Are Justin Bieber & Ariana Grande Trying To One-Up Each Other On PDA?

Photo: Alessio Botticelli/GC Images.
For our newest celebrity betrothals, love is looking a lot like PDA. Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson recently appeared in public, with him wearing her (rather striking) shade of lipstick smeared across his mouth— just before Davidson had his wisdom teeth extracted. Justin Bieber also posted an Instagram photo of himself and his fiancée, Hailey Baldwin, making out in a pool. In case you forgot, these two couples would like you to know that they love each other very much.
The low-fi quality of Bieber’s public photo feels almost as though you stumbled upon vintage porn magazines in an attic. They aren’t nude, but the overt intimacy in the photo’s composition is interesting. Beiber and Baldwin are both very famous people, and seeing them enjoying such a private moment together feels oddly voyeuristic.
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Meanwhile, the paparazzi photo of Grande and Davidson is very much not sexualized — until you notice Davidson’s lips. The message is: “Hello world, we just French-kissed each other like teens on their first date at a movie theater.” Is it mocking those of us who aren't likewise consumed by the fires of passion? Are Grande and Davidson trying to rub our common faces in their blissful love life? Or just oblivious?

A post shared by Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) on

Public displays of affection, by nature, will bother those who are dealing with insecurities of the heart. In the same way that Valentine’s Day can be especially painful for single folks, Bieber/Baldwin and Grande/Davidson may be unwittingly bumming out their fans.
Now, we’re not insinuating that they should keep their love to themselves. Rather, we’re curious about why these couples are bringing us so deep into their intimate world. Are Bieber/Baldwin and Grande/Davidson competing with each other for Most In-Love Couple In The News Cycle?
The answer may be this simple: we live in a world dominated by social media, and that means we will learn more about each other than any of other time in history. Discretion is different now; it is practiced less, it is venerated less. Ultimately, mores have changed because we finally value female pleasure, alternate sexual orientations and gender identities. Emotional intimacy is one of the few private places we still have, but now, even that world is slowly opening up. Grande/Davidson and Bieber/Baldwin are embracing our lust to know everything about their young love.
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