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PDA: Public Displays of… Annoyance?

We’ve all witnessed it. You’re waiting online at Starbucks, (minding your own business), when the couple in front of you starts digging for buried treasure in one another’s back jeans pockets. Or you’re trying to converse with a friend outside of the library, but you’re suddenly distracted by a couple that seems to have mistaken a public bench for a private bed in a sleazy hotel room.  Or you’re like me…right now, and you’re sitting on a four-and-half-hour train ride across from a couple that can’t keep their tongues inside of their own mouths.  (Seriously…I’m starting to think that they are actually lizards trapped inside the bodies of human beings…I’m on the verge of telling them to go back to the zoo).

So what’s the deal? Am I the only one noticing this? Or do publicly affectionate couples seem to be taking over the world? 

It’s one thing to give your significant other a kiss ‘hello’, or to hold their hand while walking down the street…but no one needs to see you nibbling on one another’s earlobes, licking each other’s noses, or performing a lap-dance while we go about our days. Save that stuff for when you’re in the privacy of your own bedroom: surrounded by the audience of your stuffed animals – not your peers.

But as annoying, (and disgusting), as PDA can be…I often wonder, are these couples actually onto something?  Is there a certain thrill that comes with knowing that they’re being watched? Does it make the foreplay even steamier? Does it make the relationship more intimate? Are these couples truly unable to keep their hands off of one another?


Is PDA just a ploy to prove to the rest of the world that they are “happy?” Could it be like the proverbial tree in the forest; if no one’s around to hear it fall…does it make a sound? But in this case: If no one’s around to witness their display of affection, do they still make-out?

Obviously there is no universal answer to this question, as it is impossible to know what a couple does when they are behind closed doors (unless you stalk them through a window…in which case I advise that you seek professional help immediately).  Nevertheless, it’s interesting to analyze what PDA truly is, and why couples feel the need to do it.  We’re quick to assume that PDA is an indicator of happiness and intimacy in a relationship; but maybe some couples engage in PDA because they want to make a statement to the public, or perhaps the spark is dead in the bedroom so they’re attempting to ignite it elsewhere.

Whatever a couple’s intentions are – whether they are partaking in this act out of true passion or because they want to send a message to their peers – it’s safe to say that it’s time for extreme cases of PDA to go M I A.

But how do you know when you’ve crossed the line from appropriate or tasteful PDA to nauseatingly borderline pornographic PDA? Well, you can start by stopping yourself from doing the following:

  1. Do not grab your boyfriend’s genital region in public.
  2. Do not lick him. (Exception: If you are sitting at a corner table in an ice cream shop and he has some Froyo on his lip – in this case, you have a few seconds to lick it off while still being *tasteful…*pun intended).
  3. Dry humping is NEVER allowed in public. No exceptions. (Unless you are a stripper giving a professional lap dance…but I don’t think any strippers are reading this…)
  4. Remember that his butt is not a lemon, so refrain yourself from squeezing it as if you’re juicing him.
  5. Do not make out for more than 3 seconds. No one wants to see your tongues battling one another in a swordfight. (However, longer public make out sessions are okay if you’re out partying together past the hours of 1am.  This is because everyone else will be too drunk to notice and too involved in pursuing their own mission of the night to care about yours.  But even in this case, I advise that you find a corner or wall to make out against and avoid the center of the dance floor; no one wants to slip on your saliva while attempting to get their groove on).

So there you have it—5 easy steps that will prevent you from being the couple that everyone’s too grossed out to be around. Save the serious displays of affection for the moments that you’re alone together; and if you really can’t wait until you get home…do us all a favor and find the nearest bathroom – just make sure there’s no one in the stall next to you before you attempt to get it on.  

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