The Fresh Hell of PDAs
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Burn.
Theyâ€™re doing me a favor. They think. They donâ€™t like being alone. Theyâ€™re not comfortable being alone. To them, itâ€™s the same thing as lonely. They donâ€™t want me to be alone and therefore lonely, and so here comes the invitation.
â€œNo, theyâ€™re with their dad.â€
â€œOh, good. You can go out with us.â€ The â€œusâ€ includes her brand new boyfriend.
â€œNo, really,â€ I tell her. â€œThatâ€™s okay.â€
â€œWell, what are you doing this weekend?â€
â€œWorking on my manuscript, editing a book, finishing some artwork for another book, laundry, cooking some make- ahead-and-freeze-â€™em dishes, quarterly taxes, cleaning out the garage, shopping for a birthday present, painting the laundry room, building a new patio, hanging a new lamp, filling orders, reinstalling software, hosting a spiritual Gathering, maybe seeing a movie, and possibly dinner withâ€”â€
â€œSo you donâ€™t have any plans?â€
â€œYou mean with a man?â€ I know very well what she means. I have sun-up to sun-down planned, and Iâ€™ve planned to get a ton of work done while the girls arenâ€™t with me. â€œIâ€™m not sure yet. I have tentative plans for dinner with someone, but Iâ€™m waiting to hear for sure. Iâ€™ll know this Â afternoon. Heâ€™s out of town andâ€”â€
â€œSounds like your plans are going to fall through. If itâ€™s who I think, they always do, donâ€™t they?â€ Sheâ€™s ultimately right but not for the reasons she thinks. â€œCome on out with us. We want you to.â€
â€œIf dinner falls through, then okay. Who allâ€™s going?â€ â€œJust the two of us. And you. Weâ€™ll have a great time.â€ Uh-oh. Bleah. A couple and me. I donâ€™t think so. â€œNo, thanks. You two will want your privacy.â€
â€œDonâ€™t be silly! Weâ€™d love to have you join us. Weâ€™ll hear some live music, go dancing, andâ€¦stuff.â€
â€œReally. I donâ€™t want to be a third wheel.â€
â€œWell, weâ€™ll bring along this guy who works for me. Heâ€™s cute and heâ€™s about 25.â€
I blanch. â€œIâ€™m not into young pups.â€
â€œThatâ€™s okay. Heâ€™s just someone to dance with and have fun with.â€
Iâ€™m Â seriously Â doubtful Â but Â I Â finally, Â finally Â agreeâ€¦ provided Â Iâ€™m not facing Â a Â jailbait Â situation. Â As Â long Â as Â heâ€™s someone I can chat with and dance with, thatâ€™s no problem. I donâ€™t have to take him home. And Iâ€™ve heard enough about him to know weâ€™ll have at least 30 minuteâ€™s worth of trivia to banter back and forth with over the course of the evening.
Iâ€™m in. As long as no one considers this a blind date. Or a date at all.
Theyâ€™re late picking me up. Not only that but my not-date isnâ€™t with them. Oops!Â Â Nobody asked if he already had plans for Â the evening and somehow his momâ€™s birthday party trumped going out with a couple and their single friend.
But by now Iâ€™m starving and dressed to go and Iâ€™ve already blown the evening just to say Iâ€™m going out.
Dinner is okay, but I sit opposite the happy couple, their ankles entwined as they take turns feeding each other.
The club isnâ€™t any better. In fact, itâ€™s worse. Much worse. We get a table for three and I spend the rest of the evening listening to country music when Iâ€™d been promised Goth while the happy couple suck face 18 inches away from me.
Oh, this isâ€¦hell. I could be home writing a getaway scene in my novel, but I have to be out having â€œfun.â€
The crowd isnâ€™t my type. The music isnâ€™t my type. I canâ€™t figure out how to divert my gaze so that Iâ€™m not staring at my friends making out in front of me.
Hours pass. I keep thinking of how much I could have written during this time instead of this forced voyeurism of having to watch a very Â public public display of affection within armsâ€™ reach. PDA is just another way of spelling hell.
All I can think is, Gods, save me from people who want to save Â me from being alone. At home, I wouldnâ€™t have felt lonely. Here in a crowd I donâ€™t want to be with, Iâ€™m lonely.
Iâ€™m not a prude, but I realize Iâ€™m not much for PDAs. Maybe itâ€™s nice to be that lost in someone else so that you forget everyone around you and everything around you and lock lips and grab breasts right there in front of an audience of hundredsâ€¦or one. If youâ€™re that lost, then you really do need to be alone together. Alone as inâ€¦privacy for yourselves and a little pity for those of us who are intentionally celibate and not making outâ€”in public or privateâ€”with every man we meet.
But itâ€™s no use. They donâ€™t even notice Iâ€™m there, let alone think about how uncomfortable it is for me to watch or, well, how downright cruel at times to flaunt.
That doesnâ€™t mean I have anything against showing affection in public. In fact, I think it would be sweet just to hold hands or stare longingly across the dinner table at the other.
Sometimes less really is more.