On PDA and CDA

Cisco got home yesterday after a four-day business trip to Houston. He is a Very Important Person. He also told me that he should go out of town more often, because of the welcome he gets when he comes back. Me-ow. Must try to be more distant and withholding next time. That’ll learn him.

When Cisco and I were dating (in college) we were very Chill. It was our thing. We weren’t one of those couples a-rubbin’ and a-leanin’ all the time. Actually, to this day Cisco really dislikes hand-holding… I don’t know why? Anyway, we both thought all that PDA was juvenile and embarrassing. Either you stop doing it once you’re married, and everyone can tell that you don’t like each other any more, or you keep doing it, which is worse.

Well, that’s not totally it. I think mostly we were genuinely uncomfortable around most college couples. They just seemed to take PDA too far. They couldn’t socialize without sitting next to each other, they couldn’t sit next to each other without… entwining – his arm around her shoulder, her hand on his leg. Her other hand holding his hand around her shoulder. I mean, where are you supposed to look when you talk to those couples? I felt like a voyeuristic pervert just for trying to socialize at a party.

(I suppose the problem is worse among those who aren’t doing these things in the bedroom. We were, after all, a bunch of nice Catholic kids. So kudos to them for that.)

Nevertheless, this was, for us, a PROBLEM. Neither of us wanted to make anyone that uncomfortable. And besides, both of us strongly believed that physical affection is important in a relationship, but not meant to be broadcast to the world. Bedroom eyes in public make people feel WEIRD. So we declined. Around others, we maintained an Austen-like decorum. (Between the two of us, we were plenty affectionate. Let’s just say it’s a good thing our courtship wasn’t longer – we hung on, but we couldn’t have forever.) After we were engaged, one of my roommates kindly took me aside and told me that she was worried about us – did we even like each other? I laughed it off at the time, but now I see her point. Because Austen-like decorum, while lovely, is strange in this day and age. We all want a Mr. Knightly, but we want him to be nuts about us. And confident enough to show the world.

Cisco and I did our best, but we reacted too strongly. Instead of throwing our hands up in disgust at most couples, we should have modeled an appropriate and tender affection for each other. While I think it’s annoying when couples never leave each others’ sides, it’s absolutely lovely when they occasionally check in. I’m tickled when Cisco comes to find me at a party. When he sits next to me in a room full of open seats. When he compliments me in public.

I don’t have a handy way to wrap this all up. It’s just something I’ve thought about over the years. It’s something we’ve had to deal with, realizing that at times we are too hands-off in public. I hope that what we’re going for now is something more in the middle – I don’t want to make any one uncomfortable, but I also want to be comfortable showing that I do, in fact, love my husband . You’d think this would all come more naturally, wouldn’t you?

Snert has been honking in my ear for twenty minutes. We’ll meet again. Oh, and if you’re wondering, CDA stands for Constipated Displays of Affection. It’s a totally real term I just made up.

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