If you’d asked me for my opinion on public displays of affection pre-pandemic, I would have grimaced (and possibly fake gagged, depending on my mood). Maybe it was the embittered spinster in me acting up, but P.D.A. always seemed so, well…unnecessary in the before times. We get it! You’re in love! Save it for the privacy of your home or at least a bar bathroom!
Now, though, after a year-plus in which even touching other people was taboo, my tune has changed. Suddenly, I’m 100% down to celebrate love in all its disgusting forms; and when I learned that none other than Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, a.k.a. Bennifer, had been spotted making out at a family dinner at Nobu in Malibu, my heart soared.
As I peered at Page Six’s grainy image of Jen and Ben, locked in what was clearly a passionate clinch (with her hand on his face, no less! In front of family!), I realized the momentousness of the occasion. This was no elbow tap, no smooch through masks; the all-star pair was quite clearly Frenching (yes, I’m a sixth grader), and their exchange of saliva (ew, sorry) augured the return of full-fledged P.D.A.
In a few months or weeks, I predict we’ll be seeing young lovers all over the country wrap their arms around each other in public. Indeed, anecdotally, while out and about in Brooklyn this past weekend, I saw no fewer than five pairs of amoureux making out everywhere—on public parks, crowded dance floors, and—tragically, beautifully—the line outside Cobble Hill Cinemas. Between the advent of summer and New York City creeping toward a 70% vaccination rate, it seems nobody is remotely inclined to control their lust; and with celebs like Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez bravely paving the way for sloppy mid-dinner kisses everywhere, why should they?
This post originally appeared on Vogue.com.