Friday, April 3, 2009


I went to the bank today. And because it was both payday and the lunch hour, I got to spend a good amount of time in a line made up of everybody else in Providence who also had the same great idea.

And it was in this line that I observed the interactions of others. Specifically, a couple directly in front of me. Now, without passing any judgements, let me just give you the facts.

  • Fact: the man was probably sixty years old, had greasy grey hair slicked straight back revealing a tired, pockmarked forehead, was wider than he is taller, was wearing an oversized leather jacket that hung to his thighs, and gave an altogether slovenly appearance.
  • Fact: the woman was somewhere in her thirties, had plain brown hair pulled straight back into a tight bun, pretty blue eyes set far back in her face, skin that has grown a little more slack with each passing year, was dressed in too-small capri sweatpants and a large sweatshirt and oh yeah, had no teeth.
So those were the facts, the hard cold facts. Doesn't matter so much what they looked like, true, but I did want you to have a visual.

Maybe it was the age difference, but I actually didn't assume they were together until well, she leaned in and started kissing him full on the mouth. And apparently that was just the beginning. Cause more often than I would have liked, they'd pause in their conversation and start communicating without words, if you know what I mean.

They were very into each other.

Trust me, I know.

Oh, and all of this was done in front of his grown up daughter. At least that's who I gathered she was from the repeated hugs from behind she gave him.

So with a toothless lady kissing him in front and a daughter hugging him from behind, they were quite a spectacle. Can you blame me for not being able to look away, really?

But don't get me wrong, it was awkward.

Which leads me to my question for all of you:

What do you think about PDA?

Cool? Not cool? Does it depend on where you are? In a corner of a club, while a phat beat is thumping--is it alright then? When you are at church, do you limit it to a sensible side-hug, no longer than 2 seconds, three maybe, but only if you haven't seen the person for a while? While waiting in line at a crowded bank, do you always have to steal some kisses, just like Ben Harper does?

Or as I learned today, does that become a little impromptu show that is best reserved for privacy?

I gotta be honest with you--I am not a huge fan of PDA, in general. I grew up with parents who love each other, sure, but we barely every saw that love displayed romantically.

For which we are very very grateful.

So, lay it on me. PDA: okay? or no way?
Or is there a beautiful balance to be found somewhere in the middle?


jason said...

Hand holding. Cool.
Hug when greeting. Fine.
Arm around shoulder. OK, but don't fall into the caressing or massaging there, buddy.

Anything beyond that is not the Latshaw way.

christine said...

Here are a few of my thoughts: If the PDA is displayed over an extended period of time so that others who are around are definitely meant to be excluded, I think that's weird. Anything more than hand holding or arms around each other needs to be short and sweet. A quick kiss, a brief hug, etc.
I could say a lot about the craziness of the PDA you observed but I will just leave it at...that was definitely crossing the line!

christine said...

Just to clarify one thing I said...what I said about others being excluded was not meant to sound like others are ever included in two peoples display of affection. It's just that you can show affection in a quick, non-weird way where others don't feel like they have to turn their head. Just wanted to clarify : )

Karenkool said...

Kissing in public may be ok. But kissing someone with NO TEETH??? That's just wrong!!! haha.

I'm no a fan of excessive PDA. The mild stuff shown in public can be sweet. My husband and I are conservative.

peaj said...

I like what Dogbert has to say - if both of the participants are excessively attractive, well, have at it. Otherwise, tone it down. ;-)

Seriously, I think that we as a society are too embarrassed by displays of affection. I want marriages to be strong, and I want to encourage couples to be affectionate. I think that for some people that it can strengthen their relationship to publicly show their love. I am especially happy to see when a wife looks to her husband for affection and he has the courage to respond to her and thus openly affirms her in that way.

Now, I have noticed that when a married couple gets affectionate that there are lots of people around who quickly say, "hey, stop that." Why should we be so quick to put an end to something that strengthens what we want for marriages? And so I and my bride have actually been in the position of rebuking those interrupters by saying "they're allowed." Not really what I imagined I would do, but there you go. My fear is that if we say "your affection is not acceptable in public" that that might translate into "your affection is not acceptable - period." And I want to encourage affection between couples.

But if you're not married, I don't want to see it. And I haven't really been confronted with a situation like you describe, where it has gone on for a long time. Unless it was me and my wife.

laura said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
laura said...

I think that too much PDA is gross. I don't think by saying, "hey, stop that," you are telling a married couple that affection behind a closed door isn't acceptable. You are saying," You have a home and a bedroom for a reason!"
A quick peck, a hug, or hand holding is acceptable and good. Caressing in public, in my opinion, is inappropriate.

Emily said...

nothing beyond a peck... ever. beyond that is too intimate for viewing!!!!

Michele said...

I think it's nice to see married couples, especially, put their arms around one another or hold hands. I agree with PJ on this one. There's no shame in loving your spouse, and there is nothing wrong with an arm around a shoulder or a quick peck.

Jessica Latshaw said...

Yes, I think holding hands is sweet, arms around each other is nice, but prolonged kissing can just make others feel uncomfortable.

I have been in the situation where it has literally been a couple and ME...and then they start kissing...and it is awkward.

Mom said...

Oh, have learned well the Latshaw way. I've had mixed feelings actually about PDA. I didn't ever, ever, ever see my parents show any affection or touching. I know through counseling classes that it is VERY important for kids to see affection between their parents. So I agree with you, Jase....hand holding, hug, arm around shoulder. Yeah!