Tuesday, December 11, 2012

PDA Revisited

Last week I took my nine-year-old daughter, S-Boogie, to a Christmas concert at Temple Square in Salt Lake City. We had a nice evening seeing the lights, eating out for dinner, and enjoying the music together. As I sat on a bench at the back of the Assembly Hall with my arm around S-Boogie, I had a mini-epiphany: I'm not as screwed up as I thought I was. 

Back in August, I wondered why it is that I'm bothered by the need for Clark's and my relationship to be a secret. "Do I feel a sadistic need to shove my gay relationship in the faces of my socially conservative acquaintances?" I asked. "Do I want others to be jealous of my awesome boyfriend? Or am I just an exhibitionist who gains pleasure from displaying himself before the world?" 

At the concert last week, I realized that I was being just as affectionate with S-Boogie as I would ever want to be with my boyfriend in public. While walking around Temple Square we'd held hands, and in the Assembly Hall she snuggled up against me while I had my arm around her shoulders. Obviously I felt no need to shove our father-daughter relationship in the faces of the people around us, because no one would be shocked by a nine-year-old holding her dad's hand. It would be silly to think others would be jealous of my awesome daughter--most of the others there were also parents, who are no doubt under the mistaken impression that their kids are every bit as awesome as mine are. As for exhibitionism, I wasn't displaying anything that anyone would even notice. 

I was just being a dad who loves his daughter. I display my affection for her not because we're in public, but because that's what comes natural to me, no matter where we are. When I'm with someone I love, I tend not to notice the people around us. If I were in a relationship with someone who could be more open about our relationship publicly, I wouldn't indulge in any more PDA with him than I do with my kids. I have no desire to make out with my boyfriend in public. 

See? The Justice League isn't flaunting anything. They just love each other. 

None of this changes the fact that I am in a relationship with someone who, for many reasons, is not comfortable with any level of PDA. I'm at peace with that. I know I'm not going to change him. But for my own peace of mind, it's nice to understand why it took me a while to come to terms with this. And nice to cross one psychosis off the long list of ones I really do have. 


  1. .

    If you ever run short, let me know. I'm keeping my own list.

  2. Glad to hear you're keeping track of my psychoses for me. ;)

  3. For me it's about freedom. Freedom to express my sexuality in the same way that straight people express their sexuality. Freedom to hold hands in public with someone of the same sex and take it as much for granted as straight people take holding hands in public with someone of the opposite sex. It's not about being inappropriate in public. It's about feeling not only normal but emotionally equal and therefore feeling what's publicly appropriate for straight people is also publicly appropriate for gay people while what's publicly inappropriate for straight people is also publicly inappropriate for gay people. It's about everyone playing by the same rules; having a level playing field.


  4. I agree, Philip. It's frustrating that we even have to think about it--like you say, we should be able to take it for granted just as much as straight couples do.