No Shame Senior Year: Kissing in the D-A-R-K: PDA at Mac

I was happily surprised a few weeks ago when I was walking out of the art building and I saw a couple kiss before they parted ways for class. I never thought I would be happy to see public displays of affection on my college campus, as I generally find this public act a bit obnoxious. However, with the almost non-existent physical contact at Macalester, it is nice to know that at least one couple on campus is happy to display their romance in public.

This, of course, is not the only PDA on campus, but let’s be honest, certain forms are better than others. The senior couple cuddling at a documentary about sustainable agriculture is different than the sophomores groping by the Kagin bathrooms. Not to say the older students get, the more discretion they have (in fact, many lose all shame come senior year), but there are a few trends regarding how physical fondness manifests itself outside of the bedroom here at Mac.

The first shock of college PDA can be experienced as early as the first week. Freshman year brought about many instant couples or even pre-season couples who met at a sampler or on Macward Bound and were dating before school began. Ranging from romantically revolting to altogether weird, some of these couples took PDA to an extreme unwarranted by any relationship. One couple in particular found it appropriate to canoodle in Café Mac, a place far too public and greasy for most things, least of all PDA. Luckily for everyone else’s hope and cynicism, most of these preemptive infatuations crashed and burned as quickly as they began.

The other type of physical affection that I remember being distinctly rampant freshman year could be found in the dorms. This can be seen in many of the common freshman Facebook pics where friends are laying in a circle with each person’s head resting on the next person stomach. “Lol. Super cute! Yay, friends.” For some odd reason students are more than comfortable being touchy with their friends in public, but cannot do the same with those they are seeing romantically.

Growing older, wiser, and most importantly, moving off campus generally brings an end to upperclassmen PDA, not because juniors and seniors are having fewer make-outs, but because they have their own private abodes to which they can retreat with no need to sexile.

Maturing brought an end to most of these scenes of PDA, but one locale holds constant throughout one’s time at Mac as a PDA hot spot: oh, dear Kagin. Sweaty dance floor make-outs grace the hall of this glass building nearly every weekend, but come the next morning those engaged either wish they could forget what happened or wish that their Dance Floor Make Out (DFMO) buddy could ever be something more.

With Winter Ball soon approaching, this dimly lit form of PDA will come out well-dressed and on an even larger scale, only to be crushed by the depressing weight of exams and then a quick plane ride back home, perhaps with the hopes of being repeated after break or maybe at Founder’s Day.

DFMOs may technically be in public, but a dark dance floor consisting of few sober people is hardly the same as a Tuesday morning on one’s way to class. It seems so special when I see that couple holding hands walking to class, not because I am excessively romantic or even because of the gesture itself, but simply because physical affection sometimes appears to be so rare at Macalester.

I am more than happy that PDA is not commonplace, for I feel this would give the Macalester single folk that same queasy sensation that is usually reserved for Valentine’s Day. Rather, I think what is nice about spotting the rare PDA at Macalester is that it is almost always tasteful (obviously Kagin is excluded here) and it is a testament to a happy couple, giving us all a little hope that relationships do still exist in broad daylight.