Alex Barton

In defence of public displays of affection

What's so wrong with giving your partner a kiss?

  • From Spectator Life
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex share a kiss in 2018 [Getty Images]

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex had a rather awkward moment recently when they were caught on the ‘kiss-cam’ at a basketball game in Los Angeles. The couple, sitting in a private box (but in very public view), were faced with a decision: to kiss or not to kiss. 

Harry went in for the kill (his 26th?), leaning over to his wife for a kiss. But Meghan simply laughed and patted his arm. There, there, little prince – not today. The couple haven’t been shy about public displays of affection in the past, and this was somewhat of a departure from her days on camera frolicking in her role as Rachel Zane in Suits. But people change and, I suppose, that was acting. 

So what would you have done in a similar situation? It’s true, the public display of affection – or PDA – has a bad reputation. The mention of it may even send a prickle up your spine. It’s considered naff and cringey; a faux pas to be made in one’s youth, not to be repeated in later years. PDAs are something to be mocked, no? Remember so-and-so at the Christmas party? Ha.

But since the pandemic there has been, I believe, a shift. We spent months without human contact, without touch or connection. And we have been making up for it ever since. Next time you are out and about in a city – preferably on a warm, sunny day – look around. PDAs of all kinds are everywhere. It’s astonishing. There’s hand-holding, linked arms, kissing and my personal favourite, the hand-in-partner’s-back-pocket. Cute.

During the pandemic we spent months without human contact, without touch or connection, and we have been making up for it ever since

It’s not just a frivolous topic, either. The PDA was brought into the political realm last year at the Qatar World Cup when LGBTQ+ fans were warned against showing their lovers any affection at the tournament. Foreign

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