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Where do you stand on PDA?  The question was asked in the news yesterday when Arnaud Lagardere, a leading French businessman, decided to inform the whole world of his relationship with a (very, very tall & pneumatic) model with cheesy, borderline pictures (have a look at the video here –no need to understand what they say anyway, just look…).

What on earth did they want to achieve? Apparently, various articles mention the fact that this is an “old, robust” relationship (5 of 6 months – would you believe it?)…Yeah, right.  Maybe it is some sort of mid-life crisis (he turned 50 in March). Poor guy. Maybe he wants to prove a point (he loves brunettes? He is not gay? He can have a relationship that lasts more than 2 weeks?). Anyway, to cut a long story short, I don’t understand what went into him. After all, he is supposed to be a businessman, not a reality TV star.
That said, I have a theory (actually, I have many theories, but that’s just one of them): if a couple needs public displays of affection it is often because their relationship is not strong enough. They must suffer from some confidence issues and need to be seen in public to feel stronger. After all, it is a (sometimes mild) form of exhibitionism, don’t you think?
I don’t like it when people are all cuddly with each other on the Tube or in the street, oblivious to the fact that other people are trying to go to work, and feeling immensely proud because others are shocked. Maybe I am just a bit old-fashioned.
For some reason, I see more PDAs in London than in Paris. Who said the British were stuck up? I remember this guy – a bit chubby, pale skin and home-made haircut with geeky glasses. I felt like I was a witness to his love life for a few months. He must be working in a building next to mine. He was walking, from time to time, with what looked like a female colleague of his (a petite brunette with long hair). At first, they were just friends. They I saw them holding hands and, based on the large smile he had, he was very happy. She seemed more reserved. Then, I saw them kissing passionately on the street. I could even see his tongue. As I was on my way to my morning coffee my sense of humor hadn’t woken up yet and I stood there, staring at them for a couple of seconds to show my discontent. They found it hilarious.
A couple of weeks later, he was on his own again. I felt like telling him “I am sorry it didn’t work out.”, but I decided against it. After all, I must be becoming British.

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London
  • You are such a voyeur!!

  • I don’t mind hand holding, a little kiss here or there. Showing affection for the one you love can be very nice, but my sister and her husband take it too far. My sister is the queen of PDA’s and she and her husband are constantly pawing at one another anywhere and everywhere. When my father was ill, they made out in the hospital room. When she is home visiting, they make out on my parents sofa. While we are having dinner, she will turn to him and say, “Hi honey” and he will reply, “Hey baby” It’s bizarre and kind of disturbing. I should probably add that she is 55 years old and he is 61 and they have been together about 7 years. I don’t know what to think about it other than they should get a damn room!

  • I have a very low threshold for PDAs as well…both as audience and participant. I can tolerate ‘decent’ PDA’s (e.g. holding hands, arms around waist, brief kisses, etc) but definitely not heavy kissing and other things that would be more appropriate in a private room. I would have to disagree though that PDAs are necessarily linked to confidence issues. I’m sure different people do it for different reasons and confidence MAY be one of them. I’m a romantic though so a little PDA will always be welcome, although I would much rather prefer to be a recipient, lol. I think I’m too uptight to initiate.

  • Hi Muriel –

    Well I don’t know really. Who cares if some couples are “raping” each other in public? Isn’t is like changing the TV channel? If people don’t like what they see, why sit there and watch it? Just move on I guess. I’m not saying that is is right to do but I am also not saying it is wrong either.

  • Okay. I watched that video and can I just say – that is money talking cuz that pip-squeak of a dude would not get her otherwise. I think it becomes uncomfortable at the point where the couple just shouldn’t be out in public, where they are just kissing, then holding and kissing, then kissing…like three times or more? Then you just want to say,”Take it elsewhere.”

  • I don’t think it’s that difficult to distinguish between PDAs and PDSs or PDMs – Public Displays of Sex or Mating. The former are acceptable and the latter are inappropriate, even illegal in the extreme – at least in the US.

    There is a reason we have the expression “Get a room!”

  • I don’t mind minor displays of public affection but full on in your face is not acceptable in my opinion. As my daughters would say “Get a room!!!”

  • Stopping by from the SheWrites Blogger’s Ball!

    When I first moved to London, I was absolutely confounded by the amount of PDA, but then I realized it’s a cultural difference: people here aren’t conditioned to feel “embarrassed” about sexual expression the way they are in the US.

    That said, I have wasted a lot of time pontificating on the excess of PDA on train platforms and tube waiting areas.

    In the end, I’ve decided to live and let live. If it doesn’t work out? So what. At least that couple got a few moments of love and happiness out of it.

  • Hey Muriel,

    You are right..I don’t ‘understand” the video – pun intended!
    As for PDA, a little bit is okay..but if I have to explain it to kids on why the guy is licking the girls lips and mouth…then I might have a problem. Holding hands and all is okay, but then don’t push your mushiness into other people’s faces.

  • I guess I dont mind a little bit of PDA, a hug or a hand hold or quick kiss. I certainly dont enjoy seeing people giving PDAs that would be much more appropriate in a private setting.
    I find great contentment watching a couple in the later years of life 80s say walking along holding hands – the enduring power of love but then I am a die hard romantic.

  • Muriel, thanks for linking to the video. It’s hilarious! For me there are a couple of issues. In the case of Lagardere, he is a public figure, yet the photo shoot is so unnecessary except to tell the world how “lucky” he is and for her to further her career. In their case, they are going above and beyond to perform before an audience.

    Behaving that way off camera? I have no problem with it. I’m sure there probably is a point where good taste veers off into exhibitionism, but generally, on the street, in parks, in the grocery store, holding hands, pecking, hugging, it’s just people communicating and expressing their feelings. If they are comfortable with it, what other people think is irrelevant.

  • I think I’d agree with Charlie. If I am uncomfortable with something, I turn away. Now I do live in San Francisco and see a lot more than someone would see on a street in the middle of nowhere, so my tolerance might be high… I am my personal in my affections but that is me.. I’ve been here before, but I am stopping by from the Meg’s blogger ball.

  • I have to say, like most I am not that fond of PDA and usually move away from it. Nothing is worse than two people sitting right beside you going at it!
    With that said when I transform into StreetogrOFFY and have my camera with me I just can’t help myself and am drawn to it to photograph. Two people sharing a passionate moment makes for one strong photo..

    I wonder why we like when we see it after the fact in a photo that was taken but not when we are around it? Are just all voyeurs?

  • Love your witty, humourous take on PDA’s. I agree that it can be embarrassing to watch people making out in public. Shows of affection, OK, but draw the line somewhere. However, I’m not young anymore, and we used to be more proper about PDAs. Or maybe I’ve forgotten about spontaneous shows of affection.

    About London, I remember in the early 80s, I went to an Andrew Wyeth exhibition. A couple, a man in his 50s and a girl in her 20s who looked as if they had just got out of bed, stood right in front of his most famous painting, and kissed for the longest time until someone said, “Excuse me.” I was both amused and annoyed at this blatant display. Whoever said that the Brits were reserved in public was wildly off-track.

  • I think it’s OK to yell, “Get a room!” When you see these inappropriate PDAs!