To PDA or Not

blog pix pda

Today’s topic: Public displays of affection (PDA): Yes or No? And what does it mean if you do or don’t like PDA? Can a disagreement about this behavior be a deal breaker?

Lots of questions to chew on while we chew on a delightful dish of baked feta and greens with lemony yogurt.

Let’s define PDA as showing physical affection to a romantic partner in the form of kissing, hugging, caressing, back rubs, or holding hands.

In this post, I won’t be discussing having sex on the beach, in an airplane, or a public bathroom. That’s a topic for another day – or maybe not.

I’ve encountered all degrees of PDA-friendly guys – both in terms of their real life behavior and what they mention in their online dating profiles.

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For some guys, a woman’s rejection of PDAs is a deal breaker. I don’t think about this characteristic when I review my checklist of desired attributes in a mate and I wonder if other women include “Enjoys PDA” on their must have list.

It may not be a deal breaker for me but I admit to indulging in PDA, reluctantly or enthusiastically – depending on the situation.

I have experienced a greater degree of PDA behavior early in the dating process. I may not be ready to go to a guy’s home or invite him to mine but I might want to kiss and hug him.

A PDA pet peeve: it bugs me when guys pick the most public spot to engage in PDA. I’d rather be discreet – an unlit bench in a park or a quiet spot in the parking garage as he walks you to your car. However some guys decide that standing by the door of a restaurant is the ideal spot for extensive kissing as customers enter and exit the establishment. Still others like long form smooching near the busy parking machine and elevator. Oy! Not my cup of tea and yet if the guy’s a good kisser, I might put up with it briefly.

What about parks? A guy I was dating engaged me in PDA in all corners of a public park’s extensive garden. We tried to find big trees and dense foliage to hide behind. It was fun and had an element of “danger” in that we could be discovered.

Sometimes when I am kissing a guy in a more public setting, a person walking by will say, “Get a room.” It is always said with a smile and laughter, perhaps because the commenter engages in similar behavior.

People have different standards and levels of comfort with PDA. I wouldn’t want to offend anyone and go into a more circumspect mode when children are around.   I have noticed more public making out in foreign cosmopolitan cities, e.g., Barcelona, Venice. When traveling, it’s always a good idea to check the local customs regarding showing affection, greetings, and non-romantic touching such as handshakes. It could save you embarrassment and even jail time.

So why do people engage in PDA? I view it as a spontaneous need to show affection to a partner. In some cases, the couple has nowhere private to go. However, research has identified other factors in play. One study of college students (admittedly I’m light years from that age group) found motivations included enhancing image; inciting jealousy or envy; proving a relationship; and for women, sexually arousing men.

So, the whole PDA thing can be a sticky wicket. If you and your partner disagree about PDA, you’ll need to come to a comfortable resolution. And when you’re having that talk, it’s worth checking in about what I call pDA for Private Displays of Affection, which are so important to the health of a relationship.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.



Reading for Extra Credit:

Reasons small public displays of affection mean a lot








Goldilocks Searches for the Right Guy with Help from the Grammar Police


I often feel like Goldilocks (with roots showing) as I try to find just the right chair (er…. man) and bowl of porridge.

The problem is that it’s not so easy to know when the chair is perfect – or if there are more ergonomic chairs in another bear family’s house.

Let’s discuss “the right fit” of man over lunch. It’s a politically themed season so join me in some White House Kale Salad.

Whether or not you have a list of “must haves” in a man or “must not haves” you probably recall times when a man has made you cringe.

This happened to me recently with Mr. K (see my last two posts ). To answer your question, yes, I decided to take action and inquire about a 3rd date. But before the date took place, we had a long phone call that clarified how I felt about him. And it wasn’t good.

During the rather unusual phone call (precipitated by my pointing out to him that texting was an inadequate form of communication), we covered everything from a sex-themed truth or dare Q and A to the election and presidential debate.

I’ll spare you the details of the Q and A (other than saying that sometimes if you talk about something too much, it loses its allure).

Regarding the second topic, Mr. K’s political leanings skewed too far to the right. And although I try to keep politics out of this blog, I was shocked at his thoughts about a recently released tape featuring a candidate. “Who’s to say the tape wasn’t doctored in some way, bits and pieces spliced together?” he asked. My mouth dropped open as I listened to his conspiracy theorizing. “And it WAS just locker room talk,” he said.

Mr. K mansplained several other points and topics, cementing my view that “this isn’t going anywhere.” I knew at that point we’d never see each other again.

But the worst thing:  A couple of grammatical errors left his never-to-be-kissed by me-again lips. Can you say subject verb disagreement and pronoun usage error? We’re talking deal breakers.

That’s just me. Other women might not think that’s so bad. Point of clarification: I recognize that I’m not 100% grammatically perfect and, in turn, I ignore certain minor slip-ups in others. However, some errors, when verbalized, make me cringe. Example: Me and her are going to the game.

After the call, I texted Mr. K to let him know I didn’t think we as a couple would work out.

The next day, despite general annoyance and frustration with dating, I spent some time swiping on Bumble. Luck or serendipity was with me: I matched with a better prospect than Mr. K.

Take home messages:

*When you let someone who’s not right go, there’s an open space that will hopefully be filled by someone who is at least “more right” and I don’t mean politically.

*Provided there is strong evidence that a guy is interested, it’s okay to nudge him a little toward that next date. This way you can find out for sure whether YOU like HIM.

*If you’re on the fence about someone, you may only be a phone call or next date away from being certain you do or don’t want to date him.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.