Why do people get upset about PDA?

Some people have no problem kissing each other in public.

First, it is hand-holding, a back rub or shoulder massage before they go all-in for a smooch and lock lips tighter than the traffic on Red Hills Road when Pricesmart has a sale! It is public display of affection, otherwise known as PDA, and some people cannot stand to see it.

Arouse feelings of love

Defined as acts of intimacy in full view of others, the levels of PDA will differ from country to country depending on each nation’s cultural norm. Physical affection is any touch intended to arouse feelings of love in the giver and/or the recipient. While totally acceptable in North America and Europe, Muslim countries and those where women are supposed to be subservient creatures, will definitely not support a scene of ‘tonsil hockey’ happening in the streets.

Holding hands might be no big problem, but it is frowned upon by some people.

But why though? What is so bad about showing the world who you are in love with and executing actions that show off and strengthens your physical bond? What is so awful about that?

Frisky in public

In Jamaica, for the most part, we have no real issues with PDA. If a man and woman are getting too frisky in public, someone may shout: “Get a room!” But that is about it as it is not seen as a big deal. Indeed, in a country where we have bacchanal and carnival and people gyrating on each other in public, kissing or holding hands is tame in comparison. Indeed, we also have a sub-culture in dancehall where ‘daggering’, grinding or even wining on a partner is totally acceptable if not expected, hence PDA is mild to what takes place right in full view of others.

PDA is, however, a problem from a religious point of view, as it is seen as a basis for initiating intimate contact with someone and that kind of behaviour for most religions should only be executed behind closed door. The conservatism of religion dictates that PDA is not OK.

For some people, intimacy is only appropriate for the bedroom.

Act demure in public

Sharia law, vows of chastity, purity standards, etc. all demand that females are supposed to act demure and ‘proper’ in public, and under all of these religious tenets, there is no room for doing any form of PDA, regardless of if you are married or not. If a girl is not yet a wife, she certainly cannot expect to be viewed in a favourable light to attract a suitor or potential husband if his family and friends see her behaving in any particular manner that is seen as unbecoming of a lady or unsuitable for being considered ‘wife material’

Yup, sad to say PDA also hits a nerve with older people, even those who are not super religious but believe that anything physical, even affection should only be done in the dark in the privacy of one’s bedroom. They see it almost as pornography and only certain types of women would act so shameless. Any form of intimacy between partners is to be only for partners eyes alone. No one is to witness this, and so for them, PDA is tantamount of public indecency. In many ways, not a lot has changed, as the way we were brought up, the influence and impact of the Church and even societal norms still force many to conform… even if they do not agree.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of BUZZ or its employees.