Students mouth off against PDA at school

Tae Yun (Erica) Kang, Staff Writer

Public displays of affections aren’t just reserved for Valentine’s Day, but for freshman Luke Madrigal, it’s seemingly every day, and everywhere.

As someone whose only action of PDA is hugging his friends, Madrigal finds it uncomfortable to see couples openly kissing each other, around every corner he turns.

 “I think the limit to PDA should be no more than hugging or holding hands,” Madrigal said.

Many others can agree with Madrigal when it comes to being a little more sensitive to their surroundings and choosing where to show specific levels of affection.

Even though one’s eyes turning away at yet another smooching couple, it may not be as prevalent as you think. In a 2017 University of Kansas study, only 37% of men and 34% of women claim to have made out in public, defined in the study as “kissing on the mouth, with or without the use of tongues” and “fondling the buttocks.” And their reasons for doing so were narcissistic: “to enhance their image or status by showing that they can make out with another person.”

A Bear Witness online poll of 199 respondents showed that a sizable majority, 58%, are okay with the occasional PDA.

Such sentiments make senior Deshna Quincy a bit squeamish, preferring that this behavior is preferable in private.

“I think it’s totally fine if people are just giving each other pecks on the cheek and stuff, acting mostly like friends in public,” she said. “They can do whatever they want when they’re by themselves, but if they’re getting super handsy, or you can see their tongues in each other’s mouths, then maybe that’s not the move.”

Even those in relationships have set limits for their behavior in public. Junior Maddie O’Kennon is in a relationship, and likes to keep it PG at school with hugs and kisses.

 “I think if I’m controlling it, like having limits on it, I think it’s fine,” said junior Maddie O’Kennon

Branham’s PDA rule also seems fitting with what many of the students have to say about the topic. On page 20 of Branham’s student handbook states that “Mature individuals do not display their affection for one another inappropriately in public. ‘Making out’ and other inappropriate intimate behavior is not tolerated on campus” and may result in a referral. 

Regardless of the rules, enforcement is rare. If couples aren’t punished for their behavior, at least Madrigal hopes that they should at least think of others who might not be in a relationship.

“I just think we shouldn’t do things in public that makes other people around them uncomfortable or make them feel like they don’t fit in or get pressured to get into a relationship,” he said.