The Rules of PDAs

© Holger Scheibe/Corbis

Dear people in love, if you must showcase the range of things you can do with, and to, your significant other in public, then please, please, please do it properly!

My mother always taught me that emotions in public should be kept to a minimum: “Never let others see you cry, it gives them an advantage,” she used to preach. And “Evelyn! I don’t want to hear you raise your voice! If you’re angry, go to your room and punch your pillow.”

She wasn’t particularly understanding of the things emotions made you do. “Laughing should not turn into cackles”, “Sulking only causes wrinkles”, and “Going out when upset won’t do you any good” were only a few of her gems. But she particularly hated public displays of affection.

I remember, in fact, how she always used to say that she too could kiss and make a parade out of the love she had for my father, “but three children are showing off enough,” she used to conclude.

As I’m sure most of my readers have grasped by now, I don’t really follow in her footsteps. I don’t mind airing my dirty laundry in public because, frankly, I enjoy sharing and can take the criticism. But one thing I just don’t get are these excessive PDAs that make onlookers want to gouge their own eyes out and eat them.

That’s why I felt that we needed a bit of an ABC-in-PDAs guide:

Rule Of Thumb 1: Make it look good, please! A soft peck, hand-holding and lingering glances are sweet and make us all jealous of your love life. But sucking each other’s faces off on a bus, at a restaurant or on the beach, does not. If you must show us you’re in love, make it a Disney moment not a One-Night-In-Paris moment.

Rule of Thumb 2: If you think kissing in public for 10 solid minutes while in the company of other people is not weird, then please read on. A passionate and intimate kiss for 10-20 seconds is enough not to be revolting; anything more than that and we’re just going to roll our eyes. PDAs are not about foreplay but about a public declaration of your love – make it count, but do get on with it.

Rule of Thumb 3: Having sex in public does not fall under the PDA register, it’s a crime. PDAs should never be taken over and above a kiss on the mouth. If you want to nibble your better half’s ear, suck on their neck or manhandle their genitals, rent a hotel room or go home.

Rule of Thumb 4: I don’t mean to be ageist when I say that anyone over the age of 40 should be very weary of PDAs. Again a stolen glance or peck on the lips is incredibly sweet, but anything more than that is just weird, even for people your age.

Rule of Thumb 5: You also need to understand that PDAs might come with criticism or complaints. Few people will complain over hand-holding, stolen glances and pecks, but if you’re going to kiss in a public place, other people might actually turn around and comment. If this happens, take it in your stride and learn; I mean, how would you like it if a dog peed next to your leg? Wouldn’t you comment?

How do you feel about public displays of affection? Do you agree with Evelyn? Let us know!