Northampton Press

Friday, April 3, 2020

Respectfully Yours: Those PDAs

Saturday, June 29, 2019 by JACQUELYN YOUST Special to The Press in Focus

Dear Jacquelyn,

I stopped at a local convenience store to pick up lunch and was minding my own business. While I was waiting for my order, there was a couple across from me engaged in hugging and kissing that made me uncomfortable. Don’t people understand that public displays of affection make the people around them uncomfortable?

Dear Reader,

Public displays of affection come in a variety of forms.

Some displays of affection are accepted everywhere. Hugging and a quick kiss are not usually offensive and typically acceptable.

Depending on the situation, things can become a bit awkward when lines are crossed. There are individuals who push the limits and take things to the place of being inappropriate.

These lines are typically governed by the situation in which a couple find themselves. The number one rule of thumb determining what is or isn’t acceptable is to ask yourself if your grandmother would approve.

When things go beyond walking arm-in-arm or exchanging warm smiles, there’s a good chance you’re heading toward risqué behavior and will be noticed.

It’s unfortunate that some ignore the simple fact that there are likely to be people of all ages and sensitivities around. When we are sharing public space with any number of people, if we disrupt the atmosphere with improper public displays of affection, we run the risk of crossing unwritten rules of etiquette.

Private and special moments are not for the world to see. The best reaction you can give is to look away and don’t pay too much attention to it.

Public displays of affection should be limited to gestures that wouldn’t make you feel the need to turn away.

Respectfully Yours,


Have a question? Email: Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol. She is on the board of directors of the National Civility Foundation.

All Rights Reserved © 2019 Jacquelyn Youst