Please, keep it in the sheets. I don’t want to see it on the streets.
I recently snagged a reservation at a trendy new restaurant that was written up as the hottest place to dine. It was the kind of establishment where the tables are too close together and you need to use the light of your phone to read the menu, so naturally, it was touted as the perfect date venue.
The likelihood of being sandwiched between a Tinder date was high and unfortunately for my friend and I, we were seated next to a couple who insisted on feeding each other and alternating each bite with a lengthy oral hygiene exam… all whilst she sat on his lap. I guess that’s one way to ask your partner how the food tastes? It was a PDA overload that I even felt like I was part of. (PDA, or Public Display of Affection for my formal folk, is the act of – often graphic – physical intimacy in full view of others).
The close proximity of the tables made my friend and I feel like we were part of this bad porno taking place and I couldn’t help but worry about the probability of body fluids splashing in my pasta. The whole situation was way too intimate for public eyes and we left feeling as though we had dinner and a show.
So where is the line between what should remain between the sheets and what is PG-rated enough to be fine for the streets?
I’d call myself an affectionate person, and I’m very pro-sex, but I’ve never felt comfortable enough with a partner to shove my tongue down their throat whilst we’re in line to buy groceries. A discreet crotch rub under the table with my foot, yes. But furiously rubbing his boner as people watch? That’s a definite no.
I look back to when I was younger and I’d sit holding hands with my boyfriend at the time with lips so raw and swollen from hours of kissing. We were in that teenage love bubble where we lost all perception of our surroundings. Buildings could have been falling down around us, but the only thing occupying our minds was exchanging saliva. I didn’t really care about pissing off other people around me; yet as I’ve matured, I’ve become a lot more discerning with the amount of affection I want to show my partner in public.
If I want to get hot and heavy, it’s probably time we venture home and have each other for dessert, instead of starting our foreplay in the restaurant. The people around us don’t need to know we’re sexually active together, so I don’t feel the need for public exhibitionism to proclaim to everyone around us that we’re most definitely going to be doing the deed directly after we leave the dining table.
I’ve been in relationships where my partners’ numerous attempts at PDAs were signs of their insecurities, rather than a true reflection of their desire for me. Every kiss and ass grab was their way of publicly showing ownership of me as I became aware they were more focused on the reactions of others than mine.
This isn’t to say that I’m a prude. I get it. If you’re dating someone and there’s a shit-ton of sexual chemistry, it’s normal to want to show them a piece of that all the time. But we need to have a certain level of public self-restraint, if only out of courtesy for the people trying to peacefully enjoy their meals next to us sans saliva-fest; so the baby voices, dirty talk and rubbing of the genital region should remain out of bounds. If you hear gagging noises by passers by, you know you’ve officially reached peak PDA level, and need to take it down a notch or five.
When determining my own appropriate level of street affection, I like to ask myself this: if this were filmed and put on social media, would I throw out my phone and go into hiding?
Cuddling, kisses and sneaky ass grabs are fine, but if I ever decide to straddle my boyfriend and grind his lap at dinner, you have full permission to slap me.
Image via Giphy.com.
Comment: Where do you draw the line at what’s acceptable public intimacy?
Peta Serras is a model and SHESAID’s dating expert who’s willing to go on as many bad Tinder dates as she needs to in order to find the perfect guy. In her spare time she loves drinking coffee, eating almond croissants and spending lots of money. Follow Peta on Twitter and Facebook.