Writing left handed

To Have and To Hold

A male and a female holding hands.

Image via Wikipedia

I’m back at Good Karma, my new Favorite Coffee Shop, enjoying (or rather admiring) my new Favorite Source of Caffeine (Karma’s mocha lattes are just too pretty to drink!) and having crossed through Temple’s campus on the bus home from Germantown, I find myself rather preoccupied by the subject of PDAs.

Public Displays of Affection are as ubiquitous as hoodies and Nalgene bottles American college campus (and, if my two and a half years in the UK are of any indication, PDAs are ubiquitous everywhere).  That’s not to say that I’m in any position to judge; I certainly engaged in my fair share of collegiate canoodling, but I would like to offer (in lieu of My Single Male Friend Friday) a few thoughts on the subject.

In this day and age, it seems that hand holding is the real sign of commitment.

Anyone can kiss.  Anyone can have sex.  But holding hands?  In the broad daylight?  Fully clothed and sober?  That’s the real test.

I can’t remember the last time I held hands.

According to my spreadsheet, I’ve gone out with 25 men since August.  I’ve kissed God-only-knows how many of them and I’ve… well, actually, I haven’t really… never mind.  The point I’m trying to make is that I’ve been associating with my fair share of men—more than my fair share, actually— but I’ve only engaged in public displays of affection with three or four of them.

And by “public displays of affection” I’m not even talking about making out (finding myself in the post-college, post-youth-hostel phase of my life, I’m trying to be better about that these days…).  I’m talking about holding hands.  Plain and simple.

Friends with benefits don’t hold hands, and casual lovers don’t hold hands (at least not that I’m aware of; having never had a “casual lover” I can’t be certain but if I do conduct any further research into this rather delicate subject area, I’ll be sure to let you know).

This is because holding hands is an announcement: I like this girl.  And I am with her. And we are holding hands, so back off!

(Either that or “I do not like this girl.  But she is very drunk so I might get lucky…”)

As such, I’d argue that holding hands is way more intimate than any of the seemingly more intimate behaviors in which we engage.  Call me crazy (or perhaps just desensitized after 25 first dates?) but at the end of the day, all I want—all I really want—is someone to hold my hand.

How about you?

20 Responses to “To Have and To Hold”

  1. Zak

    “This is because holding hands is an announcement: I like this girl. And I am with her. And we are holding hands, so back off!” – Agreed!

    “Friends with benefits don’t hands, and casual lovers don’t hold hands” – ummm, not sure what the Cupcake Queen and myself are, but we’re friends, we’re sleeping together, and she doesn’t want to date, so that probably makes me at least one of the two above… and she’ll hold my hand (or wrap herself around my arm) in public, so, yeah, I suppose it does happen.

    “but at the end of the day, all I want—all I really want—is someone to hold my hand” – with you on this one…

      • Zak

        Ummm, ummm… it’s complicated? And… ?

        Do you have and email and do you care for details? Heck, you might even figure some stuff out for me! If not, it’s cool.

  2. Lauren

    Oh I’ll tell you something…I hope you’ll understand…

    Sorry, couldn’t resist :D.

    I agree– hand-holding is a sign of commitment, sort of “us against the world.”

    In college I dated a guy who would take my hand as we walked, and then abruptly and obviously drop it the minute an attractive girl entered the dining hall/room/party. Horribly embarrassing back then, but I can laugh now, and it made me analyze what hand-holding meant, and appreciate it more when I dated guys who held my hand for real.

    It’s a small gesture that can hold a lot more meaning than bigger ones!

  3. sarahnsh

    I always was not too much of a fan with hand holding because I’m awkward with holding onto the hand and walking at the same time. So, I generally like to hang on to my fiancee’s arm as we walk and that makes things a little easier. And for me, personally, PDAs is something I don’t tend to do, unless if we’re someplace private and quiet… or I just want to keep a hold of him.

    • Kat Richter

      It’s an art… do you interlace fingers or not? Right hand over left or left over right? Arm holding IS much easier than hand holding 🙂

  4. ancaparema

    I stumbled on this blog this morning and really liked this post. It’s true- you can tell the truly affectionate people because they are just holding hands, enjoying being with each other. A kiss is exciting with almost anyone; but holding hands doesn’t have much appeal unless it’s with the one you care about. At least, in my experience.

  5. 2blu2btru

    I’m a hand holder with my current BF, but I’ve never been a hand holder before. His arms are a bit awkward, so I had to hold his hand a certain way so as not to literally twist is arm, but we always hold hands (unless it’s a hundred degrees and just too hot to hold a sweaty hand). For me, it’s a simple yet definite statement: “we’re together.”

    I’m not a fan of PDA in any other form. I don’t want to see you slobbing all over some guy, with your hand in someone’s back pocket, or spanking anyone’s bottom. Get a room! 🙂

    • Kat Richter

      So true! I hate bottom spanking, holding and especially squeezing in public. And the hand-in-pocket just skeeves me out.

      • lifeofaphoenix

        cross pocketing is one of my favorites to see in public…to me, it screams were sleeping together but I dont like the other as much as they think i do… lol

  6. mydatingprescription

    Kat, I really liked your post this morning. I’m not a big fan of kissing in public, but I LOVE holding hands. It’s really for all the reasons you mentioned, and the “we’re together” signal it sends to the world without being overt.

  7. Jacque

    Aww I love this and totally agree. Sex and kissing are more about the physical attraction, where hand holding shows a more sensitive side and emotional attachment. I definitely want someone to hold my hand!

  8. wordofsoia

    I want to Like this x5,000,000.
    PDA in the form of holding your hand , in my opinion is probably the sweetest thing when it comes down to a relationship.
    Kisses and Hugs are given away too easily, and in most instances dont require that much thought.

    Your blog has bought warm fuzzies to the thought of holding hands today 🙂


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