Holding Hands in Public

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Holding Hands in Public

Postby Marti » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:22 pm

Wow... the board's pretty quiet these days. :P But I'm sure with a bit of time, you guys can help me out here. :)

So, my boyfriend's big on holding hands in public. It doesn't really make sense to me, and I can usually see things from multiple perspectives.

To me, holding hands in the general public might seem romantic at first glance, but seriously, it's more un-nerving than romantic, especially on a busy street or mall. While I don't expect to be bashed (though I'm in one of the most redneck city in Canada), I can't enjoy the act when in the back of my mind there's always that nagging voice... that anticipation of some derogatory comments, and the impulse to study everyone's reactions, which could come off as smug or uneasy. I don't mind a little kiss in public, or even holding hands in a quiet park (though it doesn't usually occur to me to take his hands, and he leaves it to me), but holding hands down the streets seems almost like an in-your-face march...

Maybe the boyfriend's values are such that the romantic notion tunes out the rest of the world. Or maybe he's just that fixated on the idea and willfully ignores reality. Even he's told me that he's seen a pair of gay couple on a popular avenue being harassed from one end of a block to the other. Or is it just some kind of test to see how much of my ego I'd surrender?

(I think I made him upset by clearly telling him that I don't enjoy holding hands in public... but I work out of town three weeks per go, so I'm not there to see his reaction)

"Gay couples holding hands will make the GLBT community more visible and thus better accepted yadi yada" aside, what do you guys think?
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Re: Holding Hands in Public

Postby butch » Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:28 am

Back in the 70's my boyfriend and I considered "holding hands" an act of gay liberation... but it was risky in those days, and can be in different places at different times. It's all rather common in Vancouver, but this city is pretty liberal these days.

People aren't going to accept us if we hide all the time. Something else quite "common" in Vancouver is mixed race couples these days. I expect that raises a few eyebrows among some. We have a very large Asian population here, so it's mostly white guy, Asian girl but I've seen it go both ways.

If your boyfriend wants to hold hands you should give it a shot but be aware it may cause some of the weirdos out there to make trouble.

Good luck.
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Re: Holding Hands in Public

Postby Daknee » Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:10 pm

First off Marti PDA will make us more vivible. Kinda like I said on the guys kissing thread, one does not see this very offen in real life. However, straight or gay not everone feels comfortable with PDAs. I do think that if you're.. gay and both feel comfortable doing it then by all means YES, it helps the cause for make the community more visible. But do it only if it's what you want between the two of you not to make a statement.
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Re: Holding Hands in Public

Postby batty » Thu Dec 03, 2009 6:48 pm

Hey Martins! welcome back, long time no hear. Hope all's well in the city of Champions.

Now back to the topic at hand. I share your uneasiness about the whole hand-holding. Now as much as I'm not a fan of handholding, ironically enough, I don't mind a peck on the lips in public (a goodbye kiss). Maybe it's the prolonged-ness of the hand holding, maybe it's because I associate it mostly with the whole "long walks on the beach". But let's be honest, just like using umbrellas, hand-holding is not an activity that is very well adapted to the busy sidewalks of a city. That being said, I'm not a touchy-feely person to start with, so that plays a big part in it, much more than the politics surrounding PDAs.

In a previous relationship, I was also the one to put a lid on it, to my dismay I have to admit. That's because it's a tricky balance to reach, because you are only "rejecting" the act, not the feelings that it expresses. You don't want your guy to get the impression that you are not into him as much as he is into you. But at the end of the day, it's also a matter of respect, of yourself and of him towards you.

On a side note, I saw two average joes kiss on a late-night skytrain (subway) a few weeks ago. It was a refreshing change from the usual intoxicated louts, or the clusters of teens with their annoying cellphone ringtones.

And if you've never seen a straightacting couple hold hands, enjoy the pictures below: :wink:

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Re: Holding Hands in Public

Postby madsglen » Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:42 pm

Interesting topic. I can agree with all sides, I guess. I've never really been big on PDA and with my partner was uncomfortable with it in many situations, but sometimes it was great. For us it wasn't a 'long walk on the beach' thing. Generally it was an affectionate gesture of relatively short duration (he'd grab my hand to pull me over to look at something and hold on for just a bit, etc.) but I know if people around us noticed that it made a statement. Or if we were in a situation where one of us wanted to acknowledge each other or express affection discretely we'd find a hand for a brief moment. Or at the movies sometimes. One thing I miss even now, years after he's been gone, is when he'd grab hold and bring it up for a quick kiss on the back of my hand for no apparent reason sometimes.

My Dad was a hand-holder, especially late in his life. I remember how it made me feel to see him and my Mom holding hands for a little while as they walked somewhere. He did it with my stepmother, too. That took a bit of getting used to but I grew to appreciate it as well. And he did that with me and my brothers in his later years if we were walking somewhere or helping him. He was never a very demostrative man at all. Very quiet and reserved. But that always made me feel good and not a bit uncomfortable. Notice that my oldest brother and my sister-in-law hold hands now too, sometimes.

Intersestingly, holding hands amongst men is a cultural thing. When I was in India this summer I saw men holding hands quite often. Young men on the street, older men, didn't matter. It was a sign of solidarity and affection. A few times when I met people at the various receptions, guys would grab my hand. Took a bit for me not to react negatively so I wasn't giving off body language that would indicate I was displeased or uncomfortable. There were a couple of situations where men I didn't know at all and hadn't even really been introduced would grab my hand and it literally felt like they didn't want to let go! Almost like if they held on to my hand then I'd have to stay and talk with them! And one guy I think was doing it so I'd be next to him in all the 'snaps' his group wanted to take with me in the photo.
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Re: Holding Hands in Public

Postby The Saint » Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:12 pm

I don't know if my experiences will help to answer the original question, but here goes. Was in a ten year relationship and never held hands in public. I was way too self-conscious about it even though I live in NYC. Broke up two years ago and found out that one of the lingering issues was my ex sometimes had doubts about how I really felt about him. Apparently, he needed more reassurances from me and the hand-holding was just one of many indications that could have helped. Fast forward to earlier this year, I was dating a guy and we were walking through Times Square (chock full of tourists). I made the conscious choice to hold his hand throughout as he was not shy about PDA. I had to keep my eyes forward and not look at anyone around to see their reactions, but I did it and I realized that a lot of it was my own fears about being judged being projected onto these strangers. I mean, I probably won't ever see any of them ever again. Once that realization hit, it was easier for me to deconstruct it in my mind and I think that I will be able to do it again if I choose to do so.

Not sure if I had a point other than, try and take baby steps and ease yourself into it if that's where you want to go.
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Re: Holding Hands in Public

Postby Cachasa » Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:00 pm

I don't think Edmonton is that bad. I just moved away 5 months ago.

Although I do understand the issue. I mean if you're walking up and down Jasper ave, Whyte ave or West Edmonton Mall or something you'd probably get some asshole yelling, "Faggots!!" And foresure there would be a lot of people giveing you weird or dirty looks and the other people who are staring but trying to politely avoid makeing it to obvious.. Generally I would hold hands in parks or off the main streets, I found that the Legeslative grounds during the summer at night were a nice quiet romantic spot. Esspecially when the gardens are in full bloom.

The University is also a good place to go. Durring the summer of course.
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