Monday, 19 April 2010

In which I am a hypocrite in the matter of public displays of affection

Under the surface and in the right circumstances, I’m actually quite a soppy romantic. I love nothing better than the small acts of kindness that show how much one person cares for another. An unexpected Post-It note with a few words of love, left on the back of a bedroom door, has been known to go down far better in my world than any big, showy gifts.

Despite this, I have always and forever maintained that public displays of affection are unnecessary, irritating, and frankly a bit gross. Which, for people forced to watch them, they are. No one enjoys being subjected to two strangers fawning over each other, prodding and pawing (well, they might, but that’s a whole other topic of faint revulsion).

It’s faintly forgivable if the both halves of the couple in question are in their teens, and have yet to learn any better. That doesn’t make it pleasant to be on a train back home in the evening along with a pair of teenagers who’re making the most of being able to slobber all over each other before going home to their respective parents - but it is understandable.

But when both parties are somewhat older, and in the realms of should-know-better, there’s not really any excuse. And I have no excuse for being someone with apparently such little self-control that I’ve recently indulged in an activity that makes me feel slightly queasy when I’m on the other side.

My first date with the Nut ended with us snogging like teenagers in a smart bar in town. A recent date with Game Boy ended with us doing much the same in his club, before doing it on public transport (thinking about it, it’s not even a hugely recent phenomenon: I did exactly the same thing once or twice when seeing Minor Sleb, before deciding it was a bad idea in public).

Because, when you’re caught up in the moment, you’re either not bothered by the fellow drinkers or commuters shooting filthy looks at you from adjacent seats, or you’re so wrapped up with desire that you forget that the rest of the world, let alone a few disapproving types, exist at all.

Looking at the picture as a whole, it appears that I’m a person who’s happy to criticise behaviour that I don’t like when I see it in others, and then indulge in it myself when it suits. To counter which hypocrisy, I could do one of two things: either stop capitulating to my inner teenager, and conduct myself with some sense of decorum when out and about; or stop being so bloody grumpy about other people so enjoying their relationship that they can’t keep their hands off each other.

Of course in reality, I’m going to do neither: it’s only a dilemma that I find myself confronted with when on a really good date, or a step or two into a promising dalliance. Which isn’t something that happens often enough to make me reconsider my blatant hypocrisy. Sorry.


Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

When the Boyfriend does eventually get here, we are confining ourselves to a campervan so as not to disgust other hostel goers. I'm particularly self conscious about PDAs.

There are remarkably few touchy feely, honeymoon period couples on the backpacker circuit. Most have had enough of each other that they don't mind sleeping in separate bunk beds. But when you do see a couple cuddled up on the bus, there is an audible collective 'EURGH'.

I only care until I get drunk though, to be fair.

nuttycow said...

I'm trying to remember whether I've ever actually done the PDA thing out of my teen years. I think I can safely say "no" and therefore have moral superiority over you for the next year, at least.

Barry said...

Reckon most enjoy similar hypocrisy on this one: eurgh, get a room, to: bollocks, who cares what anyone thinks?

Had a few PDA: 'I would disgust me right now' moments. At the time though, you just care less, or care more about something/one else.

"..doing it on public transport" however.. Hope you mean heavy petting, otherwise that's a step too far..

HC said...

How can you snog AND read the Evening Standard?


Helena Halme said...

'Stop being grumpy' gets my vote.

Helena xx

Blonde said...

PDEWYMO: A good thing, I imagine, given how long you've not seen each other for. Bad enough to have plans for seeing t'other half delayed, without having to watch the loved-up ones slobber all over each other.

NC: Hmm. For now, maybe. But I'm sure there'll be a story from Switzerland that'll put us back on level pegging soon enough...!

Barry: Fear not - we weren't screwing on the tube. Even I'd draw the line at that one.

HC: Tsk. Snogging only. The Standard goes straight into the bag, and then straight into Colin's litter tray.

Helena: Ah, how optimistic you are, and how little you know me!

Gordon said...

Ignorant question time...

What does PDA stand for?

HC said...

It sounds like Colin and I are unified in our enjoyment of reading as we poop.

That's Not My Age said...

Oh I feel exactly the same about PDA's I once spent the entire bus journey to JFK airport sitting right next to a snogging couple who were making a right racket. But when I met Mr TNMA there was some drunken snogging on a bus - though I'd like to think we kept the noise down!

theperpetualspiral said...

The odd subtle PDA is always acceptable I think. Subtle being the key word of course!

P said...

Oh yes, I can identify with this.

Which makes me wonder if the reason I dislike other people's PDAs is just because I'm completely jealous!

Emily said...

Ha! A very entertaining post.

Do you think being British has anything to do with the disdain for PDA?

Anonymous said...

Embrace your inner hypocrite. You'll feel much better.

Brennig said...

I don't care. There is sufficient romance/cynicism in my soul to look at a younger couple snogging and think 'Awwww...' and then 'Just you wait until she's ten years older and her breasts have moved so far south that they're somewhere around Port Stanley.

But really, I don't care. I have been known to snog a young maiden or two in public, so who am I to stop others from doing the same? But not to my young maiden's, obv.

Brennig said...

p.s. But on the subtle PDAism... I have seen parts of a certain female Royal that would have got me beheaded not too many years ago...

HC said...

Brennig - please let it not be the late Queen Mother.

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