Go hand-in-hand through life

Feb 01, 2018


We have entered the month that controls our heartstrings. Cupid is ready to flutter around us,  causing sparks in our eyes, devotional expressions on our faces and the desire to give that special touch to a loved one.

On a very comfortable reddish and light gray sky evening my wife (Karen) and I were sipping coffee in Town Center and people watching. There I noticed several young, mature individuals talking, walking and holding hands as they walked into and out of Central Market.

Being a behavioral health professional, our behavior has always intrigued me. As I watch several hand-holders I wondered what motivates us to hold hands.

As I was contemplating the question, I noticed the language of hands interlocking doesn’t seem to have one meaning. My cursory observation motivated me to dig deeper into what this universal body touching action can tell us about ourselves and our fellow residents.

I followed up my interest by reading several articles about this universal act of hand-holding can be seen as a romantic, helpful or even a playful gesture. But on a darker side it can be a dominating, abusive and controlling move too. But to me, unwitting hand crunching should not even be considered as holding hands. Therefore, I will voluntarily close my eyes to this aggressive act and focus on the beauty one gets from a loving and helping hand.

Watching one couple holding hands and crossing a street I realized the woman, whose hand was on top of her male partner, did so to help her blind companion safely maneuver across the street and into the grocery store. After this observation I wondered: “Was that hand-to-hand touching endeavor for safety reasons? For affectionate reasons? For just common curtesy? Or was it based on all the above?”

Later I observed a woman (maybe a mother?) directing a small child’s body so that the boy was forced between the mother and the street. At the same time she was holding the child’s hand very tightly. I immediately deduced this type of hand holding was motivated by a mother’s natural response to protect the boy from wondering, or running into the street.

I involuntarily smiled when I noticed a young couple exiting the market and the woman was holding a bouquet of multiple colored flowers in one hand and her right hand under the males’ left hand. Now what would any observer assume from viewing their body language?

As I studied those young adults behavior, I felt my whole body instantaneously brighten up when I spotted parents playing with a toddler. The adults were holding the hands of the girl and as she was laughing her protectors were swinging the lassie high into the air.

Later, I witnessed a couple walking shoulder to shoulder, holding hands as they crossed Main Street. Now what did this behavior seem to tell me? For sure those protagonists were connected and felt secure together. In this case hand holding probably was their special way of bonding together.

Another interesting observation is that I rarely saw hand holding during the morning or early afternoon hours. I wonder what this tells us.  Is this another quizzical project for some other people watcher?

Then a loving hand holding can help relieve a person in pain. Although I did not observe anyone in distress, several medical studies strongly suggested when a person is in pain, and another person holds the person’s hand, this can greatly reduce the suffering of the inflicted person.

Holding hands is our special way to show we are proud of each other. Then to add to this thought an anonymous writer noted that holding hands is also our way of showing, “We don’t have to face the world alone!

The pastime of people watching is intriguing and an entertaining endeavor. Even though there is a possibility Mr. Cupid is manipulating you, I still encourage you to go with Cupid’s flow. Reach out and hold another love one’s hand. At the same time, enjoy watching others go hand in hand around our beautiful Mill Creek.

Darn right, have a sweet and hand-holding Valentine’s Day!

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