By Rich Santos published
I've been trying to figure out why I struggle so much with PDA (Public Display of Affection). I have it pretty bad: kissing on the cheek, holding hands, arm around a girl or hand on her lower back, is about as far as I'll go in public.
It's taken me a while to accept seeing PDA—as long as it's not disgusting—and by disgusting I mean over-the-top tongue lashing, slipping hands in clothing, or anything that gets so intense I can hear it (grunts, moans, etc.)
In order to learn to accept couples who partaking in PDA, I tapped the inner poser in me. In Europe, couples are amorous in public all the time. Anything European is cool. Therefore, in my eternal quest to be cool—which is just one big failing campaign—I decided that because PDA is common in Europe, I'll just accept it and walk by couples making out as if I'm cool with it.
But I'll never be able to do PDA with a girl.
My girlfriend in college used to lecture me all the time.
"Why can't you hold me and kiss me when we are in public?"
Like that was going to work. With me, just hope for the best and don't make me feel awkward about something I already feel awkward about.
Here are my hypotheses on why I can't do PDA:
1. I'm Insecure. You know when you watch a love scene, you appreciate the fact that the people look great? Well, I'm no actor. Who wants to see me swapping spit with some girl on the subway?
2. I don't like being that geeky couple in love. OK, I kind of do like being a geeky love couple, but only behind closed doors. My spirit churns with nausea when I see eHarmony commercials where the couples recount their compatibility and are shown running hand-in-hand through the streets. They stare at the camera with condescending looks on their faces. Is it me, or are people who are visibly obsessed with one another annoying in public? Either they just annoy us, or they remind us of what we wish we had. Why do that to people?
3. Maybe I've never even really liked any girl I've ever dated that much. I've never been too proud of the girl I'm seeing, and I always feel like there might be someone better on the horizon. So, perhaps I'm not particularly interested in showing the public how much I am into a girl...when I'm not that into her.
4. I don't take much time to stop and smell the roses. Usually I'm so focused on getting from Point A to Point B, I'm not even thinking about slowing down to kiss a girlfriend. My thoughts are focused on beating traffic, not getting rained on, or something very unromantic.
5. I like Moments. When I'm in the supermarket with a girlfriend battling lines and trying to find the right items, I don't feel the heavy emotion I've come to associate with the moments leading up to a kiss. I must admit most of my kissing has included huge buildup but not so much spontaneity.
6. My Privacy is Sacred. Most of the really intimate things I do with a girl are things I like to keep between us. I look at kissing as an extremely intimate activity. Why do I have to share my moments of intimacy with the world?
If I had to pick one of the reasons above to explain my problem, I'd pick reason number #3. If I were dating a girl I was totally in love with, perhaps I would not mind the world seeing how close we were, and—even if I never got used to PDA—I'd probably partake in it if it made this amazing girl happy. Of course, I am pretty damn insecure so maybe it's just reason #1...
How many of you are comfortable partaking in PDA? Is there a certain level of PDA that is acceptable? What kind of amorous behavior are you comfortable or not comfortable doing in public, and how do you react to others who partake in PDA in your presence? Why do you think I have so much trouble kissing or being close to a girlfriend in public, and how can I fix it?
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