Have you ever taken a trip to the grocery store and witnessed a couple having a hissed fight on the cereal aisle? Have you ever sat next to a couple at the movies who can’t stop smooching long enough to eat their Junior Mints? What about sitting one table at Outback Steakhouse from the couple loudly detailing their upcoming vacation with so much step-by-step precision that you feel entitled to chime in with hotel recommendations? What is and isn’t acceptable in public differs for each couple, but sometimes, the two people involved have different thresholds. Unfortunately, this couple belongs in that category.
She Said: This is tricky for me to weigh in on because I don’t exactly condone certain behaviors in public, I’m just not always aware when I’m participating. Truth be told, my voice naturally carries, so while I don’t mean to let strangers in on the private conversations Pete and I are having, they sometimes get a front row seat. I’m not very shy and I am definitely the type of person who can’t just wait to have an important conversation when the setting is more intimate, so sometimes I get caught up in whatever I’m arguing, asserting, delighting in or declaring. As far as PDA goes, I’m 29, so I don’t feel inclined to make-out in public, but hand-holding, arm around the shoulder action, and pecks on the cheek are fine by me. My stance on the in-public debate can be summed up rather simply. I don’t always plan to have intense discussions with my spouse in public, but as long as I’m not horrifying the passersby, I’m all right with a small audience of strangers.
He Said: I’m not a fan of public relationship performances. I can’t stand when couples are fighting or laughing hysterically in public to the point of distraction. At brunch last Sunday, I heard a hung-over couple loudly rehashing their night. Their voices carried so clearly that I actually had a hard time following the conversation at my own table. On a side-note, what they were rehashing didn’t cast them in a particularly flattering light either. While it doesn’t necessarily bug me, I can’t get over how Courtney will wish me loudly goodbye some mornings in that hall of our busy apartment. She’ll say something like, “I love you sweetie! Don’t stress about what we were talking about earlier, everything’s going to be fine!” I wonder what our neighbors hypothesize when they hear something like that, clear as day. As far as public displays of affection go, an arm around the shoulder and hand-holding is fine by me, but I suggest saving any lip to lip contact for a closed door occasion.
If you and your other half are constantly clashing over your public outings, have a discussion about what you’re each comfortable with. If your husband is a private person, don’t sit on his lap at a restaurant and ask the waiter which of your pre-selected baby names he prefers. If you are with someone who’s more comfortable with affection out in the open, don’t shake their hand off in disgust when they take yours on a stroll. If each person gives a little, your forays into the public domain will be stress free.