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Too much PDA
July 20, 2006 8:29 PM   Subscribe

My friends got together last year and are full-on with the pda. (more inside)

I have a pair of wonderful friends who are so in love with each other that they don't see how uncomfortable it makes other people (especially me). They kiss in front of me while I am telling a story (to the point that I can't get through it because they are too busy kissing each other's eyeballs and being cutesy). I had dinner with them last week and she was fully lying in his arms, like they were in bed together. The worst part is that they seem totally unable to focus on me or any topic of interest. He'll stop me while talking and say " Isn't Shmoopsie the most beautiful, intelligent woman in the world"? Worse, he makes comments about my sexual proclivities for some reason, i think to show her that I'm the tramp while she is the perfect, virginal princess.

We're in our mid-late twenties and I don't understand this behavior. I think other friends have told them their behavior is "so cute" and so they think everyone is amused. I am clearly not, and have gone so far as to say "You know, I'll wait" when they were kissing while I was talking.

I've mentioned that i was uncomfortable with the pda and she said they would tone it down, but nothing so far.

Should I mention it again? Tell him? I am friends with them both, and thought they valued my friendship. Especially him, why would he make comments like this about my sex life? Am I crazy and are they just really cute and in love?

I have no sexual history with either of them (I am a woman) and he knows little about my sex life, not that it is his business.
posted by sweetkid to Human Relations (42 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
NO, you are not crazy. Jesus, what a pack of assholes. This is why friends shouldn't dip their nib in their own social circle--it's profoundly irritating to everyone else.

The PDA itself isn't a huge issue, but your male friend's calling you out on sexual escapades that are none of his business is inexcusable. Also, if they're both your friends, why isn't at least one of them coming to your defense? (Oh wait, they're in lurve.)

Gross. I'd tell them one more time, clearly and explicitly, to knock it the hell off. Otherwise, I'd find new friends.
posted by timetoevolve at 8:40 PM on July 20, 2006


You should probably ask yourself why you are friends with people who clearly show no respect whatsoever for either your feelings or your privacy. If their behavior bothers you, and you tell them, and they continue anyhow...you stop putting yourself in situations where you'll be exposed to their behaviour. If they ask you why you no longer go places with them or what-have-you, you explain that their behaviour made you uncomfortable and they refused to do anything about it, so you did.
Life is too short to suffer through dealing with inconsiderate people.
posted by nightchrome at 8:41 PM on July 20, 2006


Just you wait. A couple years down the road, after they break up they'll be fighting over which one you belong to. "You can't invite sweetkid to your office christmas party, she's MY friend, and she'll be coming out to karaoke with me!"
In the meantime, next time he brings up your proclivities, ask him why he cares, is shmoopsie not doing it alll for him?
Or just shun them as they so richly deserve.
posted by Sara Anne at 8:50 PM on July 20, 2006


Should I mention it again? Tell him? I am friends with them both, and thought they valued my friendship. Especially him, why would he make comments like this about my sex life? Am I crazy and are they just really cute and in love?

The inappropriate comments about your sex life are uncool.

Having said that, I think you're overreacting on the cutesy PDA thing. It has absolutely nothing to do with you. They're not doing it to upset you, they doing it because it amuses themselves. I look at it like eating meat in front of a vegetarian kind of thing. I might abstain from eating certain things around vegetarians if I liked them and they asked me not to, but I wouldn't abstain entirely. When I eat a big ole steak in front of someone, it's not because I don't value their friendship, or that I don't care about making them uncomfortable. It's that I want to eat a steak right then, and in my mind that has nothing to do with anyone else.

Maybe they just want to be all cutesy and it has nothing to do with you. If it really irks you that they aren't valuing your opinion about appropriate displays of affection above their own opinions, then stop hanging around them so much.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:02 PM on July 20, 2006


And perhaps in their mind they *ARE* keeping things toned down. When I read your title, I really expecting to hear tales of hands going underneath clothing and dry humping.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:04 PM on July 20, 2006


They'll probably get over it, or else, break up. Couples that I've known to act like this usually don't stop. Even if you take them aside privately and ask. Even if you demand it stop in a near-scream in a crowded room.

They think they're cute, they are in that new "we're so awesome" phase and they think everyone else enjoys it, too. And either they'll get over each other (the usual X month honeymoon period) - or else they're on the path to breaking up and they feel like they need to prove something.

The fact that you are being compared to the girl in the relationship, and that they seem to be doing it a lot around you, and that you are so bothered by it makes me wonder if there isn't some history there?
posted by SassHat at 9:05 PM on July 20, 2006


Oh, sorry. Somehow I missed the bit at the end where you clearly state there is no history there.

Bottom line, you're going to be the bad guy if you try to do anything about it. Trust me, been there. It's annoying as hell.
posted by SassHat at 9:08 PM on July 20, 2006




And perhaps in their mind they *ARE* keeping things toned down. When I read your title, I really expecting to hear tales of hands going underneath clothing and dry humping.


Well, there has been talk of "I want to take you into my room and take that dress right off you."

And no, no history is what I said. But it's been implied that Shmoops is this kind of girl, and I am that kind of girl...it's not right.

I know that they prob. won't stop, but I do think that people acting like they'd rather be in bed the whole time they're with you is inappropriate.
posted by sweetkid at 9:09 PM on July 20, 2006


Arrange a meetup for all your friends except them. If they ask you about it say, "Well i would've invited you guys but you're always BUSY."
posted by Sara Anne at 9:13 PM on July 20, 2006


"Guys, you're making me really uncomfortable. I'm leaving. If you ever want to actually hang out with me that's fine, but it's clear you'd rather be making out."

Then leave.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 9:16 PM on July 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


Don't hang out with them as a couple. See them one at a time if you value them so much, or just drop them altogether until they get their act together.
As for the inappropriate comments on your sex life, just straight up tell him to shut up and mind his own business. Nothing shuts own a conversation like "Shut up, jerk. You have no idea what you are talking about. It is also none of your business" I think comment about your "promiscuity" necessitate blunt and abrupt responses.
posted by oflinkey at 9:16 PM on July 20, 2006


Yes, to hell with those people. They suck.

And this comment is comical:

I look at it like eating meat in front of a vegetarian kind of thing. I might abstain from eating certain things around vegetarians if I liked them and they asked me not to, but I wouldn't abstain entirely. When I eat a big ole steak in front of someone, it's not because I don't value their friendship, or that I don't care about making them uncomfortable. It's that I want to eat a steak right then, and in my mind that has nothing to do with anyone else.

Let me get this straight, 23skidoo --- apparently you are saying that, sometimes people get so horny that it's understandable that they have to abandon their end of the conversation, to slobber all over each other, cooing erotic words, while their interlocutor is left to watch ... and you think that's okay? I don't care how horny a couple might be, there's such a thing as common courtesy among friends. Do you view people as libido-crazed animals who cannot be expected to control their sexual urges?

As much as I sympathize with the questioner's problem, this has the makings of a hilarious SNL skit.
posted by jayder at 10:06 PM on July 20, 2006


Just anticipate which side to take, and which friend you value more, when this lovey dovey bullshit wears off. They sound like a boring write off already, but to each his/her own.
posted by evil holiday magic at 10:35 PM on July 20, 2006


I think you're overreacting a little. Let them have their fun. It'll only be a week or two of annoyance you have to put up with. New love is rare and special, so let them enjoy it while it lasts.

This doesn't mean that you shouldn't start loudly saying, "Get a room!" when ever it annoys you, but for the most part just live and let live. Try to not be so annoyed at things, too.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 10:35 PM on July 20, 2006


I disagree with Mr. Gunn, agree with most everyone else. Love is surely wonderful but there is such a thing as etiquette, and the comments re your sex life are way off base. As timetoevolve said, tell them to knock it the hell off. Jesus.
posted by BorgLove at 10:42 PM on July 20, 2006


Mr. Gunn writes "It'll only be a week or two of annoyance you have to put up with."

It's been going on since last year. It's not a new thing.
posted by fionab at 11:17 PM on July 20, 2006


I recommend scuba div--oh, sorry.

Some thoughts:

1) The behaviors you describe range from unacceptable to harmless. They're not all related, except to the extent that they irritate you.

2) Those two need an audience. Not a great sign for the relationship.

3) If you were his friend first, or she is otherwise threatened by you in some way, he could be trying to mollify her.

4) One of them is needier and instigates this behavior, seeking reassurance. If you say anything, say it to the other one.

5) To their rhetorical "Schmoopsie" questions, I suggest a monotone, staring off into the middle distance: "Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life."
posted by Phred182 at 11:37 PM on July 20, 2006


With the PDA stuff, it's not so much that it's the affection making you uncomfortable, it's just that it's plain rude.

It would be the same if you were telling them a story, and then right in the middle of your sentence they just looked at each other and started having their own conversation. Or like someone picking up a video game in the middle of having a conversation with you. It's interrupting you, and it's ignoring you, and that's just simple bad social manners.

Maybe if you couch it in those terms, there's a slight hope of them understanding why it bothers you, rather than just dismissing you as a stuck-up person who's attacking their relationship.

(The talking about your sexual history thing is just completely anti-social. Take him aside, and tell him in no uncertain terms to stop it. Then stamp on his nuts. And then go "YEAH, I'M DIRRRTY.")
posted by chrismear at 2:19 AM on July 21, 2006


Disagree with everyone. Sounds like you are a frustrated prude who should listen to more 60's music and love your neighbor and stuff.

PDA makes the world go 'round. Don't hate.
posted by ewkpates at 3:31 AM on July 21, 2006


I might abstain from eating certain things around vegetarians if I liked them and they asked me not to, but I wouldn't abstain entirely.

Ah, but would you roll around on the table in a restaurant slathering yourself with bloody rare steak juices while gnawing loudly on the bones from a giant rib roast?
This behaviour is, as was said before, just plain rude. I've run into it with a couple in their 50s, so it's not even necessarily a young thing. Part of basic etiquette is to avoid making the people you're with uncomfortable, and licking each others ears and cooing during a conversation with other people is tacky and ill-bred.
Plus, you have to wonder about any couple that has to prove to the world how in love they are. Protesting too much, and all that.
Making comparative comments about your sexual activities is just plain appalling.
Who are these people? Were they raised by wolves?
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:37 AM on July 21, 2006


See, I thought this was going to be a nice geeky post about Palms and other electronic organizers, and you guys have to drag me into something else entirely.

The PDA is annoying. But what's really bad is that you asked them nicely to stop and they didn't. I've had friends who did this to me, and I wish I had not just put up with the annoyance.

I don't think you should dump them, though, as suggested above -- you call them wonderful friends, at least previously. So I think you should escalate the complaining. Try to mention it calmly and quietly and briefly to each of them alone. If they keep it up at this level in front of you, call them on it -- "You guys are really embarrassing me" -- before scaling back the friendship. I hope they value your friendship too and listen to you.

It doesn't sound like you are a frustrated prude to me -- you are not asking for NO public displays -- just for common courtesy, such as not suddenly turning to each other and kissing while you're talking or interrupting to ask you a question about the other person. That's just annoying. I hope that if I had been like that when I met my husband (we were definitely all lovey-dovey at times), one of our friends would have asked us to knock it off. Sheesh.
posted by theredpen at 5:30 AM on July 21, 2006


PDA? I'm drawing a blank here, but of course I haven't gotten much sleep. Help a guy out.....
Project on Defense Alternatives?
Personal Digital Assistants?
Parenteral Drug Association?
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance?
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance?
Progressive Democrats of America?

or my favorite, Parietal Disgorgement Aid? What are we talking about here?
posted by Pressed Rat at 6:12 AM on July 21, 2006


Public Displays of Affection, Pressed Rat.
posted by nervestaple at 6:18 AM on July 21, 2006


Thank kyew
posted by Pressed Rat at 6:25 AM on July 21, 2006


Public Display of Affection. As far as I can tell.

I think you're overreacting a little. Let them have their fun. It'll only be a week or two of annoyance you have to put up with. New love is rare and special, so let them enjoy it while it lasts.

Yeah, well, the couple I happen to live with have now been together for 3 years and are still like this. This might not be a temporary situation at all.

Eventually I got really sick and tired of their "I wuv you MORE"-shit, (basically, I was starting to act in a rather passive aggressive manner towards both of them, together or not). I talked to them about it and said that I like them as individuals, but as a couple they piss me off to no end (and that I am moving out). This helped calm them down a little bit for a short while, but they're slowly getting into the old habits again. So, no matter how good friends you are, they value each other a lot more than they do you. I'd recommend finding other people to hang out with.
posted by slimepuppy at 6:29 AM on July 21, 2006


(preview ftw)
posted by slimepuppy at 6:29 AM on July 21, 2006


Since the "You know, I'll wait" isn't working you should probably step it up a notch and either leave the room or ask them to leave. Rather than saying "get a room" which can be perceived as joking, you should look deadly serious and request that they leave or leave yourself. If they want to be in bed together all the time then leave them to themselves. If they can be bothered to pay attention to you then they do not need the privilege of your company. Not listening to your polite requests to stop is rude and you don't need to put up with that.

This will probably be a more effective strategy if you can enlist like-minded friends to do the same.

There are also a few other actions you could take, but it is more likely that these will cause some resentment.

1. Video tape them. They might be so wrapped up in themselves that they don't even realize what jerks they are being. If they see how long you stand there waiting while they make out it might install some much-needed embarrassment.

2. Gather some friends for an intervention. This can be done in conjunction with option #1, but it is likely to instill resentment.

3. Spray them with a spray bottle when they stop a conversation to make out. It works for cats.
posted by Alison at 6:35 AM on July 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


Situations like this are what mocking and public shaming were invented for. Your, "You know, I'll wait" comment was a good start, but not obvious enough for these lunkheads. Rally your biting wit and make fun of them in the most mean-spirited and direct manner possible whenever they carry on like this in piblic. Direct your comments loudly to other friends or to the offending couple themselves.

"Geez, I usually have to pay $14.99 for a show like this!"

"Is there something in her mouth more delicious than the tirimisu I've got here?"

"I wouldn't know if Schmoopsie is the most intelligent woman in the world; she's been too busy sucking your face to say anything interesting all night."

...and my favorite

"Stop it guys....you're turning me on."

When he makes denigrating comments about your wild sexual behaviors, flirt with him shamelessly and offer him a piece of the action. Don't forget to invite her too! Describe in intimate, enraptured detail your most recent kinky, "OH MY GOD SUCK MY TOES YOU DIRTY BASTARD" sexcapade.*

* In my household, we call this technique "shooting the hostage." When someone has you trapped in conversation or is making you feel uncomfortable, your best strategy is to make them feel even MORE uncomfortable by going to even greater extremes.

People don't like to be made fun of; if they can't take a hint that their behavior is out of line, then let them suffer the fate of other freaks and weirdos.
posted by junkbox at 6:38 AM on July 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


Why are women so anti-pda? Why should affection be a embarrassing or upsetting thing to witness?

While I salute you, junkbox, for your obvious wit and cunning... you should use words that help, not words that hurt. Plus, you should give your significant other more PDA. Let it out and let it in.

Some days, really, I wonder what the LSD-weed-tune in crowd was thinking... other days I think maybe they were on to something... make love not war!

New bumper sticker:

DO IT IN PUBLIC
posted by ewkpates at 6:52 AM on July 21, 2006


"Shooting the hostage." Heh.
posted by Phred182 at 6:59 AM on July 21, 2006


Ewkpates, there are levels of 'acceptable' pda in my mind. Ignoring a friend while they are talking to you so you can make out with your SO crosses a boundary. As has been mentioned, it's just rude. You're basically saying that the other person (and what they have to say) is less important than dry-humping your partner. This is probably true, but it's a rather rude way of making it known. I'm trying to think of an counter-example of this that doesn't involve a couple, but am coming up a bit short. (Ignore your friend to scratch your crotch? Basically satiating a hedonistic base desire, without regard to other people.)

Also, junkbox gets major kudos for 'Shooting the hostage'. Will have to remember to use that.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:21 AM on July 21, 2006


If we are going to end public hedonism, let's start with over eating in public, move on to total elimination of of public cigarette smoking, and cut out wearing clothing that isn't flattering... after that, the pda comes to an end!
posted by ewkpates at 7:29 AM on July 21, 2006


On Last Comic Standing, one of the stand-ups dealt with this by saying "Wait until they close their eyes to kiss, then take off all your clothes." Unfortunately, women's sexuality in this society is a little more complex, so that may not work.

You can either go for the annoyed shaming ("Jesus Christ, are you finger-banging her under the table?" "If this is what you do in public, can you get your whole fist up her ass at home?") where you make it clear how vulgar they are, or you can do what I would do— Take pictures. People often feel uncomfortable in front of a camera, especially when they're making out. Don't answer any questions past telling them that you're taking photos, and if that's not enough, feel free to start a blog and pass the photos around to the rest of your friends. Social shaming works too.
Although this may backfire and they may be really upset, if you dealt with their complaints with a decent amount of humor and tact they'll realize that it's a pretty fair reaction to the display.
posted by klangklangston at 7:56 AM on July 21, 2006


Oddly enough, I can eat, smoke and wear unflattering clothing (all at the same time too, if I must) without ignoring my friend.

Again, I don't have problems with PDA as such. I'm am often guilty of it myself, but not to the extent of making my friend feel ignored and unappreciated. So, actually, maybe the problem isn't the PDA, but more their lack of respect for sweetkid and her feelings?
posted by slimepuppy at 8:04 AM on July 21, 2006


Another kudo for "shooting the hostage". You could also just stop whatever you're saying, leap across the table and join in the makeout session. When they ask what the hell, you say "What? Am I being inappropriate?"

If they don't ask what the hell, then, well, you're on your own...
posted by Tubes at 8:10 AM on July 21, 2006


So, this is the question then: Is the problem the disrespect, or the PDA? If it's the PDA, then sweetkid has an issue. If it's the disrespect, then shame isn't going to work... she should a) say "hey, I'm talking here"; and b) also respect their commitment to pda.

But the arguments about pda and disrespect shouldn't be conflated. It's no good saying "PDA disrespects me because I don't like it."

They probably don't intend to disrespect you... if respecting you requires they pay attention to you, I suggest you launch a campaign, "PDA 4 ME". This could include, but not be limited to, bringing you a carnation, asking you to go steady, providing you with their letterman's jacket.
posted by ewkpates at 8:16 AM on July 21, 2006


As enjoyable as many of these suggestions are to read, I would advise against any sort of cute tricks to get them to stop. They could backfire in a big way. Especially don't say it turns you on to see them do this because you may then find they're trying to rope you into a menage a trois!!!

The next time they invite you over, tell them you aren't willing to visit because their behaviour makes you really uncomfortable. If they promise to stop, and then don't, then refuse to see them at all for awhile no matter how much they plead and promise. Be prepared to step it up until there's no contact, but unless they're assholes they should get it before then.

This is obnoxious behaviour and reminds me of the time a friend (who was much given to this behaviour) started making out with her boyfriend in the front seat of his Jeep while I and another friend were sitting in the back waiting to go somewhere. She saw me roll my eyes and proceeded to scream at me that it wasn't her fault that my (then) boyfriend was such a prick that he wasn't spending time with me so that I wound up jealous.

Of the many shitty aspects of this behaviour on her part, I especially just loved the way she screamed out something personal in front of two other people I had not chosen to confide in. We were friends for quite awhile after that, but I really regret not getting out of the car right then, ending the friendship, and going home.
posted by orange swan at 8:18 AM on July 21, 2006


Let me get this straight, 23skidoo --- apparently you are saying that, sometimes people get so horny that it's understandable that they have to abandon their end of the conversation, to slobber all over each other, cooing erotic words, while their interlocutor is left to watch ... and you think that's okay? I don't care how horny a couple might be, there's such a thing as common courtesy among friends. Do you view people as libido-crazed animals who cannot be expected to control their sexual urges?

Hi, perbole much?

Where the hell did you get all that from? It's not in what I said, and it's not in the original post either. I think that people kissing someone's eyeballs in public while someone else is telling a story is okay. I don't view that level of PDA to be jaw-droppingly offensive. I don't see anything about them slobbering all over each other, or cooing erotic words.

If they are making out, that's too much. If they are groping each other, that's too much. If they are dryhumping, that's too much. But kissing each others eyeballs and doing cutesy-ass crap? Yeah, it's vomittishly annoyingly cute, but on the spectrum of PDA, it's wayyyyyyyy on the tame side.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:58 AM on July 21, 2006


Well, this is certainly uncomfortably familiar. Two of my closest male friends are now partnered with women—women I quite like—who turn them into slobbering, babytalking idiots; I myself was once half of That Couple, and boy do I regret it now.

There is no way to make them stop. That they're doing this at all indicates a deep solipsism; that they're doing this while knowing it makes you uncomfortable indicates that they're assholes. The first is why you won't be able to shame them out of this behaviour; the second is why you shouldn't bother.

They would rather suck each other's faces than treat you with respect. End of story.

What are you getting out of your friendship with them that's worth this?
posted by Zozo at 9:34 AM on July 21, 2006


23skidoo, the questioner told us that the male of the offensive couple would say things like, "I want to take you into my bedroom and take this dress right off of you." That's what I meant by cooing erotic words.

And I don't think my interpretation of your remarks was hyperbole. You related their sexual behavior to you needing to have a big juicy steak. That made it sound as though you viewed sexual appetite as a kind of urge that should be indulged regardless of the social setting.
posted by jayder at 11:56 AM on July 21, 2006


I ran into a situation like this a few years back, with the added quirk that all involved were living under the same roof (the dating began after the group housing). In the end, those of us not in the obnoxious couple wound up leaving the arrangement and getting our own darn rental house with some other friends of friends.

The only way to stop them from annoying you is to get yourself out of the situation, I'm sad to say. Efforts to "make them stop" will probably just end in burned bridges, if my experience is any guide.
posted by Alterscape at 12:13 PM on July 21, 2006


23skidoo, the questioner told us that the male of the offensive couple would say things like, "I want to take you into my bedroom and take this dress right off of you." That's what I meant by cooing erotic words.

I know what you meant, but I can't be expected to know what extra information has been left out of the original post. Those remarks were added after I had given my advice.

And I don't think my interpretation of your remarks was hyperbole. You related their sexual behavior to you needing to have a big juicy steak. That made it sound as though you viewed sexual appetite as a kind of urge that should be indulged regardless of the social setting.

I really don't see their behavior as some sort of unbridled form of sexual expression. I don't think people should be having sex in public. I do think that kissing people on their faces is something that is okay to indulge in regardless of social setting. I don't think it's that bad. I have evidence that these people 1) kiss each other on they eyes, and 2) lie fully in each others arms. That's it. And they say some inappropriate things.

I figured that the question would mention the worst of the worst that they were capable of. Since that's all that we know they're doing, to describe it as some sort of offensive indulgent sexual appetite is a bit of a stretch.
posted by 23skidoo at 2:15 PM on July 21, 2006


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