When trying to determine the guidelines for what is and is not an acceptable form of PDA (public display of affection), always remember that the issue does not hinge on the act itself, but rather the location and context of the act.
For example, even the most cynical among us have to be inspired and enchanted by the sight of an elderly couple walking hand in hand down the street. And then our hearts are all the more warmed when the old gentleman leans in and steals a kiss from his wife of many years. This is a public display of affection and it’s not only acceptable, but damn delightful. I think society desperately needs more married couples to display their love for one another in public (within reason).
Now for comparison let’s consider an egregious and inappropriate PDA event. Take the couple I just saw at Walgreens as an example. They’re both teenagers, probably 16 or 17, he’s possessively clinging onto her like a human barnacle, she’s kissing his neck, and I have to squeeze past them to get to the deodorant aisle. Keep in mind, we’re in a convenience store in the middle of the day, we’re not watching the freaking sun set over the ocean. And it’s just my luck that I end up in line with these lustful lovers. Seriously, the guy in front of us is paying for his Metamucil, meanwhile these two appear to be posing for the cover of a Nicholas Sparks novel. I can practically smell the hormones and the desperation. This is not acceptable, mainly because it’s not a public display of affection — it’s a public display of obsession. There’s a difference, but it isn’t one you recognize when you’re in high school. Every time I see this kind of thing between teenagers, I sort of want to tap Romeo and Juliet on the shoulder and inform them that they should cool it because they will almost certainly hate each other within the next two to three weeks anyway. That’s just the way these “relationships” go at that age. Is it wrong to tell strangers that their romance is an emotionally self destructive fraud? I don’t think so. Perhaps unorthodox, but not wrong. That’s the sad thing about teenage couples. Everyone around them knows they’ll probably be broken up by tonight, yet they’ll continue to hinge their hopes, dreams, and happiness on one another until that inevitable implosion.
Anyway, that’s their problem I suppose. Just don’t put it in my line of sight, kids.