There is nothing more protective, more openly loving, than holding another person’s hand when walking down the street or when talking with them. Children hold on to their parents’ hands; lovers hold one another with fingers entwined; older couples, married perhaps for half a century, hold one another’s hands. 홀덤
In Spain it is required that certain ranks in the local police force hold one another’s hand when out on patrol, regardless of their gender. It is a socially acceptable act, as much as a personal one, until two men, seldom two women, are seen holding hands in public. Here, for some reason, the acceptability ends and social prejudices surrounding same sex relationships come into play.
The use of hands has long been accepted as a method of greeting another person, as a means of communicating through gestures and of showing closeness to another person. It is a common sight to see two people shaking hands when they meet up with one another, to see them shaking hands again when they part. No one gives such actions a second thought. Hands are constantly used to get a verbal idea across, to give directions, to express an emotion with, for example, a flick of the fingers through hair or touching a person on the forearm to bring a specific point across. The holding of hands, outside of a clear cut and socially acceptable relationship obvious to all, is another matter entirely.
When we see a mother or father holding their hand of their child as they cross a road, we don’t give it a second thought. He gesture is protective as much as anything and, especially with younger children in tow, expected. Likewise a young couple, holding hands as they walk down the street, talking to one another, laughing, enjoying the company of their chosen partner. Two younger women holding hands has also, over the last few years, become more acceptable. There is a special closeness shown between the couple which does not go beyond the platonic sign of a close friendship; it is intimate, trusting, but not obviously so intimate that anyone observing them could think more of it than just a close friendship. Younger women, especially those of a High School and College age kissing one another lightly on the cheek, or even the lips, as also become a common sight which, while still arousing some interest, has become an accepted part of modern society in many countries. For older women kissing one another on the cheek as a form of greeting or when parting, is also common and accepted.
Since it is not quite so common, even today, the holding of hands by partners of the same sex in advancing years, from about the age of twenty amongst women and for all men, arouses undue attention. It is automatically assumed that there is a far more intimate relationship between the couple, probably a sexual connection, which, despite many years of explanations, many years of acceptance that each person’s sexuality is a matter for themselves and themselves alone, causes people to pause and think or, in more extreme cases, to react. Reactions to couples of the same sex holding hands are generally adverse. The sight of two men holding hands in some cities in the United States, for example, can lead to a violent reaction. Even the admission of homosexuality has, in recent years, led to violent reactions which have ended in serious injury or death.
For heterosexual couples the holding of hands in Western society is an accepted part of daily life, but is it cool to be seen holding hands? Is it cool to show an intimate relationship, or even love, with another person in public? More to the point, is it cool to show an intimate relationship, through holding hands or kissing, in public when the gender of the pair is the same?