A tale of two kisses:
The huge smooch Al Gore planted on his wife onstage at the Democratic National Convention here last week--a full-body boy-girl clinch.
The kiss 10 days before, on the field level at Dodger Stadium, celebrating rare back-to-back Dodger home runs--a hemi-demi-semi French kiss between two women fans.
Fake, fake! rose the cry at the Gores' liplock, a stage kiss scripted by handlers!
Pervert, pervert! rose the cry at the Dodger fans' kiss, much too real.
Gore was cheered offstage by worshipful Democrats. Danielle Goldey and Meredith Kott were escorted out of Dodger Stadium by security guards.
Al Gore's kiss is the talk of the pundits. Five morning shows wanted to know: was it intended to turn Vice President Pinocchio into a real boy? Or was it a spontaneous joyous act?
The seventh-inning kiss is the talk of the Dodgers' chat room, of letters to the editor, of the end-of-the-week office dish, and opinion pretty much breaks along these lines:
* America has bought itself a season ticket in hell. There's no moral fiber left in this country when even baseball caves in to these people. What's the American trinity now, baseball, apple pie and gay mom?
* No wonder those women got kicked out--the last thing the Dodgers need is more action in the stands than there is on the field. And really, are all you people driving to Chavez Ravine to watch a game, or one another? If baseball is that boring, rent a video.
* Do we have to shove everything in people's faces? Hire the principal who used to pry kids apart on the dance floor on prom night and just ban public heterosexual smooching and groping period. It's just one more bit of public rudeness. People yammer away in the movies and allow their bratty kids to wail and scream in restaurants and let their beepers and cell phones beep and burble at concerts.
The Dodgers, forestalling a lawsuit and publicity fallout, apologized, donated 5,000 tickets to gay and lesbian groups and signed up stadium security for sensitivity training. (It was tough on Goldey, a Dodger fan the way others only dream of being; Dodgers have visited her family, her Realtor-mother sold several Dodgers their houses. This was like being booted out of her own home.)
I think the Dodgers got off easy. The women should have demanded that the team win the pennant as part of the settlement. "That," said their attorney, Bernie Bernheim, "I don't know that they could deliver."
By now some sociologist must have landed a PhD pointing out that a culture with such a high "ick" response to homosexuality also spends millions on pornography in which lesbian sex is meat and potatoes.
Now a baseball stadium is not an X-rated video store, but this isn't just about venue. Lesbian sexual acts are fine as a fantasy to be freeze-framed and fast-forwarded at the viewer's pleasure, but a real-life real kiss between two real loving women somehow undermines the foundations of the republic.
It's especially ironic for Meredith Kott. Some of the same people who were repulsed by her seventh-inning kiss with her partner may have been happy to see her doing the same thing on video. Until a couple of years ago, she acted in X-rated movies, and in the last day or so she has been hearing insinuations that everything--the kiss, the legal action, the settlement--is a publicity stunt.
The last thing she wants, she says, is to bring up that part of her life again.
"We went through what we went through to make a point, to stand up for something. It's not about anything else. This is not who I am any more. I got out of [X-rated movies] for a reason and that reason was to start a new life in a more positive direction for myself and the loved ones around me.
"I have established a normal, positive life," she says, "surrounding myself with wonderful people working in a wonderful, mainstream job."
A pity that the sacred turf of baseball should have been desecrated like this, isn't it? Baseball is for red-blooded, all-American fun, not for people to indulge their sexual orientations.
In Fenway Park, Red Sox fans used to bring in a plastic doll of a woman and inflate it like a beach ball and then fondled it and pretended to have sex with it and passed it from guy to guy. At Busch Stadium in St. Louis, a large-breasted woman in a pink halter top was throwing her weight around in the stands during a game some years ago, and when an usher tried to get her to stop, the people around her booed and threw cups at him.
Patt Morrison's column appears Fridays. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org