There is nothing more conflicting for me as a single person than watching couples perform Public Displays of Affection right in front of my eyeballs. On the one–nicer–hand, how great for them! I’m all for PDA, and I plan to gross out as many people as possible when I start dating someone who feels similarly comfortable. I think there’s something very sweet about people showing their love for their partner in public. BUT. On the other–much meaner–hand, I don’t think anyone should be allowed to show PDA until I am also engaged in similar activities.
With one exception: Old people. Couples above 60, hold hands all the time! Kiss each other! Rub each other’s backs and smile close into their face! I love it. It’s 100% adorable and it gives me hope that long-lasting love is possible.
At church on Sunday, I happily sat three pews behind an old couple that held hands throughout the hymn singing. And THEN. A young couple, newly married, sat right in front of me, and the wife laid her head on her husband’s shoulder the entire service. It was disgusting.
Unfortunately, my internal pity party was interrupted by a good idea. I realized that, confronted with the fact that other people in the world are happily in love, I can have one of two reactions: I can be jealous, grow bitter, and develop permanent frown lines. Or I can choose to be happy for them, celebrate the fact that they are finding joy in each other, and look forward with hope to the day when I will be in a similar situation.
I want to emphasize the word choose. It is not even slightly natural for me to be happy for someone enjoying something I want. Coveting is way easier. But it became very obvious to me that the path of coveting will only lead to my heart growing smaller, uglier, and harder. If I can choose to be happy for others, then my heart will grow bigger and become softer (which is the scary, vulnerable part). I don’t expect to always cheer on PDA couples. There are probably a lot more pity parties in my future. But hopefully, slowly, I can risk being the bigger person and celebrating couples showing affection in public, whether they are 70 or, sigh, 20.