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MARKETPLACE:  Auto | Jobs | Personals | Yellow Pages  March 9, 2004
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Is PDA okay?
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Linda Rains, Match.com

What�s the secret to good PDA? We�ve all seen them. Those couples so close and personal that they�re completely oblivious to the world outside. You know the ones I�m talking about: They�re kissing on sidewalk benches or huddled in dark restaurants and bars. Sometimes they�re downright horizontal in the park.

Public displays of affection (PDA) aren�t always appropriate, nor are they for everyone. While some people find it sweet and endearing, others sneer in disapproval.

PDA gone bad.
I once dated a man who revealed his distaste for PDA before our first in-person meeting. Even handholding, he said, was out of the question. Changing his mind immediately became my personal challenge.

Oh, I remember it perfectly. From the moment we met, I couldn�t resist. Spontaneous shoulder massages, unexpected hugs, the occasional tickle � these were the tools I employed. While I had a blast, he was horrified. As a result, we did not achieve good PDA. And, perhaps needless to say, our first date was the last.

A couple of years earlier, I spent over a year with a guy who had a fond appreciation for PDA. I, however, was the one who held back. And by the time he left, he was able to list every public display of affection � all three of them. Unfortunately, I was unaware (or unconcerned) that he needed more. And so he said goodbye.

What inspires good PDA?
What was missing in each of these scenarios? Balance and a respect for boundaries. Simply follow my three basic guidelines, and you too can acquire the ingredients necessary for good PDA.

  • Establish mutual agreement. Typically, if you both share a fondness for PDA this connection will come naturally � and it�s best when it happens without words. How do you find this delicate balance? You grab his leg, he doesn�t jump away. He rubs your neck, you grab his leg. He grabs your hand, you don�t spend the next five minutes trying to get it back (unless you�re trying to grab his leg). You get the drift.
  • Know the boundaries. There�s a fine line between earning the envious eyes of observers and overhearing whispered suggestions to �get a room.� Don�t maul each other and avoid �making out� or �necking� in public. Beyond this guideline, you�re on your own. Feel free to experiment until you discover your own personal boundaries.
  • Location, location, location. There is a time and a place for PDA. These places do not include church, family dinners (the folks will get angry no matter your age), movie theaters (don�t compete with the show on the screen) and work gatherings (both inside and outside office walls).
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