Hand Holding and Sex
I shocked a male friend of mine the other day when I was telling him about a terrible date I had about 7 months ago. The date wasn’t the part that rocked him, it was a throw away comment I made regarding the date that did it.
My bad date, a.k.a Mr. Riddles due to his proclivity for insisting on leaving me riddles to solve each and every time he left my presence, did a great many things to bother me during that interminable evening we spent together, but nothing was quite as uncomfortable as the hand holding. Oh dear, the hand holding. I’m gesturing wildly while telling my friend about how Mr. Riddles and I ended up walking around the town square at one point, heading back towards the bar and the welcome effects of numbing beer…and then he did it. Mr. Riddles reached for my hand.
I pause at this point to tell my friend something a lot of people don’t know about me.
“You know, I think hand holding is almost…well, it is more intimate than having sex.”
“What?!? You do?! I’m surprised to hear that, especially from a woman.”
I shrugged. What else can I say? It’s the truth, I do feel that way. Rather strongly. I didn’t even realize I felt this way fully until that date. Setting aside that topic for a moment, I went on to describe the several attempts Mr. Riddles made to procure my hand that evening – not taking the hint each time I yanked my hand back to play with my hair, pick at my nails or even when I did nothing but stare. It is unlike me to be so obviously off-putting, but apparently boys from Boston are dense…or just incorrigible. Maybe both. Regardless, Mr. Riddles never got the hint and I eventually had to forcefully pull his arm from around my waist and say firmly that it was time for the evening to end.
My friend began to question me about this hand holding issue mid-story though, so he missed out on the ending. It’s a doozy of an ending, but I’ll save that for another time. After being asked to rate my comfort level with hand holding against other forms of intimacy, my answers continued to surprise my friend. As far as intimacies go, hand holding is right up there at the top. I’ve dated and kissed my fair share of boys and men, but I’ve only been comfortable holding hands with three. They were serious relationships; in each one marriage was either proposed or very seriously discussed and/or we shared the same dwelling.
I’ve explored this more since that last discussion and realized that I’ve always just taken for granted that others feel the same way as I do.
For me it is so simple and clear -when you love someone, you hold hands.
You know when you’ve been in a relationship for long enough that you can predict your partner’s order at any restaurant? When you are comfortable enough to leave the bathroom door open and he uses your deodorant because he’s in a rush for work and you just smile because you know he’ll smell like you all day? When you come home from work and the kiss is perfunctory because you’re both rushing to get the pizza/living room ready ready to watch your new favorite HBO show? And when you finally settle into the couch together your bodies fall naturally into routine patterns, twisting until you find just the right place – his arm around your shoulders, her head on your lap? That is the deliciously sweet spot.
It is then that you entwine your hands together, fingers falling naturally into place, (someone’s thumb always in front, the other one’s pinkie always last) without even thinking about it. You stand in line at the grocery store together, your hands stretching apart, fingertips still grasping each other lightly when you lean away to check out the impulse items that always snag your attention. He tugs you back to his side and gives you a mock stern look that says, “No. You always regret this.” You giggle in agreement and silently nod, not a word spoken aloud, now leaning against each other…still holding hands. Or perhaps someone loud, crude and potentially unstable is ahead of you in line and you instinctively reach out to grab your significant other’s hand, only to find them already grabbing yours.
That is hand holding. Anything else is pretend and I just don’t like it! It gives me the heebie jeebies. One-night stands are almost commonplace these days. Ask anyone who watches even the commercials for Sex and the City.
One night hand-holdings are far rarer.
So, my friend’s final question to me is this-
“So, you have to choose, sex or hand holding. Which one is truly more intimate?”
I hesitate and tilt my head questioningly, making seesaw motions with my hands.
I nod. He laughs. We grab another brewski and talk about bleu cheese versus smoked gouda.
Am I alone in this? Is it that odd?