Public dis­plays of affection are equiv­alent to dogs peeing on fire hydrants to mark their ter­ritory, according to a 2017 study from the Journal of Sex Research.

Most men who par­tic­i­pated in the study said that the sat­is­faction of PDA didn’t come from the inter­action itself, but rather, from showing off  their per­ceived supe­ri­ority over other males. Essen­tially, public dis­plays of affection are ani­mal­istic — it is a response to hor­mones and instinct, grounded in the bio­logical desire to out­perform other males. PDA is not love; it’s affec­tation, not affection.

And it really needs to stop.

For a con­ser­v­ative college, Hillsdale has its fair share of stu­dents who are more than com­fortable dis­playing their affection in public: cud­dling on couches in the union, sitting on each other’s laps in the Knorr Family Dining Room, making out in booths in AJ’s Cafe or in the study rooms in the library, and — as if it could get any worse — nuz­zling in class.

Spending time alone in a dorm room with a person of the opposite sex seems to be looked down upon at Hillsdale for various reasons — even when stu­dents abide by the estab­lished vis­iting hours. But perhaps PDA demon­strates a deeper lack of morality: If indi­viduals must resort to public dis­plays of affection, perhaps they believe they cannot practice self-restraint in private.

Further, those who display affection in public demon­strate a lack of social awareness and an igno­rance of others’ comfort. They either do not know they are making others uncom­fortable, or they do not care. Both are equally dis­re­spectful — and cringe­worthy.

A peck on the cheek — or, dare I say, even a quick kiss on the lips — is okay. I’d admit, it’s even a little cute. But long smooches, rubbing noses, mas­saging, cud­dling, and running one’s fingers through another person’s hair in public is incon­sid­erate.

This comes down to being con­sci­en­tious of others, which extends far past public dis­plays of affection. It’s about being aware of your sur­roundings and acting appro­pri­ately given the time and location. It’s about thinking before you act, and putting other people’s rights to be com­fortable in their sur­roundings before your desires.

Our edu­cation at Hillsdale College is grounded in studying the true, the good, and the beau­tiful. Because PDA is rooted in ani­mal­istic instinct, dis­playing affection in public dehu­manizes both oneself and one’s partner. It is not good or beau­tiful.

If the Honor Code applies to what goes on behind my bedroom door, then it applies to what goes on up the hill. Public dis­plays of affection are not hon­orable in conduct, nor are they respectful of the rights of others. Don’t display affection in public, and practice proper self-gov­er­nance in private.

Love is patient. It’s affec­tionate. And it can wait for vis­iting hours.

Alexis Nester is a junior studying eco­nomics.

  • Jen­nifer Melfi

    seems like the result of repressed sex­u­ality. Come on Hillsdale, take advantage of those fra­ternity houses, off campus houses, and dorm vis­i­ta­tions. roo­mates, don’t c*** block your roo­mates. Everyone else has to watch this if you don’t do your part!

    • Jen­nifer Melfi

      worth pointing out that there have been some very funny “ANTI -PDA” posts on the Barstool Hillsdale Instagram accounts. Of course, the snowflakes cry foul, but it makes for a good laugh.

  • Alan Kotlyar

    What on earth? Very funny.

  • jonny-o3

    So essen­tially you are arguing that because you don’t like to see and are offended (ie trig­gered) by a behavior that the whole campus should bend to accom­modate your tastes and opinions so you don’t get offended. You want the whole campus to be your per­sonal safe space where you will never encounter some­thing that bothers you because of your feelings and sen­si­tiv­ities and the anguish when you’re trig­gered. Wow. And no doubt you believe safe spaces and snowflakism are just a feature of those “liberal” col­leges. Well it seems that Hillsdale kids are just as much trig­gered snowflakes looking for a safe space as their liberal coun­ter­parts!

  • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

    Golly gee, are we sup­posed to take this seri­ously?

    I think I’ll still hold my wife’s hand in public and plant the occa­sional smooch on her, without feeling com­pelled to ask per­mission from the Morality Police. If you don’t like it, you’ll just have to arrest me. A little public affection in this world of almost infinite banality might go a long ways with casual observers-and if not, it was not energy wasted.

    • Jen­nifer Melfi

      BTW, yes. this really does happen ALL THE TIME now at Hillsdale. Since the switch to a “christian” school sup­posedly began in 2015, the student body is now overrun with home­schooled kids (they were always there, but now in numbers similar to the dreaded “migrant caravan”) who have never had a gf/bf and who basi­cally go at it in cring­ingly awkward ways in front of everyone.

  • Mar­coolio

    This was quite amusing to read. Comes across as an petty rant from a highly sex­ually repressed and jealous indi­vidual who’s trying to dictate to others how they go about their behavior in front of their loved ones.

  • Come on, responders. Making out on the sofas is alto­gether dif­ferent from holding hands and an “occa­sional smooch,” which the writer did acknowledge. The actions she describes are incon­sid­erate. They do show a lack of regard for others. They are in poor taste. It’s an old-fash­ioned view, I know, but those corny old manners do work toward everyone’s comfort. Restraint and con­sid­er­ation for others are good things. Love, Grandma.

  • Micah Porter

    Hello … ’95 graduate here. I am inter­ested in this per­spective. I have only been on campus a few times over the past 20 years and some of it to discuss student culture and inclusion with admin­is­tration. I am con­sid­ering coming back to Hillsdale next fall for Home­coming with my partner, Brandan. We are rarely affec­tionate in public, but do occa­sionally hold hands or walk arm in arm. What is the take on those affec­tions?

    • jonny-o3

      From what I know there are plenty of gay stu­dents on campus and I’ve heard a decent chunk of them are out to friends and faculty. I heard there was a talk last year by a gay student that actually was well attended and very sup­portive. Mostly they stay somewhat closeted because of the admin­is­tration (and their concern for optics) and the really fun­da­men­talist stu­dents. So in short, most stu­dents who are not fun­da­men­talist (which is the majority) would not have much of an issue or care about what you describe, based on what I know, cer­tainly 75% of the faculty would not care, but the admin might dis­ap­prove and faculty in pol­itics, English and a bit of religion. Most other depart­ments are basi­cally lib­erals and lib­er­tarians.

    • Robyn Williams
  • Camus53

    Listen to your Nation’s Pres­ident, highest office in the land, maybe the world:
    Just grab em by the short hairs!