Now I'm a romantic at heart, no matter how aloof my outward displays of emotion are. I like watching old couples hold hands. I like spotting couples having a quick kiss when they think no-ones looking. I like seeing a man's hand move to rest on her lower back, guiding her. I like small, constrained, intimate gestures. What I don't like are sordid, lustrous, over-the-top exhibitions of affection that encroach on my personal space. The usual culprits are frisky teenagers, sexual extroverts and dogging lovers, whom I prefer to call 'doggers'; the kind of people who get turned on knowing other people are watching. The kind of people who revel in the thrill of putting on a performance. The kind of people who readily force others into being their audience like voyeurs at a sex show.
The infliction can happen anywhere; bus stop, train, park bench, in a taxi, on the street...
On one direful occasion, I got front row seats to a steamy PDA session on the last train home and had no way out. I was plotted on a double facing seat by the window opposite a seemingly innocent (although a little inebriated) couple. The train carriage was full and they started off slow. At first it was a soft peck on the cheek and the holding of hands, but as we passed each stop and people filtered off the train I grew increasingly concerned. The journey between each stop was like a lewd scene of their twisted performance. Stop 1, Scene 1: holding hands. Stop 2, Scene 2: biting the neck, Stop 3, Scene 3: a passionate kiss, Stop 4, Scene 4, a rub on the crotch. I remember thinking I had 5 more stops to go and wondered what was coming next. I also wondered if they were going to move to a more 'private' seat as the train was filtering out, but alas! Of course I'd thought about shuffling over to another seat, but at this point (stop 6) the woman's leg was outstretched and rested on the opposite seat, the seat next to me. I'd of had to climb over her leg to escape. It's as if they wanted me there to fulfil their fantasy. At the rate they were going I might as well of had a bag of popcorn. Stop 9, Scene 9: the crescendo. By the time I'd reached my stop there was soft moaning and partial nudity. Call me prudish, but I felt sick as I stood up and loudly muttered "EXCUSE ME...my stop."
Obviously this was an extreme instance of a PDA that left me feeling violated, dirty minded and nauseous. I felt I'd been stripped of whatever virginal innocence I had left although I'm sure this isn't the case for all people exposed to lambent acts of sexual passion. PDA's bring out different reactions in everyone; some like me may be disgusted at the most vulgar displays, others may find it funny or get some form of twisted pleasure from it, and for some it may be a feeling of jealousy. I know for a fact (at least from a female point of view) that jealously can often be the reason behind the hostility towards the more intimate PDA's. The softer more affectionate forms of PDA's that are shoved in our face remind us that we don't have a boyfriend, girlfriend, partner and when you're caught in the wrong frame of mind, it really is the last thing you want to see.
Flipping the coin, what happens when the PDA offender is you? As a PDA hater, what would you do if you're going out with a PDA lover and you're the one who's caught up in a steamy display of affection? When I date someone, I usually make it clear from the beginning that I hate PDA's. I'm usually the one who bats their hand off my arse or turns my cheek when they lean in for a kiss, but recently I've been on the receiving end of some unwanted gestures. Last week I went ice-skating at the Rockafella Centre in New York with my guy and I had the sudden urge to kiss him right in the middle of the ice-rink. There were hundreds of people watching but strangely I didn't care, probably because I was caught up in the romance of the occasion. I leaned over to kiss him and he gave me a quick peck on the lips saying "Babe, you know I don't like doing it in front of the kids." I felt like a pervert. I never thought I'd be with someone who hated PDA's more than me. An innocent display of romance wouldn't hurt in a while, just keep the PDA's certificate PG.