Train Track Tryst

PDA, sweet or mildly inappropriate? Sure, it’s common to see couple arm in arm or hand in hand in public or even hugs and kisses; but is it a matter or too much in public or are we “others” just jealous we don’t have what those couples do? This week’s post by staff writer Rachel Brownjohn is Rachel’s story about witnessing one couple’s PDA.

There was a couple sitting in front of me on the train today. They were sweet; one of those couples that look a sort of alike, the kind of couple you see and you imagine they’d seen each other and immediately knew. Matching loafers, hair the same shade of ashen brown, lanky limbs, and a pair of noses dotted with freckles, it was as if they were coordinated to match one another. Fate by fashion. They looked newly in love, exchanging secrets and lingering kisses, shoulders pressed together, still finding how they fit.
And all I could do was wrinkle my nose at them. Because I’m a PDA snob.
I don’t even know how I’ve developed this snobbery, because in my own relationships I’m on board with a little PDA. Hand holding? Good! Sweet forehead kisses good-bye? Great! Coy glances and batting of the eyes? All day. But here I was sitting behind this pair of cuties, rolling my eyes, and trying to find a place ahead of me to look that didn’t include their love story.
Maybe it was because I was riding the train alone, I didn’t have anyone to snuggle against, or laugh with on the commute. Maybe it’s as simple as jealousy. Maybe it was because I didn’t bring my kindle, so I didn’t have a book to make the trip fly by, reducing me to people watching, and I was less than entertained. Or maybe it’s just because PDA can be kind of gross.
My fears of being the lone nose-wrinkler on earth were assuaged today when I logged into Facebook and saw a friend’s status, begging others to keep their affection to themselves, and leave him out of it. He’d been riding the train this morning too.
The excuse theory I’m giving myself for being such a snot, is that when we get trapped watching couples fall in love with each other, we can’t help but feel we are invading! Like we’ve accidentally stumbled into a room we shouldn’t have, picked up the phone a caught snippets of a conversation we weren’t meant to be a part of, we’ve inexplicably become a part of someone else’s happily ever after. And it’s uncomfortable! Especially on the train, already forced into temporary relationships with strangers, we’re bound together through a common destination, a forced intimacy. Unintended contact abounds, we’re huddled together, sharing sneezes and sniffles, arms and knees colliding as the train shifts, our lives, for this commute, undeniably linked. And when there is a new love being forged it takes this intimacy a step beyond. We’ve become wrapped up in someone else’s narrative and have been forced to be an unwilling audience, tuning in to someone else’s romantic comedy.
So as I hurriedly alighted the train at my stop, I made myself a solemn promise, no more PDA. Nothing awkward, at least. A casual handhold is fine, but I won’t hold anyone else captive in my romance.
And to always remember a book.

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