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Saturday, October 07, 2006

won't you please put your hands together

The New York Times says that even monkeys understand the importance of holding hands. But it seems its fallen out of fashion with us humans.

They compare The Beatles' 1963 lyrics "When I'll feel that something/ I want to hold your hand" to 50 Cent's recent chart-topper 'In da Club': "I'm into havin' sex/ I ain't into makin' love". Times sure have changed. However, despite society's slack standards meaning that SMUT now runs rampant on the airwaves, apparantly hand-holding has managed to survive the sexual revolution.

But nowadays holding hands has a sheen of intimacy, rather than of innocence. Its not a 'first base' move, but instead something that comes later in a relationship. The article also quotes a professor who points out that face-to-face relationships are losing ground to those being conducted (at least partially) via various electronic media. We're missing out on vital moments to experience touch and interpret body language and build up that physical intimacy.

Now, you see I have this thing. I can last about nine hours total without coming into contact with anyone and then I will throw myself at the nearest person for a hug. I have pretty much zero personal space. I am the girl who who reached over and flicked your shirt tag back down under your collar last time you were in an elevator. I can barely have a conversation without involving a shoulder touch or knee pat or somesuch. I'm sure it infuriates some people and it has lead to some awkward misinterpretations, but its just the way I am really.

So it didn't surprise me at all to read the many professors quoted in the article, talking about how integral touch is to human development and to building relationships. One study showed that while having MRIs, the women who were allowed to have their spouse hold their hand, coped much better with negative emotions. [Actually, their sample size was too small for me to really validate it, but I do admire the sentiment. Props to Media Research 203 with Craig & Suzette for making me eternally vigilant.]

Heather & I actually had a conversation (electronic) about holding hands just last week. Specifically about what a significant step it is in a relationship (obv someone from NYT hacked in). She was telling me about first getting together with her boy and said something along the lines of "its wasn't official but we went for dinner and he held my hand" and I was all "OMG!! so official!".
And earlier this year, I was seen, by a workmate, holding hands in town with my brother - who assumed that he must've been a boyfriend. Because why would brother and sister hold hands? Not as embarrasing as the time my ex came into work and my boss thought he was my brother "because you two look so much alike!" but um yeah.

I've been listening to Death Cab For Cutie's Tiny Vessels over and over. Damn it is a gooood song.


Blogger Lou said...

I have to say that I have a lot more need to touch people now than I did pre-Bel. Thanks Bel. [I'm e-touching you right now]

Tue Oct 10, 01:37:00 AM  
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