FWP: Hello, Excuse Me, I’m Sitting Right Here
PROBLEM: I have a friend in a new relationship, and she and her boyfriend take public displays of affection to a new level. When I’m out to dinner with them, I can see her stroking his leg under the table. Any time one of them leaves the table, there’s always a kiss, sometimes with tongue. How do I get them to tone it down without seeming like the prudish Married Lady?
LG: First of all, I am categorically on your side. That kind of behaviour is only appropriate in the high beam of a stranger’s passing car on a chockablock expressway. Certainly not in public.
But I do have to ask: Is it all one-sided? As in, is your friend always the one doing the leg-stroking? If so, you might not be the only one wondering how to tone down the public display of affection. Or, possibly, avoid it completely; methinks the passion doth protest too much. (Or some other hackneyed Shakespearean paraphrasing that means your friend’s bf might be looking for a way out as much as you are, and the public canoodling might die a natural death.)
But, if it’s mutual, I hope they are both good-looking so you can enjoy it, too, while you figure out a way to get it to stop. And to do that, I would suggest confronting it head-on by way of a backhanded allusion. Something like, “You’re looking so youthful! What’s your secret? Whatever it is, you should probably keep it to yourself.”
SB: PDA doesn’t tend to bother me, so we may not be on the same page about this one. In fact, PDA is one of my favorite John Legend tracks! But, I digress… I figure the touchy-feely stage can’t last forever, and, in a way, it’s sweet that they can’t keep their hands off each other. I suggest you wait it out, enjoy the show, and go places where there are no glass tables next time you meet up.
MM: So you want to put an end to the PDA without seeming like a prude? That’s gonna be tough. You can either enjoy the show, as SB put it, or run the risk of your friends thinking you’re an undercover member of a certain political party that shall (ahem) remain nameless….
Or, if you really have the inclination, you could bribe someone who’s not known to the couple to gatecrash your party and call them out.
KB: I like where MM’s head is at. Maybe tip the waiter a little extra to come over and “spill” some cold water on those over-rubbed nether regions? I mean, seriously, it’s just awkward to go groping like an eighth grader at a grownup dinner. I’m all for necking like it’s the 90s and we’re all in plaid and velvet chokers, but even those days had their rules. (Bedroom door always open, remember?)
It’s common courtesy not to show your tongue to your fellow diners, especially if it’s in someone else’s ear. Shut these folks down with a witty — but very direct — comment; just like your experiment with skateboarding, it’ll only need to happen once.