In a not-at-all-convoluted premise, here are 11 song titles about public displays of affection, ranked by how appropriate they are.
In this little preamble section, I usually give the reason I was inspired to write the list. This one’s got horribly weak inspiration. When I was writing the list on 11 Brilliant Inventions Made Out of Old Nintendos last week, one of them was a PDA. I Googled “PDA” to see if I could make a more apt reference than “Palm Pilot.” (I could not.) One of the first few links was about the other use of PDA, Public Display of Affection. And that brings us to now. Not everything can have a cool back story, ya know. Sometimes a cigar, etc.
For this list, I dug up songs whose titles describe various forms of PDA, then I ranked those songs by how acceptable it would be to follow them literally. It’s a little convoluted, but I’m fine with that. I was initially just ranking forms of PDA without the song angle and it got super dry.
Here are 11 songs about public displays of affection, ranked by the appropriateness of displaying said forms of affection in public.
1 | Hold My Hand by Hootie and the Blowfish
Good old Hootie. A decade and a half later, still supremely tame. Hand holding is absolutely as innocent as it gets. (Unless you’re aliens disguised as political opponents figuring out ways to exchange long protein strings.)
2 | Put Your Head On My Shoulder by Paul Anka
This was about as raunchy as it got in the ’50s. Especially from Canadians.
3 | Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle
Seeing as the song is about a dad and his daughter, I’m happy to put it so innocently low. Fluttering your eyelash against someone’s cheek is remarkably inoffensive in public. Remember, when it comes to kissing in public, butterfly < Eskimo < French. (When it comes to photographability, the opposite order is true.)
4 | Your Kiss by Hall and Oates
If your kiss was on my *lips*, this might be one step higher. But since they only say your kiss was on my *list*, that still stays nice and chaste. And I get the double satisfaction of knowing I literally put Your Kiss on my list.
5 | Touch Me by The Doors
I’m putting it in this spot because, on the surface, “touch me” can be fairly innocuous. Even though both Oliver Stone and I know that when Jim Morrison was singing “C’mon c’mon c’mon c’mon now touch me baby” there was nothing innocuous about it. We’re not interpreting underlying meanings here, we’re taking things at surface value. Letter of the law.
6 | Caress Me Down by Sublime
I was going to try to be cool and use Rush’s Caress of Steel but the rules here were no albums allowed. I put this in the middle because a caress can go either way. There’s a nice caress on the shoulder, and there’s whatever you see going on in the woods at a truck stop.
7 | Kiss You All Over by Exile
I am not afraid to admit I never would’ve heard this song if Adam Sandler hadn’t performed it into an intercom in Happy Gilmore.
8 | Smack That by Akon
Buttock smacking is fairly off putting in public, except when it involves athletes or a person doing it to themselves while pretending to ride a miniature horse.
9 | Rub You the Right Way by Johnny Gill
Take that, other members of New Edition! Johnny Gill made the list and you didn’t. And all it took was him singing the most prominent song about rubbing I could find. (Sadly, Ernie’s Rubber Ducky came in second.)
10 | Love in an Elevator by Aerosmith
At least, unlike the final item on this list, the fellows in Aerosmith are making an effort to be semi-private. Yes, going down in an elevator is still exceptionally public, but at least you can only have a maximum of about 1,800 pounds worth of other people there witnessing it.
11 | Love In the Club by Usher
And the award for the most inappropriate PDA goes to Usher, for wanting to have full-on sex in the middle of a club — and I’m pretty sure he’s not referring to an empty Elks Club after hours. Although I would take away Usher’s award and give it to the Weather Girls if It’s Raining Men is really a filthy euphemism.