Public Displays of Affection - Only for the Married and Engaged?

 Joke Silva and husband, Olu Jacobs

Just last week we were talking about American style romance being the new standard of dating, and Ginger raised an interesting point.
If anything, the reticence displayed by a good number of African men towards showing affection in public (compared to the privacy of the bedroom- not even living room)is the African stylee. So 'thumbs up' to those who are willing to be Western and even say 'you are burriful' to their girl in public.
I am of the opinion that for most young Nigerians dating in cities around the world tend towards the western or hollywood depiction of romance. However, Ginger is right that majority are still more conservative than is typical in say, London or New York. This I think reflects the traditional culture of most Nigerian communities, where marriages are arranged between families, as well as the colonial and religious history that wanted women to be chaste virgins.

In my own experience, mothers told their daughters that even holding a man's hand in public will either get her pregnant, or it would mean that no other man would marry her. OK, my own mum didn't tell me exactly that, but she did impress on me how important my bride price, lol...This I think is the reason why relationships in Nigeria, and even of Nigerians outside the country is more subtle than most. Most girls do not let anyone outside their closest circle know of their boyfriends until he is ready to make it respectable, you know propose, or at least be introduced to family.

I confess that I did the same, Atala and I had been talking for about 6months before my parents heard about it. That said, I'm a big big lover of PDAs and whenever we were together in those days, my hands would be all over him. Now, I got into a discussion the other day about when PDA's are acceptable.

According to some people, even at that stage, Public displays of Affection are not really encouraged. The dating couple should always be very discreet. Women, and sometimes the men too, should not express their love in public like holding hands, hugging, touching, or even saying I love you. The couple can only PDA a bit after making the announcement to friends and family members, or when the suitor has done the introduction or traditional marriage. Most preferably, they should wait till after marriage.

Me, I believe a couple should start as they mean to go on, and in this case, practice makes perfect. I find PDAs sexy and romantic, and it is like foreplay. If a couple are not comfortable touching each other when others are there, I think it would be harder even when they're alone.

What is your own stance? Will you hug or hold hands with your boyfriend/girlfriend in public, or do they have to wait till you're married. That is if ever?