It’s up to you to prevent PDA


Back in the day we shunned PDA.
No, not personal digital assistant – that’s so 21st century.
PDA was Public Display of Affection, i.e. kissing, heated hugging, and anything even approaching the use of a term such as “smoochie wooch-kins” in public.
Forget about it. PDA was simply not done.
Even in those wild and crazy ’80s – when we were too choked up on clouds of Aqua Net hairspray to think straight – not leaving at least a few inches of airspace between you and your partner at a school dance was cause for the dreaded “tsk tsk” of PDA to come your way.
Teachers were trained in spotting PDA and stomping it out.
Hand holding, hip-to-hip contact, and any kissing more “involved” than how you would kiss your grandmother were all clear-cut cases of PDA.
In polite circles and peer groups alike, PDA was a no-go.
No more. Now I fear that PDA has “arrived.” Gone mainstream even.
PDA is going to get a handhold (liplock?) on us and I have Tom Cruise to thank for it.
Anyone watching the Oprah show in the last few weeks, or any movie premiere, or any news show, for that matter, has seen the ad nauseam display of affection between him and his new fiancee-turned-hostage, Katie Holmes.
There has been jumping up and down on couches, repeated cries of “I LOVE this WOMAN!” and lots of soul kissing in public.
I won’t go into details in a family newspaper, but as we said in the addled ’80s – it’s way gross.
Unseemly. Remember when Tom Cruise was cool?
Remember Risky Business?
Back in those days, he went off and MARRIED that Mimi Rogers person with nary a hint he even knew her – let alone liked her enough to get hitched and plunge the entire ninth grade girl population into mourning.
That level of disinterest in an a romantic partner seems positively quaint now.
It almost makes me pine for the days when it took paparazzi with a long-lens to “capture” proof of a celebrity romance.
Now, I fear Tom and Kate will show up on my front porch in a compromising position. And my porch is just about the only place they haven’t appeared lately.
Who knew we’d miss the days when celebrities dodged around with coats slung over their heads and kept the media at bay?
I don’t know what’s more disturbing about TomKat’s public displays of affection: the frenzied groping, the near-hysterical push to merge into one, or Kate’s obvious wide-eyed fear at being yanked across the Oprah stage like a trained dog.
Recent behavior in a variety of public venues lends whole new meaning to the term “get a room” – or a hose.
Risk. I do know that now there is a whole new risk of PDA potential in seemingly innocent encounters.
We once thought that passing adolescence left us free of PDA bonds. Now we know that PDA can strike at any age, occupation, or income level.
Even a little innocent hand holding has TomKat potential. After all, it’s the tip of a slippery slope that could lead to prolonged hugs with your significant other (heretofore known as sweet honey bugga bear boo-kins, or something equally elegant), walking hip-to-hip with your hands crammed in each other’s pockets (something that only seems cool to 12-year-olds), cooing each other’s nicknames in public, or leaping off a sofa with a brisk arm pump to confirm your love.
All I’ve got to say is that when it comes to my own relationship: I love ya’ honey, but you know my rule: Absolutely, positively, no jumping on the couch.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt calls her spouse “baby.” She welcomes comment c/o, P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460, or


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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.