The Oracle

PDA interrupts school, professional environments

Yael Livneh

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To some Gunn students, public displays of affection (PDA) are just a part of life. But what can begin as a cute gesture can quickly become disrespectful, uncomfortable and inconvenient to others. Gunn’s campus should not have to subjected to view what should be private moments between two fully consenting students, and those who chose to partake in PDA should be aware and considerate of their fellow students.

A school campus is a professional environment, one meant for education and work. Students and staff should not have to dodge behind buildings and shield their eyes in order to avoid a couple making out in the hallway. Every place on Gunn’s campus should be a safe and comfortable space for everybody. Physical feelings of love or affection are a personal concern and should not be forced upon anyone who may not be comfortable with them, even if they are just accidental onlookers. At Marshall Middle School in Marshall, Minnesota, a study found 70 percent of students felt there were “too many displays of public affection,” according to British online newspaper e Independent. Couples that will see each other within the next 24 hours or over the next weekend should not be acting like one is leaving for a two-year deep-space mission; in the extreme case they are, goodbyes can be said before so others are not subject to their love.

While the term PDA covers the classic culprits of making out or groping, the umbrella term also covers smaller acts like holding hands, hugs or cheek kisses. Page 22 of Gunn’s student handbook defines PDA as “Excessive Affection,” citing that “excessive affection is neither appropriate nor permitted at any time during class, out of class or related to any school event.” But what does “excessive” really mean? Where do we draw the line from an innocent hug to indecency? PDA—to an extent—is an essential part of a healthy relationship. The ability to express one’s affection for another through touch is crucial, mentally and physically. Research conducted at the University of Northern Carolina showed that women who received more warm, physical touch from their partners had lower blood pressure and heart rates. Touch strengthens the immune system through gentle pressure on the sternum and solar plexus. is stimulates the thymus gland, which regulates and balances the body’s production of white blood cells, and in turn, keeps you healthy and disease free. Human touch has been shown to be extremely beneficial, but there must be a limit set and respected on campus.

PDA is not only uncomfortable to see—it is also uncomfortable to bear. Single students on campus who previously did not have to spend time thinking about relationships or ‘finding the one’ are now indirectly pressured by groping couples to find someone. Even if students are happy not taking part in dating culture, some may get the impression that they are expected to partake in similar activities. In reality, relationships should be a student’s unbiased, unswayed and consented choice, and no one should feel pressed to seek out a connection that isn’t there.

Why do couples even engage in PDA in the first place? For starters, it’s a public proclamation of a pair’s love for one another. Couples can “prove” their love for one another by expressing it physically. Another reason could be in the brain’s chemistry—clinical psychologist Dr. Chloe Carmichael explains how some couples genuinely feel a thrill when they gain the attention of people around them. She believes the exhibitionism behind the displays add a level of thrill to a daily humdrum life. Even a simple a touch as holding hands has been shown to increase cortisol levels; in other words, you can get physically addicted to mild levels of PDA.

If there is simply no way to wait until after school, there are plenty of places on or near campus where it may be easier to share a moment without fear of making others uncomfortable or blocking traffic. Avoid crowded hallways, parking lots or quads. Stick to the edges of campus for the best bet for privacy during school hours—the walking path behind the football eld and the locker space behind the language buildings are prime locations. In the end, do what makes you and your special one happy (but try to keep it PG for the rest of us).







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PDA interrupts school, professional environments