There is a trend so pernicious that it’s made the Styles section of the New York Times, which means that it’s been happening for a while and in places other than New York: now that summer’s here and many people are vaccinated, PDA has returned with a vengeance. In short: everyone who can is so happy to touch other people and they’re doing it in public.
Perhaps the return of PDA is due, as the Times notes, to Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez’s unabashed displays of public affection, Frenching for the click of the paparazzi’s camera, but also, maybe for themselves. Or maybe it’s just that everyone is really so happy to feel some semblance of freedom, absent any fear of infection, that they’re taking their love to the streets, to the corner store, to the park, and wherever else they can find, touching tongues and grinding up on it in celebration. Melissa Delarosa, the general manager of Brass Monkey, a bar in the Meatpacking District in New York told the Times that what she’s noticed in this new summer of horny is that people are making choices that feel sort of indiscriminate. That is to say, our standards are lower after a year and a half spent in captivity, and the lusty return to normal predicted by advertisers in the spring is here.
“You have to live your life now,” she told the Times. “People are full-on swallowing each other’s faces on Friday and Saturday nights.” It’s an arresting visual image that calls to mind the heady atmosphere of a college Halloween party or something involving keg stands. Everyone is ready to mingle, and they aren’t afraid of showing it. But a word of caution: just because you can try to get to a soft third base in public doesn’t mean you should.
This is less about prudishness and more about privacy; making out is really fun when the moment strikes, and it’s also a pretty surefire prelude to fucking, depending on consent, willingness, and the right amount of joie de vivre. The danger with making out so voraciously and vociferously in public is not that you’re being gross (you might be) or that you should be ashamed of showing the strangers in Duane Reade at 12:30 a.m. just how skilled you are at tongue kissing, but that the risk is that you will want to get to the main event quickly and will find yourself in a position where it is time for sex but the only place to do the sex is in public. I admire the bravery of those who attempt public intercourse and can do so without getting caught, though I know personally I am too nervous and also, no thank you.
However, sex with a near-stranger is a delicious treat, like a Fudgsicle straight out of the fridge on a nasty summer’s day, and everyone deserves to do it. Making out in public is but one stop on that journey, but it might be okay to do that shit inside your house, their house, or the Lyft you called in a horny-induced panic. (Tip well if this is the path you choose.) It is not my desire to yuck anyone’s yum with regards to revisiting the thrill of their high-school days, but maybe if you are trying to bump genitals with the person you met at the bar after five tequila shots and one Bud Heavy, channel that queasy excitement of the over-eager kiss, teeth clacking against each other like teenagers, and shovel yourselves into a car so you can do all the fun things in private, where they belong.