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Attention Pete Davidson: A Guide to PDA Etiquette

Tongues or not tongues? That is the question

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It appears that Pete Davidson has officially moved on from Ariana Grande and into Kate Beckinsale's mouth. After months of cuddly sightings, the two were seen making out—full-on tongue-in-mouth—at a New York Rangers hockey game on March 4. What is most startling about the now viral images is how squeamish Queer Eye star Antoni Porowski appears seated so close to the canoodling. 

Photos of Porowski make him appear uncomfortable and confused. Public opinion aside, the situation as interpreted by the gossip-hungry internet feel a bit too relatable. Who hasn't found themselves in a situation where someone is getting a bit too visibility frisky in public? The meme-worthy moment forces us to ponder: Is it ever appropriate to swap spit with your partner in public (and on such a visceral, primitive level)? Well, let's weigh the options and consequences: 

There are a few scenarios where you should absolutely steer clear of PDA at all costs, for your sake as well as others. Office parties, for instance. Don't tote your partner to a post-work function and then bathe them with your tongue in front of coworkers or, worse, your boss. Imagine the following day's talk with upper management or Human Resources. It's just not worth it. If you simply can't take your hands off one another, just do a quick round of "hellos," crack a few jokes, and get out of there. I've had a friend get fired for being too touchy with their companion at a professional gathering (ok, this meant getting fully intimate in the bathroom, but nevertheless). 

Another case in which it's best to just keep your hands to yourselves is, reasonably, when you meet your partner's parents or vice versa. One should assume old people are old school, and reminding members of your family that you have genitalia and use it should be forbidden if not illegal. No member of another person's family wants to see you rubbing your hand on their relative's thigh or sticking your tongue down their throat. In this situation, it's just plain rude and creepy—you're profoundly distressing rather than impressing anyone involved. Keep it Rated G in your partner's family abode, and (if you have a dad like mine) you're in for sleeping in separate bedrooms when you visit too, so just get used to it.

You're almost legally obligated to run a hand over your partner's thigh while watching a film, so blame whoever designed theaters; they dealt those cards more than a century ago.

If you're at a restaurant, I'd also recommend just waiting until you get the check and head home. Having to lean over a table to stick your tongue down your partner's throat reeks of desperation and will absolutely make your waiter uncomfortable but also unable to talk to you or even fill your water glasses up. It's childish and messy, in this instance, because it impacts someone else's livelihood. So if you do this shit, you better tip well. Also, if you're in a public park setting, keep it casual. If you're anywhere near a child, actually, just don't even touch—keep kids pure for as long as possible. Plus, the last thing you want to do is upset a parent; you have no idea how conservative some people are about stuff, even if you don't think it's a huge deal. So, rather than risk starting drama over your right to copulate on a picnic blanket in a public park, just read a book and play some tunes instead. The consequences just aren't worth it. I'm not even going to get into funeral etiquette. You all know better.

So when is it appropriate to hold hands, flirt and peck? Well, in almost all other situations. Weddings, for one. Look: if the bride and groom are sanctioned to marriage through a kiss, every other couple at a wedding is allowed to be sweet with one another too. Again, don't go full frontal or anything, but here's where you can remain discreet while still being, well, a couple. Weddings are emotional and they make attending twosomes wistful and lovey-dovey over the possibility of wedded bliss; there's nothing wrong with bestowing your partner with whom you aren't currently married to a little affection. Just don't steal the bride and groom's sunshine by making out for four full minutes on the dance floor during their wedding song or fornicating in a reception broom closet and you should be a-okay.

Another circumstance where the occasional butt-grab is totally acceptable is when you're out with friends at a bar. Actually, anywhere dark suffices here. Friends may hem and haw at how the two of you should "get a room," but if you're among peers and other couples, it's plausible you won't be the only duo copping a feel on one another. Hell, even if you're in a movie theater, it's still totally acceptable to hold hands and smooch occasionally—especially during charming or emotional scenes. You're almost legally obligated to run a hand over your partner's thigh while watching a film, so blame whoever designed theaters; they dealt those cards more than a century ago. Movie theaters, in my case, were actually the choicest of make out spots in my adolescence—I even had my first kiss in one.

But, alas, movie theaters and bars are dark and, well, hockey games are not. You read me Davidson and Beckinsale? Still , it's clear they were on a date, very much in their own world, and also—hello!—at a professional sports game. Sports games are practically hotbeds for make out sessions. That's why they introduced kiss-cams—so couples aren't just repeatedly caressing one another during the game, they're encouraged to do so. Sports games are adrenaline-driven; this gets people riled up. If you're going to make out in public, it can absolutely be at a sports game (well, an adult sports game). This new celebrity couple have my solidarity with this one—especially when morally-questionable paparazzi are waiting on their every move. Can't we mere mortals who don't have to flee from paparazzi (or confront them) on a daily basis zoom out and suppose that being photographed mid-public make out is conceivably a turn on? It's quintessential voyeurism; getting caught, while not really committing too atrocious of an act. I consider a hot make out session totally appropriate, normal behavior at sports games, concerts, and clubs. Maybe even rodeos. Namely, anywhere typically attended by adults, taking place between usual date hours, and permitting lofty amounts of alcohol consumption.

Davidson and Beckinsale shared a few choice intimate moments that happened to be caught on film at the Rangers game, but they seem positively besotted with each other, even if their tryst is currently being considered short-lived by the Counsel of Online Norms. And as far as PDA goes in public spaces that exist for the sole purpose of fun: it's 2019, not the 1950s. So despite baby boomers' incessant jeering about "when I was your age!" it shouldn't matter what you're doing with your partner in public as long as you're not breaking any laws (debatable) or jeopardizing anybody's safety. While, as a society, we tend to collectively shun PDA, on an individual level I don't believe we really mind it. Maybe it could be deemed annoying, but it's par for the course: we walk outside and see couples kissing, canoodling, touching. It's not unnatural; on the contrary, it's odd to not afford affection to your partner in public, especially in the beginning stages of dating. It's actually cute; it makes me happy to see other people who are in happy, seemingly non-toxic relationships as our world grows colder emotionally and hotter climate-wise.

Couples put their passion on display for a variety of reasons, and regardless of whether this is the real deal or a ploy to make an ex jealous, Beckinsale and Davidson aren't hurting anybody and neither are you by giving your partner some tongue. So, sure, keep it traditional if you want and stick to hand holding. Or, shove your tongue down your partner's throat at a Rangers game. Maybe even do that thing from '80s movies where each of you walks with a hand in the pocket of your partner's acid wash jeans. If it makes other people uncomfortable, they're most likely single and jealous.

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