Opinion Pieces

Public displays of affection just a cry for attention

There’s a new way of showing the world that you are head over heels in love and it starts with a capital P for PDA. And no, you don’t need to jump on a coffee cart and indulge in a passionate make-out session in front of all of your high school or uni classmates. Please, that was so Seth and Summer circa 2009.

In more recent years our society has devised a technique that is equally as effective, but far more civilized than that imagined by the humdrum screenwriters of the OC. It involves much less awkwardness and surprisingly fewer body parts.

These days, the easiest way to tell every important (and not so important) person you know that you have found the love of your life is through a Posted Display of Affection

Examples include, but are not limited to, a sweet Facebook status, a dreamy Instagram pic, or a romantic tweet. Any one of these options will do the job, but it is highly recommended that you choose the one that will gain you the most likes, because the more, the merrier, right?

Now before you label me a lonely and cynical cat lady, let me assure you, I am actually a huge fan of love. So much so that Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream is at the top of my iTunes playlist, Titanic is one of my favourite movies of all time, and I am currently harbouring some strong romantic feelings for a certain boy who shall not be named, but let’s just call him John Lee.

That being said, the constant sight of couple selfies and anniversary dates on my Instagram feed, captioned with #bestboyfriend or #punchinghard, triggers some of my less favourable physical reflexes, namely prolonged eyebrow raises and dramatic eye rolls.

Why this is so would probably be better explained if I told you a story – my story, to be precise.

A little over a year ago I found myself feeling as though I had just run a marathon. In reality it was 10 o’clock on a Monday night and I was comfortably perched at my desk in my pyjamas, iPhone in one hand, laptop under the other. My heart was racing, my palms were sweaty and my head was buzzing with delirium.

The reason for my unstable condition was that at 9:30pm, the aforementioned John Lee and I had decided that we would finally make Facebook official what some of our close friends had suspected for months.

Tiff Tirtabudi and John Lee are in a relationship.’

A simple click to accept his virtual invitation and just like that, the deed was done. A few short moments later, a small red notification emerged on the top right hand corner of my newsfeed. Followed by another, and another, and then ten more.

In 15 minutes the relationship status raked in 53 likes. By half an hour we were nearing the hot 100. And of course, to accompany the influx of likes was a steady stream of exuberant comments: “Congrats guys” “So happy for you Tiff” “OMG finally <3” “sajkfhafaslkjdf;aj!!!!”

To be perfectly honest, it was just the kind of response that we hoped for. In fact, it was exactly what we had expected. Why else did we feel the need to proclaim our relationship on a public platform when just moments ago we were perfectly content with keeping it between ourselves?

Perhaps it was because we knew that if we posted the status at the right time, the news was guaranteed to spread through the virtual community like wild fire, and with a combined total of over 2500 Facebook friends, we would undoubtedly become the hottest non-white power couple to hit the scene since Beyoncé and Jay Z.

Had we not received a flood of congratulatory text messages and the virtual thumbs up from all of our friends, our efforts would have gone to waste and the joke would have been on us.

Except that it wasn’t. The joke was on them. The truth was that we weren’t actually in love, just two good friends dying for some entertainment on a quiet Monday night, the date of which was April 1st, universally known as April Fools.

Unfortunately for us, the story didn’t end there. The next morning we had to face the consequences of our mini social experiment and explain to all of those who had believed it that our relationship was nothing more than a frivolous prank. But alas, many hearts were broken and that delicious sense of satisfaction we had received from our five seconds of social media fame disappeared as quickly as it had come.

So what was the point of it all? I hear you all ask. Well that, my friends, is precisely the question that you my wish to ponder the next time you are tempted to post a display of attention. Oops, I mean affection.

-Tiffany Tirtabudi

 

(Image: Thomas Leuthard on Flickr)

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One thought on “Public displays of affection just a cry for attention

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