Public Displays Of Affection … or Aggression?

It starts with holding hands…then maybe a wrap around the shoulder/waist or maybe a stolen kiss on the street. PDAs or Public Displays of Affection have been around since the first kiss but I’m sure even a pre-historic Parlourmaid can tell you…at some point they just to start to get plain weird. Personally, I’ve always lived by the ethos of “show them you love them,” in public and private but have drawn the line at tonguing my boo down or heavy petting in public or feigning oral sex on stage like Wiz (see above) because I don’t think the world is privy to my foreplay skills. A sly wink, gentle nudge and other subtle signals keep it private in public and give you something to look forward to when you two get behind closed doors, but what happens when those little signs of affection turn into something awkward?

Last week I was at a chic hotel in Miami poolside, trying to relax away the stress of an intense spring season and found myself distracted by the escalating PDAs of another visiting couple. He started by leading her in the water, she puts her arms around his neck to float in—it’s sweet! They laugh and sneak a quick kiss (yup, I was in their business on a Game of Thrones reading break) and splash each other with water. She floats on her back and as he holds her, me and the couple beside me both give the “aww, they are so damn cute” nods of acknowledgement. Fast forward 15 minutes of the puppy love show and three beefy MMA-looking guys roll up poolside and strangely enough, our PG-13 presentation takes a turn for “adults only.” Our considerate boyfriend starts to play a little rough and hoist her onto his waist, then leads her out of the pool while grabbing her ass. She’s noticeably surprised and kinda embarrassed. Needless to say, they didn’t hang out poolside after that. I retold this to a girlfriend before writing this post and she summed it up pretty hardcore: “she got marked in front of the dogs.”

Surely many women have found themselves in this situation, especially in cultures where machismo runs rampant. Yes, it is an ego-booster when someone want to show the world who they are with, but we all have our thresholds before it gets weird/gross/embarrassing or even violent. How many fights that you know of have started because someone was “looking at my girl” or someone’s little sister was getting touched inappropriately? On the other end of the spectrum, what happens when PDAs lead to public humiliation or worse, a fear shared by many same-sex couples?

With the picture above, you can’t help but feel sorry for young Cam. He’s excited. He has a girlfriend. With a very famous ex-boyfriend and obscure girlfriend and he wants the world to know…but what exactly? That he has a girlfriend. Or that said girl, Amber Rose, is his. Maybe he doesn’t know so he marks her and she likes it. When you think about it—they are made for each other.

Parlour ladies, where do you draw the line with PDAs? Are you the kiss and hug type or like to take it a little further in the streets? What do you do when it goes a little too far? Speak your piece below in the comments.

Last 5 posts by Shannon Washington