I grew up in one of those places where teachers raise their eyebrows and tell you to "leave room for Jesus." Suffice it to say, my teen years were painfully bereft of dance floor make-outs and all other forms of PDA. So, imagine my shock when I moved to New York City and discovered that people in love on the subway, the sidewalk, and in the grassy knolls of the parks were not just neglecting to leave any trace of room for Jesus, but kissing—with tongue—in public.
So many people like to ridicule PDA for being nasty and gross and the worst thing to happen to humanity, but after growing up in a place where hand-holding was called "The on-ramp to sex," I find it refreshing and lovely. In fact, every time Hailey Baldwin and Justin Bieber were spotted swapping spit at another public spot in New York City, I gushed. When Pete Davidson left horny comments on Ariana Grande's Instagram, I gushed even more. And when I see a pair of subway kissers on my commute home, I smile and think of how nice it must feel to be so enraptured in another person that you can smooch on a train that smells like stale farts.
That feeling of Big Love—the kind that makes you want to walk around like you're stitched together at the hip—is so rare, and taming it down just so strangers in public won't shoot you side-eye would be a waste. Think about how much time you spend in public versus in private, like in your car or at home. It'd be a shame to limit all the kissing and tiny little romantic touches to private spaces only.
Now, to those who say PDA feels icky because it's the relationship equivalent of a dog peeing on a fire hydrant, I say: You've only experienced the bad kind of PDA. Done correctly (and speaking from experience), you don't even notice when you're doing it. It's the same way that holding hands with someone you don't really like feels clammy and bad, but holding hands with someone you really like feels like holding onto air.
I will concede that there are some necessary restrictions. For instance, I would never kiss someone at work or in a religious or solemn space, like at a memorial or funeral. But the regular sidewalk? Fair game. A sunny patch of grass in Central Park on a warm day? Perfect. Two side-by-side seats in a movie theater with the arm rests raised? Practically designed for sneaky public affection.
Even when I am single and bitter and want to throw rocks into the windows of other people's happiness, I am delighted by PDA. When I don't have anyone to kiss on the train, it's nice to know that love and like still exist... and maybe I'll rejoin the ranks of subway kissers when the time is right.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.