Friday, November 4, 2011

PDA: Pets, Drama and Attention

TBM Topic 19: PDA in the Digital Age

"PDA: Pets, Drama and Attention" by Julie Robison
Trista at Not a Minx, Moron, or a Parasite - on a blogging break of sorts
"Hold your tongues" by Elizabeth at Startling the Day

We three are from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. We're here to dispel the myths and misconceptions- please join us for the discussion on Facebook and Twitter!

Allow me to begin with a male friend's sentiments on the subject of Facebook PDA: "It is an abomination. It'll probably earns you time in Purgatory, which I don't believe in- but if I did, it would earn you time there. LOTS of it."

We were discussing pictures, mostly, as well as wall posts of "Hey. I like you." and other, much more discriminatory sentiments. I gathered more intel- my few friends are generally ambivalent to the occasional show of couple cuteness. I tended to agree with them. I felt my thesis collapsing. Then I had a terrible realization: I am guilty.

No, not with my boyfriend. We're always smiling, with the one exception of him surprise kissing my cheek. No, I am guilty with Heidi, the beloved family pet. There are few things Robisons enjoy sharing more than adorable pictures of our mutt. For example:

Halloween Heidi! Photo and costume credit: my sister Kato
That's not all. In this past week, while cleaning my room and writing, Heidi chilled with me. I took advantage of the situation:

I captured the puppy!

Zoolander faces.

I know. This is getting shameless. You might have even skimmed over the last ones. I don't blame you. Our mutual love can be overwhelming!

Now, imagine if these pictures had been with humans. A big theme in Catholic romance is protecting one's heart. The reason FB PDA bothers me is because I see it as exhibitionism. Constantly writing on FB about how much you love your significant other may be a sweet gesture, but it can easily become annoying and trite. I think there are very tasteful ways of doing it as well; one of my engaged besties has a far-away shot of her kissing her now-fiance after they got engaged. (His sister was taking pictures from afar!) I love seeing that sweet moment captured.

But what about the make-out albums? Oh, you know the ones I'm talking about. Scenic picture, kissing picture, smiling picture, kissing picture, kissing picture, kissing picture, scenic picture, smiling picture, and so on. It's very true that one does not need to look at them. Like some terrible whirlpool, you the viewer get sucked in, unable to look away, fascinated by the endurance and amount of saliva being exchanged with the passing of each frame.

Then you go on to live your life, pledging to never post pictures like that on FB.

But Julie! You just posted an obnoxious amount of Heidi pictures!

True. But only the first one was on FB; the rest are from my private collection. They are also of my pet, which I think makes a slight difference. Perhaps not in principle, but in practice. Pet pictures do not encourage drama. Human pictures of relationships do, be it couples or friends. Pictures of girls in suggestive poses, even if it is meant as a joke, can be provocative for the viewer. Pictures of couples kissing can be overwhelming in reaction.

If the intention is to show off the relationship or prove something (as another friend pointed out), the picture serves to attract attention, not affection or "d'awwwws!" We humans are not islands, and FB's purpose is to connect people. The very pictures being shared can serve to disconnect people.

I have no rules for engagement. That's up to each person's individual reason and prudence to decide. Kindness towards others is not just how you act towards them, but how you display yourself. Your self-image is how people gauge what kind of person you are and how they should act. Affection can be shown reasonably and tastefully, but is can also be lessened when shared with too many. A special moment is more often felt than shown, and too much FB can be voyeuristic.

From earlier this year: can you tell how much we love each other?
Happy Friday!

1 comment:

  1. I feel like this post was inspired by my facebook albums. I'm guilty of the dog sharing pictures. I can't help it though...he's just so cute. Haha and I am a self-admitted crazy dog lady.

    I've loved this entire series, especially this one because it hit home so much for me. Great post!