PDA: Yes or no?


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Savanna Pardekooper

If a couple is in love, or lust, it may be hard to keep their hands to themselves while out with their partner in public. When it comes to public displays of affection (PDA) most people have an opinion about where to draw the line and when it becomes inappropriate.

Public displays of affection range from holding hands to behavior that would make a porn star blush. So when does PDA go too far? The Iowa State Daily asked current and former Iowa State students to share their opinions on public displays of affection.

“I’m fine with minimal kisses in public, but when it changes from kisses to make-out then I’m like ugh. One time a friend of mine started making out with a girl right next to me in the stands of a concert it was so awkward I had to move away,” said Calvary Tutson, senior in hospitality management.

Although some may not be comfortable with showing PDA, they’re still okay with seeing it.

“I personally don’t like to show PDA, but I think it’s cute when others do,” said Sierra Collins, a former Iowa State student. “It just says to me that they like each other so much they don’t care what others think. However, the minute you start sucking on each other’s tongues and your skirt is hiked up so high that I can see your tampon string, I’m gonna say that’s a no for me.”

“I guess I don’t really care about PDA if the people are comfortable showing it in public, more power to them,” said Jonathan Sergei Thompson, a senior studying finance. “The only time I would be uncomfortable is if I was going through a breakup and I was seeing it everywhere.”

And while some don’t seem to mind minimal PDA, others have very strong opinions on it.

“Public displays of affection, in general, frustrate me because the PDA I tend to see is of straight couples. Even though the majority of people are uncomfortable with PDA involving a heterosexual couple, when the PDA involves two girls or two boys, it can cause a lot of outrage. That uncomfortable feeling people have towards PDA is intensified for gay people,” said Alec Ballard, senior in public relations.

Ballard, who is gay, emphasized that society seems to be more accepting of straight PDA than gay PDA.

“It’s just really frustrating that I have to worry about my safety for simply holding another man’s hand. It’s not right,” Ballard said. “I just think if people are going to at least deal with straight PDA, then there needs to be a larger acceptance for LGBT PDA. I love the idea of love and I think all people should be able to express that in ways that are not super gross and invasive.”

Jonathan Sergei Thompson, a senior studying finance, agreed with Ballard that small displays of affection are normal and accepted.

“First of all, I think it’s important for me to say that in my opinion quick kisses and holding hands is totally fine, and while they are still public displays of affection, those are not things that make me turn my head and cringe,” Thompson said. “I think it’s normal and healthy to want to show small amounts of affection in public and let people know you are happy or proud to be with that person.”

On the other hand, Livermore considers gross PDA to be full blown making out, groping in public and/or excessive amounts of affection.

“My best advice for PDA is that if you wouldn’t want your grandparents to see you do it, don’t do it on display for the rest of the world to see,” Livermore said. “Not only that, do you really want to end up being that couple who goes viral on the internet for being nasty in public? I think not.”