At a very young age, I learned the difference between PDA (Public Displays of Affection) and PDI (Public Displays of Inappropriate).
In the 7th grade, me and this girl who I liked and who liked me back, for some reason, decided it would be a great idea to go make out in a park underneath some sort of tree in the middle of the afternoon. Now this wasn’t during school hours or at a time when we were doing something else. We were in 7th grade (well, actually, she was in 8th, and I was in 7th), no one really has plans in 7th grade, not when their hormones are running on 10, but I digress…
So this girl lays down on her back, underneath the tree, and I lay on top of her, and we’re just going at it. And when I say going at it, I mean, we’re just really kissing a lot. I really didn’t have any clue what I was doing and nor did she, I don’t think. We just kissed and kissed and kissed and kissed and kissed until…”JOZEN!”
Yep, there was only one woman who can say my name so loudly while pronouncing it correctly. My mom.
Both the girl and I jumped up off the grass, shook out our jeans which were covered in blades of grass, and tried to act like we didn’t just get caught doing something we shouldn’t have been doing. My mom grounds me, right in front of the girl, then looks at the girl and says we should both be ashamed of ourselves.
In retrospect, my mom was definitely right. We should have been ashamed of ourselves, making out in a public park underneath a tree, for the whole world to see. Like it was a free concert or something. That isn’t PDA. That is PDI.
As I got older, I saw less people making out in parks. As a matter of fact, I really haven’t seen it at all, which tells me just how indecent I was, but sadly, I have also seen less PDA in general.
I could be wrong, but when I was growing up, PDA, didn’t seem to be as much of a taboo as it seems now. Before I got caught doing it in the park way before dark, in 7th grade, I recall seeing, quite a few times, other couples making out in parks. And in my youthful naivete, I took to it like it was some sort of rights of passage. as though one cannot call a girl a girlfriend and a boy boyfriend until they are making out on some public plot of grass. Or maybe I thought it just looked fun and told myself I wanted to try it myself. Whatever the reason, making out with someone in public is never a good look. No one wants to see all that (tonguing and groping), nor do they want to hear all that (moaning and lip smacking).
If it’s going to be all that, yes, just get a room.
But for lesser acts — a simple kiss on the lips or the cheek, arm locking with a head on the shoulder, passionate hugs, or holding hands — what’s the problem if we do it in public? An even better question is, where did these people go? Maybe to a room? If so, come out. It’s all good. Kiss (don’t make out) in public. No one will say anything, at least they shouldn’t.
Now as a man, I know other men who read this might think I’m coming off as soft and other women who read this are going to assume this is my play to get a couple willing to do some PDI (PRIVATE Displays of Inappropriate), but it’s not. My point of view is not to appease women, because as we all know, there are plenty of women who are not in favor of PDA either. The reason I am making a case for PDA is simply because there’s no reason to be against it, at least not a legitimate one.
I have lived in New York City for six years. Not only have I built a high tolerance of shared public space and behavior best reserved for behind closed doors, I also get to people watch a lot. And in my completely unscientific study of watching people, it seems as though people who are together, in an attempt to appear decent and appropriate, have now entered into the realm of the absurd.
No one seems to be kissing anymore. The hell, they’re barely even holding hands. They want to appear too cool for one another, instead of happy with one another. All the while they really look like two unhappy people, who just so happen to be walking extremely close to one another, and just so happen to be going to the same destination at the same time.
One thing I never get tired of seeing is a couple who looks genuinely happy to be with one another and show their happiness through some physical act. Not to say I’m a voyeur, I’m just saying at least I know they’re happy and they’re getting some. If you ask me, I’d rather see two people kissing on the train than two people fighting, and I’m amazed more people don’t feel the same way.
Public displays of affection are usually met with the rolling of some eyes, and muttered suggestions to “get a room” or “save it for home”. Meanwhile, if a fight breaks out, these same haters of PDA will watch in awe as two young people are scrapping. What kind of asinine, backwards stuff is that?
A suggestion for all those whose tolerance of PDA is still low, how about you get a room or a person you like enough, then mind your business by yourself or with them? As long as no one is making out in parks underneath some trees (everyone should be grounded for that), a simple act between two people who are happy with one another should, at the least, be met with indifference. They’re happy right then and there, they want to show it a little bit. We don’t have to watch, but we definitely don’t have to hate either.