I want you right here, right now, no matter what...
To know me is to know that my privacy is sacrosanct.
My beloved always teases me whenever we see a couple groping each other. He’ll give me the side-eye and say, “You’ll never agree to that would you?” and give me a slight nudge. I wouldn’t be able to do anything but let out a deep sigh. Sometimes to hide my unease towards the scene in front of me, sometimes wondering how some people could be so brazen so as to display such intimate acts in front of all and sundry without a care in the world.
That got me thinking, how do I really feel about the public display of affection (PDA)?
Studies have shown that when couples touch, the stress hormone cortisol, drops and the bonding hormone oxytocin skyrockets. However, it has been argued that on this side of the world, we have a faux sense of self-consciousness and as such it’s not common practice to be all touchy-feely in public. Some people are quite affectionate and when at a certain stage of their relationship can’t seem to keep their hands off their partner.
Such people have argued that PDA is a way of marking their territory; telling the whole world in very explicit terms, ‘This dude/babe is mine, and mine only, so, back off!’
Nevertheless, people of a different school of thought have claimed that PDA is a western import and that we (Africans) are more “reserved and decent”! *snickers hehehehehehehe …yeah right! *🙄
PDA is a way of marking their territory...
One of the main things engaging in PDA with your significant other reveals is that the two of you feel very comfortable with one another. When couples physically connect in public, they reinforce their commitment in the grand setting of the real world. Their actions not only say, “I want you right here, right now, no matter what,” but also declare, “I choose you, just you, and no one else will do.” That’s a pretty powerful statement if you ask me.
That said, public displays of affection may elicit a wide range of reactions from people around you. So, if you are not sure whether or not an action is “okay” in any social setting, you should probably hold off until you are in a more private situation; I’m sure you want people around you genuinely rooting for you instead of squirming as a result of your actions.
Of course, the next logical question would be: who or what dictates what is appropriate in public settings?
Well as a rule of thumb, I always go with the sentiment of: ‘If you can’t do what you are doing in front of your grandparents, little kids or your colleagues, then maybe you should refrain from those actions’. #justsayin🤷🏾♀️
Take these scenarios for instance;
A few weeks ago, after my mani-pedi, I was waiting for my ride at the nail shop’s lounge, when a couple came in and had us all present turning to our phones to hide our collective unease. The show they were putting on was nothing short of — dare I say — gross, to say the least. These two were basically comparing how far their respective tongues could go down each other’s throat. Babe kept running her hands down the dude’s ears, neck, arms; dude’s fingers were running back and forth on babe’s thighs — I wanted to pour ice water on them!
Now, on a different day as I was in a shop trying to get my ice-cream fix, I saw this older couple strolling in. They were just holding hands, walking slowly, and sometimes the man would lean over and whisper something in his woman’s ear and she would smile, look at him and they both would chuckle. It was beautiful to watch; nothing R-rated but the intimacy spoke volumes.
Moral of the story: Though PDA may be a western import, good taste is universal.
Dude’s fingers were running back and forth on babe’s thighs — I wanted to pour ice water on them!
Therefore, although we typically associate PDA, with new lovers who can’t keep their hands off each other, in essence, PDA simply represents a wanting, which validates how important your partner is to you…and WE ALL NEED IT at every stage of the relationship; be it on day 1 or day 1000.
So, do you love snuggling up with your significant other no matter where you are and who might be watching? Or does the mere thought of holding hands in public give you pangs of anxiety? My guess is, most of us fall somewhere in the middle.
My take on this is, what motivates or inspires a public display of affection? If PDA is forced or performative it comes off as exactly that and there is a general discomfort all around. For any healthy loving relationship, a good dose of PDA allows the couple to express their affection to each other, and also to the world. PDA in such cases is used as a ‘tool’ by the couple to stay connected when in public; but please please please keep it PG. Nothing wrong with showing your significant other you are head over heels in love with them with some hand-holding, a sweet peck on the cheek, forehead or lips (no tongue please), an extra squeezy hug, a hand placed gently at the small of the back, but save the extra heavy stuff for private time; the whole world doesn’t need to see you act out the Kama Sutra. Just keep in mind that the fine line between the sweetly affectionate and embarrassing is knowing how to express your love without hurting others’ (reasonable) sensibilities, irrespective of where you may find yourself! So, let’s hold hands and let love lead! 🥰👫🏾🥰