There’s nothing wrong with public displays of affection (PDA), and we need to stop telling people there is.
Now, what we’re talking about here is hand holding, kissing and snuggling, without crossing the line into groping, humping or actually doing the deed in public. The G-rated sorts of things that most people wouldn’t mind their children seeing.
While some adults don’t like first-hand witnessing the mushy stuff, there’s no denying that it can actually be triggering from some.
For starters, it’s not safe for every couple to hold hands with their love in public. Queer couples sometimes experience harassment, including violence, when they show affection to one another publicly.
For people in these situations, seeing couples who aren’t at risk can be emotionally difficult.
But really, every couple regardless of gender, race, size and whatever else should be allowed to express their love without harassment. So, instead of trying to take PDA away from everyone, why don’t we work harder to make PDA safe for all?
When you see a gay couple walking down the street holding hands, give them the same sweet smile you’d give to a straight couple. Blogger Helen McDonald says she raises a fist to display a rainbow bracelet around her wrist when passing a same-sex couple showing their love.
Of course, stand up for the couple if someone’s reaction is inappropriate, such as if they’re making disrespectful or threatening comments. Showing your support not only could make them feel safer, it’s also a way of telling the harasser that it’s their actions that aren’t acceptable.
Let’s fight for the right to snuggle on park benches!
Regardless of sexuality, someone fresh out of a break-up who sees a couple snuggling might end up showing embarrassing public displays of intense sadness. Like most things in life though, it’s sort of how you look at it.
Sure, not all onlookers have someone to put their arm around their shoulder or kiss their cheek, and that might be upsetting. But that couple, so in love they lose themselves in each other’s gaze in a bustling restaurant, is proof that there is love out there, and we can all find it.
Pushing personal romantic situations aside, it’s hard not to melt when witnessing PDA.
Even those who don’t swoon over love birds shouldn’t be telling them what non-sexual activities they can and cannot do with their bodies in public.
Someone might not love the look of a shirtless elderly man jogging down the street, but that doesn’t mean that he should have to cover up.
A skinny woman in a crop top might upset someone who is self-conscious about their own body, but that doesn’t mean that she shouldn’t be allowed to flaunt her belly if that’s what she wants.
Alright, we might not all love watching couples lying in the grass in a public park making out. However, is it really any of our business? It’s no more our business than a shirtless man or crop-top clad woman.
No one is forcing us to watch, and they’re obviously having fun and enjoying themselves. Let’s just all let each other be ourselves, without judging or shaming. Alright?
Meg Crane is a freelance writer and the founding editor of Cockroach.
Published in Volume 70, Number 27 of The Uniter (June 2, 2016)