asked me now, I see that the only thing I was actually desperate for was to make my reality more dramatic. And not only for me but also for my invisible yet ever-present audience that has been watching my life ever since my birth. Here’s some Trumanesque psychology for ya!

To end on a positive and slightly ironic note, this same boyfriendo of mine gave me compliments on how great a kisser I was after our first making out session. Little did he know that it was my first real experience and all of my kissing skills came straight from those same silly telenovelas.

Featured image: Audra Bajori

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