Should all couples hold hands? Kish’s sister Heidi believes that holding hands is crucial to a lasting romantic relationship. Kish and I respectfully disagree. We think it’s nice to see young couples with fingers intertwined and seniors doddering along with hands linked, but don’t expect us to do it.
My disaffinity for holding hands stems from biology and experience. The unfortunate reality is that my hands sweat in any hand-holding scenario. When I was in high school and tried to hold hands with a girl, I felt my hands getting damp, which made me self-conscious, which made my hands sweat all the more. When I noticed my kind-hearted date trying to surreptitiously wipe off her oily palms on napkins, coat sleeves, curtains, and at every other opportunity, I realized that holding hands probably wasn’t going to increase my chances at meaningful romance.
The experience came from a high school first date that involved a long drive to an event. My date grabbed my hand as we left and I drove left-handed, becoming increasingly uncomfortable because my right hand was locked into position. Once you’ve started holding hands, you can’t really retreat without making it seem like a kind of rebuke. So we drove along, chatting superficially, while I directed every ounce of self-awareness at my immobilized right hand. What you are supposed to do in such a long-term hand-holding scenario? Tickle the girl’s palm? Do “this is the church, this is the steeple” to keep your wrist muscles from spasming?
So, I’ve long ago sworn off hand-holding, and fortunately the love of my life isn’t a hand-holder, either. Sometimes she’ll hold my arm as we walk along, and that suits us just fine.