Confession: I Don’t Wanna Hold Your Hand

Yesterday, I came across an article on Elite Daily titled “8 Scientific And Romantic Reasons Why We Love Holding Hands.

“Ew. Gross. Blech,” I said to myself. It occurred to me that this was probably not the reaction other people had upon seeing this article. Probably other people who are not terrible curmudgeons said to themselves, “Oh! How lovely and romantical! Yay hand holding!” and then promptly shared the article on their Facebook pages.

I do not like to hold hands. Arm linking is fine, particularly if it is keeping me from falling down after a night out, but holding hands drives me right up the wall. I can do it for maybe a minute, and only if I am sitting down and not talking.

I have my reasons, and they are not all entirely about me being a jerk who hates romance and public displays of affection.

You know the old stupid joke about how to get an Italian person to shut up? By tying their hands behind their back? Well, not to be Captain Ethnic Stereotype here–and technically I don’t think I am, because I actually get this trait from my mom, who is Irish–but I seriously need my hands for talking purposes. I must gesticulate. I gesticulate when I’m talking on the phone with people. It’s just my way. Talking without the use of my hands feels clumsy and awkward and unbalanced and frustrating–like I can’t really get a point across or something. I feel silenced. As neurotic as this sounds, I feel like someone holding my hand is pressing the Robyn Mute Button, and I do not like it.

Plus, you know, it’s wicked sweaty.

I’ve gotten into several arguments about this with dudes I’ve dated, who have often seen my reluctance to hold hands as a reluctance towards commitment. Which is maybe slightly true. There is probably something in me that does not like the idea of someone laying claim to me in such a public manner. Because I’m free, goddammit! And I am willing to do the hand-holding thing for a bit, because I’m aware that we must make concessions for others, but I will probably jerk it away if I feel like I need to say something important.

In fact, the Elite Daily article even says something similar:

It can serve as a powerful statement.

For instance, if a celebrity is spotted holding hands with someone, society automatically assumes the pair is together.

While simple, holding someone’s hand in public, soberly, makes a declaration. It either says you’re together, you have a close relationship or you support what the other person is doing. And humans like to make statements.

We wear graphic t-shirts, post Facebook statuses and tweet our point-of-views. It makes our existence known, and therefore relevant.

Personally, I’m not into the idea of “advertising.” I find “advertising” in this context a tad gauche. What is it of anyone’s business who I am dating? Why should they care? Is it not odd to assume that they should care?

For the record, I also come down firmly against same-side-of-the-booth sitting, and very against that thing tacky people do where they walk down the street with their hands inside one another’s back pockets. This may be because whenever I was a kid and we witnessed any kind of PDA, my mother would go to us and say, “That’s how you know they have nothing to say to each other when they get home. It’s all a show.” Which is, of course, a very New England thing to say.

Elite Daily also somewhat suggests that “we” like handholding because it makes us feel like a child, because our moms used to hold our hands when we were crossing the street or something. This may, however, actually explain part of my aversion to it. Being treated like a child is as about as unappealing to me now as it was when I actually was one. Besides, I am 5’9″ and have a voice like Kathleen Turner–to treat me like a child would be to venture straight into the uncanny valley.

What I really hate though, is the whole walking down the street holding hands thing. People who do this are almost never walking fast enough and often take up too much of the sidewalk to walk around easily. Plus, I do not want to look like Jack and Jill walking up the hill to fetch a pail of water. It’s simply not for me.

All of this probably does make me a jerk. I have conceded this fact in many a general conversation about public displays of affection, as usually it is the only way I’m getting out of such a discussion — as PDA enthusiasts are often touchy in more ways than just the one. I get that I’m supposed to like hand-holding. I get that I’m supposed to want to “advertise” relationships. I get that I’m supposed to want to be in touch with my inner child. I get that people who want these things are better people than I am. But it’s just not my way, and to be honest, I’m OK with that. [Elite Daily]