Couples: please keep your displays of affection private

Bleughhh. Is there anything quite so revolting as sitting near a couple who start smooching on a train or a bus?

I found myself in just such a situation this morning. The couple in question were saying an extended “goodbye” before he got off the train. Look, I have no issue with kissing your significant other farewell, but does that really need to involve dozens of (very audible) kisses over the last few stops before parting?

I’m jesting a little, but I do have a point. I am a firm believer that public displays of affection like extended or frequent kissing, holding each other close, gazing longingly into the other’s eyes – unless you are at your wedding – should be relegated to the private sphere.


  1. It makes people (like me) uncomfortable – feeling as if I’ve been inadvertently drawn into your private, intimate moment. Everything in my body repels this experience while it’s going on but I’m forced to endure it by virtue of the fact that I am generally unable to leave the situation. (And why should I anyway, if I’m minding my own business catching public transport?) Also, have you heard what dozens of smooches sound like in public? It’s positively nauseating!
  2. It’s discourteous. Treating the public space as if it’s your own private area just isn’t kind to the people around you. Trust me, nobody wants to see you macking away at the bus stop. And if you’re doing it because you “don’t care” – you’ve just proved my point. Have a care for your neighbours, please.
  3. It’s inappropriate – and not just for children. Back in the day, it was nothing short of scandalous to engage in any of the aforementioned PDA, because everyone understood that gestures of intimate affection with your beloved (not including handholding or polite pecks on the cheek or lips) are reserved for the private sphere, not polite society. PDA is a very recent phenomenon – and has come out alongside all the very worst in sexual deviancy. Just think about that for a minute.
  4. On a more serious note, it can really hurt. I once heard a woman say she was mindful not to kiss and do all that other couple-y stuff in public with her significant other because she remembered how much it sucked being single and seeing couples expressing their affection in public around her. In my lower moods, I’ve experienced the same. You can’t help being out in public, running your errands, going to work, and generally doing your thing. Couples, however, can help being overly affectionate when they are out in public.

At the end of the day, I think it all comes down to charity and modesty. Just to be absolutely clear, I’m talking very specifically about being out in public, here. It’s different when people are in their own homes or those of friends; if they’re at parties or private functions, etc. I still think PDA should be somewhat limited in these situations, particularly in light of point 4, but I also don’t want to come across as some sort of affection nazi.

For the record, I think handholding in public is fine (as long as you’re not permanently joined at the fingertips) even though, for me as a single person who wants to be married, it can still hurt a bit. But I won’t say anything negative about this, nor do I wish to see simple, appropriate affection restricted in public. All I ask is that couples show singles (and the rest of society) the same courtesy.

3 thoughts on “Couples: please keep your displays of affection private

  1. Agree. And all not to mention that it simply lacks all taste and class, is dreadfully undignified, and severly diminishes one’s stature in public. Serious, respectable people do not entwine their bodies or body parts in public. Show some respect for self and significant other, if nothing else, by allowing yourselves to maintain at least a thin veneer of authority and self-discipline!
    It also smacks of deep insecurity about, and immaturity within, the relationship in question. People that know with certainty that they have a lifetime to spend together don’t need to turn every little goodbye into a going-off-to-war style longing last embrace. It’s just embarrassing to everyone present. No one wants to feel embarrassed for that poor couple over there who are so very desperate and uncouth and don’t even realize it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Before betrothal, couples shouldn’t be engaging in those kinds of signs of affection anyways. As Father Ripperger notes (, they are ordered towards the kind of permanent emotional bond that is appropriate only for the married or those who are morally certain they are to be married, which isn’t the case prior to betrothal.

    And if the kind of PDA which you are (rightly) against is really a private act, I don’t think it’s appropriate at a wedding either (especially during the Mass). Save the super intimate stuff for later, you’ll have plenty of time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think what’s needed here is some diversional therapy. Rose coloured glasses are prescribed when unwanted acts of PDA become visually acute. Secondly in order to smother the sound of smooching- the recommendation is either a pair of David Clarke head sets with a set of gel inserts or a pair of Bose noise cancelling headsets- the innocent bystander would then be privy to a lighter scene in a Marcel Marceau romantic mime.


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