It used to be that a person could relax in the comfort of his or her own home and not have to be subjected to the dreaded PDA (public display of affection). Generally, the PDA is only enjoyable to those engaged in the act – whatever it may be – and, of course, your average pervy observer, lurking in the shadows. But to the average guy or gal that happens to be in the vicinity, an open PDA results not in any sort of gratification, sexual or otherwise, but in awkwardness, discomfort, boredom and the occasional eyeroll. All this unpleasantness could usually be avoided if the non-PDAer wasn’t in the P part of the equation. Thanks to the wonders of social media, the PDA is now pretty much unavoidable.
If you have a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or whatever else is out there account, chances are that you, like me, have been subjected to the brave new PDA. It’s a public display of affection no longer solely relegated to physical public spaces, but to online areas as well. You’ve got that friend, or multiple incarnations of that friend — you know the one. He’s the guy who’s created his own hashtag for his new special ladyfriend on Instagram. She’s the one who seems to have a macro on her Mac for “my amazing husband” when she types out his name in Facebook statuses. They’re the ones who are constantly checking into places together on 4square as if they’re conjoined twins, joined at the frontal lobe for life. These are couples, usually newly minted, who, for whatever reason, have decided to put their newly found, often contrived infatuation on display for all web-enabled folk to see.
There are multiple layers of awkward that come with the brave new PDA. In the early stages, you, the viewer, are usually left wondering “hey, is there something going on between so and so?” since girl A and boy B are all up in each other’s social media business. Sometimes these couples help you out with an informative relationship status update on Facebook, or with the aforementioned totally uncute new hashtag on Instagram. The next, and usually longest period of awkward is having to witness the continued declarations of love and attachment on every platform known to man, under the guise of romance. Now, while I may have my feet firmly entrenched in camp Single, I can admit to enjoying a bit of romanticism from time to time. A sweet gesture, a thoughtful gift, real quality time spent with the person you care about; to me, that’s what romance is about. But constant declarations of love prefaced by pound signs, sappy pictures of clearly posed “selfie” kisses, or repeated statements of “my beautiful wife” or “my amazing husband” put on display for all your online friends and family to see represent an artifice that, to me, cheapens true love and romance. While the intentions of these brave new PDAers may be entirely pure or at the very least blinded by their affections, to the outside observer (read, ME), it just seems fake, try hard, weird, or any number of other very non-romantic adjectives. Which makes things even MORE awkward when you get to the (usual) final stage of these situations: the slow fade. Slowly but surely, the tags stop, the photos dwindle, and the cutesy statuses turn cryptically bitter, angry and decidedly single. When you put your relationship on display online, your breakup is just as awkward and torturous to you as your previous online PDAs were to the rest of us. And what’s the lesson here boys and girls? Try to keep the brave new PDAs to a minimum — if not for my sake, then for your ego’s own.
Am I being too deep, expecting “more” from people in love? Or too shallow, perhaps, for not seeing the true romance in these social media PDAs? Honestly, I don’t give a rat’s ass. Just keep your cheesy hashtagging, fake kiss selfies and uncreative complimentary phrasing to yourself if you want me to be able to look at you, your significant other and your Instagram, Facebook or twitter profiles again without visibly gagging.
What do you think about the brave new PDA? Tweet your thoughts to @weraddicted!