The Fresh Hell of PDAs

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Burn.

They’re doing me a favor. They think. They don’t like being alone. They’re not comfortable being alone. To them, it’s the same thing as lonely. They don’t want me to be alone and therefore lonely, and so here comes the invitation.

Flying By Night novel“Do you have the girls this weekend?” she asks.

“No, they’re with their dad.”

“Oh, good. You can go out with us.” The “us” includes her brand new boyfriend.

“No, really,” I tell her. “That’s okay.”

“Well, what are you doing this weekend?”

“Working on my manuscript, editing a book, finishing some artwork for another book, laundry, cooking some make- ahead-and-freeze-’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 with—”

“So you don’t have any plans?”

“You mean with a man?” I know very well what she means. I have sun-up to sun-down planned, and I’ve planned to get a ton of work done while the girls aren’t with me. “I’m not sure yet. I have tentative plans for dinner with someone, but I’m waiting to hear for sure. I’ll know this  afternoon. He’s out of town and—”

“Sounds like your plans are going to fall through. If it’s who I think, they always do, don’t they?” She’s ultimately right but not for the reasons she thinks. “Come on out with us. We want you to.”

“If dinner falls through, then okay. Who all’s going?” “Just the two of us. And you. We’ll have a great time.” Uh-oh. Bleah. A couple and me. I don’t think so. “No, thanks. You two will want your privacy.”

“Don’t be silly! We’d love to have you join us. We’ll hear some live music, go dancing, and…stuff.”

“Really. I don’t want to be a third wheel.”

“Well, we’ll bring along this guy who works for me. He’s cute and he’s about 25.”

I blanch. “I’m not into young pups.”

“That’s okay. He’s just someone to dance with and have fun with.”

I’m  seriously  doubtful  but  I  finally,  finally  agree… provided  I’m not facing  a  jailbait  situation.  As  long  as  he’s someone I can chat with and dance with, that’s no problem. I don’t have to take him home. And I’ve heard enough about him to know we’ll have at least 30 minute’s worth of trivia to banter back and forth with over the course of the evening.

So okay.

I’m in. As long as no one considers this a blind date. Or a date at all.

They’re late picking me up. Not only that but my not-date isn’t with them. Oops!   Nobody asked if he already had plans for  the evening and somehow his mom’s birthday party trumped going out with a couple and their single friend.

But by now I’m starving and dressed to go and I’ve already blown the evening just to say I’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 isn’t any better. In fact, it’s worse. Much worse. We get a table for three and I spend the rest of the evening listening to country music when I’d been promised Goth while the happy couple suck face 18 inches away from me.

Oh, this is…hell. I could be home writing a getaway scene in my novel, but I have to be out having “fun.”

The crowd isn’t my type. The music isn’t my type. I can’t figure out how to divert my gaze so that I’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  public public display of affection within arms’ reach. PDA is just another way of spelling hell.

All I can think is, Gods, save me from people who want to save  me from being alone. At home, I wouldn’t have felt lonely. Here in a crowd I don’t want to be with, I’m lonely.

I’m not a prude, but I realize I’m not much for PDAs. Maybe it’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 hundreds…or one. If you’re that lost, then you really do need to be alone together. Alone as in…privacy for yourselves and a little pity for those of us who are intentionally celibate and not making out—in public or private—with every man we meet.

But it’s no use. They don’t even notice I’m there, let alone think about how uncomfortable it is for me to watch or, well, how downright cruel at times to flaunt.

That doesn’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.