You should know: serious Public Displays of Affection (PDA) are about as in style as the French braid. We’ve seen it. We’ve done it. We’re over it. Sure, there are a few exceptions: Closing time at a bar? Forgivable. Romantic yet potentially fatal moment á la Titanic? Go for it. But hanging out with a single friend? Nah. Your parents? No way.

So what’s classified as serious PDA? Usually if the tongue makes an appearance, you can bet your friends will want to make a disappearance. Here are some more tips for keeping up with today’s PDA:

Hands-on affection
Holding hands is perfectly fine 99% of the time. It’s great for watching a movie, hanging out with friends, taking a break from the miniature golf course… It’s also functional: Girls, if you’re out shopping for placemats and you’re cruel enough to bring your man along, holding hands is a good way to hang on to him. Don’t let go, or he could run into the nearest gadget geek shop.

But when it comes time to go for a jog, drop the hand. I’ve actually seen couples holding hands while running. Don’t be that couple. It’s unnecessary. It’s ridiculous. And it’s really not all that sanitary — think of the massive transfer of sweat between hands.
View Singles on
Lap time
Like handholding, the lap-sit is another form of PDA that is acceptable most of the time. But this sign of affection has two very different sub-categories: The Sweet and the Straddle. The Sweet is a traditional, non-offensive lap sit. You know, the kind you may do while posing for couple photos in matching denim shirts. The Straddle is better for HDA (Home Displays of Affection) where it’s safe to wear only the denim shirt.

Pocket protectors
It’s amazing: Your hand can move a mere two inches and find its way into dangerous PDA territory… the knee to the thigh, the shoulder to the breast, the back to the backside. Some people get so worked up about where they can and can’t put their hand, that they end up putting it in the worst place possible — the rear pocket. Come on, the rear pocket is for wallets and the occasional peppermint wrapper, not a clammy cowboy hand. Why do you think the cowgirl jean manufacturers stopped putting pockets on the back of their pants? They were tired of it, too.

Make-out manners
Mistletoe and New Year’s are really the only acceptable excuses for heavy smooching in public. But, again, the tongue has no place here. This means French kissing is out. Combine this with the demise of the French braid, and the French aren’t faring too well. Duration is key here, too. Anything longer than three seconds makes everyone in the room feel like they’re watching mild porn. Another trick to use: if you have to tilt your head to the other side, you’ve been swapping spit too long.

So now you’re wondering what to do about your mantra, “Love makes the world go round.” Keep it. Romance is still in. Romps in public are not. And if you just can’t keep your hands to yourself, get a room. Or better yet, get a room in France.