Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Varying Philosophies on Phalange Mingling

That's us holding hands while we're getting married.
See, hand-holding is serious business.

The first time I can remember holding a boy's hand was at the Homecoming dance my junior year of high school. Sure, I'd kissed boys before him. But I don't recall ever holding another's hand until that night. His fingers felt strange laced between mine. And I was certain that things between us were really going somewhere because we had taken that step together.

Flash forward almost 20 years, and I'm married to a pair of hands now. A pair that disagrees with me on what it means to interlock fingers.

Mr. Wonderful and I got into a spirited debate recently about the significance of holding hands. To him, it's just a regular old gesture you make when you're dating—like opening a girl's car door.

To me, it's much more.

I even wrote a post around the subject after the first time Mr. W held my hand in 2007.

I always felt like hand-holding was a declaration. Much like I tried to hold in the words I love you so I wasn't the first to say them, I also held back on hand-grabbing until my Mr. made the move first. It felt coupley and I didn't want to be the first to proclaim boyfriend-girlfriend-hood by doing it.

I think it's possible to kiss someone you're dating—or even sleep with them—and not have it mean as much as when you publicly hold their hand.

Mr. W thinks I'm crazy. Just as I harassed him for running his hands all over town like ten-fingered hussies, he had a cow (hello '80s throwback) when I said I might sleep with someone before ever holding their hand.

Where do you guys stand on this topic? Which one of the Wonderfuls is the crazy person? I'll be keeping a tally of your responses...


  1. I think hand holding is very...intimate. And I agree with you, you could have sex with a person before holding their hand in public. (I'm pretty sure I have.) I think it's all about the meaning and symbolism a person attaches to it. We're writers with poetic leanings- makes sense to me that we'd find hand holding to be so important in defining a relationship. ;-)

  2. It's not like I held hands with the homeless ladies on the street.

  3. Sizzle - I'm so glad someone gets me! :) And maybe you're on to something with the whole romantic writer thing...

    Mr. W - How do you know they weren't homeless? You were always bringing them back to your place to hold hands!!!

  4. I'm alive. I swear. I've been so crazed that I just read and don't have time to comment.

    I secretly love hand holding, but the I always feel so strange doing it in public. It makes me squirm (I guess it wasn't the right guy). I'm also hanging out with the wrong guys that don't even attempt it and then I want them too! Ah, a vicious cycle.

  5. I do think hand-holding is a signal that a relationship has reached a certain stage where the two parties are very comfortable with one another. But, since I hold hands with my husband AND little kids, I refuse to make a connection between it and sleeping with the person first. Eiwwwwwww.

  6. The difference is public vs. private. If you're sleeping with someone, it's a private act (unless you're a drunk student on spring break, on a reality television show, or dumped a creep who secretly kept a camcorder in the bedroom), whereas holding hands with someone is a public gesture. The significance of the gesture is subject to interpretation of course, but in our society everyone who sees two people holding hands knows that they are more than just friends. You don't do it with friends, siblings, family members, or co-workers.

    But, you're actually both right because men and women look at things in different ways. Women are much more aware of public gestures of affection, I think, than men. Mr. W doesn't think of the gesture as significant because he's thinking of what it means to the girl. You're thinking of it as significant because of what it means to everyone else.

    So, clearly, you're both crazy. ;)

  7. Maybe it's generally a girl thing, because I agree, hand holding is kind of a big deal. I mean, I can see most women I know taking it pretty seriously (like in the PDA category), but I can also see men doing it for a variety of reasons, some more genuine than others. :) If they KNOW hand holding means a lot to the lady they are with, maybe they'll use it to their advantage. Perhaps old married couples excluded. Hehe!

  8. i love when manfriend reaches for my hand... especially unexpectedly. what i'm saying is, we don't alllways hold hands, but i especially like it when he does it randomly on a long drive, or walking down the street on a summer day.
    but i agree, i think getting to that comfy point, for me, is a step. i once went on a second date with a guy who reached for my hand across the table and i felt SO uncomfy! i don't even love a handhold over the table with manfriend, let alone a second date. i much prefer the sweet, subtle handhold, rather than an over the table, make a big deal of it handhold- if that makes any sense!

  9. I agree that holding hands is a special sign, but you are still the crazy one - I'm rooting for you, Mr. W!


Well, whatdya think?