I don't wanna hold your hand
“I’ve been out of love for so long that now when I see a couple holding hands I think ‘Oh cool. They must be filming a movie.’”
Okay, yes. I just quoted one of my jokes. But it’s true. The simple act of holding hands has become not only foreign to me but kinda scary. I think hand holding is one of the most intimate things you can do with someone. The interlocking fingers. The suction. The touching of webbing between our fingers. Gross.
In the few years I’ve committed to embracing my sexuality, I’ve simultaneously started rejecting hand holding. At this point I rather ask someone to spit in my mouth instead of touch their fingers. Every new person I’ve been involved with I make sure to tell them about my dislike of PDA. But I’m not a cold person. In fact, I’m a very touchy person. A tap on the arm here. A brush of the leg there. I love oxytocins. But the touch of someone’s hand feels less exhilarating and more loss of freedom. I’m attached to another person. Might as well put a ring on my ring finger and a bun in my oven. Okay, I’m being dramatic, but have you seen those couples who insist on holding hands even though they walk at different speeds? Is someone in trouble? Are you late? No thank you! I didn’t go to college to have to walk at a different pace than my own.
I know my fear of hand holding is only going to get worse. My intimacy tolerance diminishes with each year I push it away. Ever have a drink with someone who hasn’t in awhile? It doesn’t take much for them to start giggling. Being a lightweight is great (and cost-effective) when it comes to drinking. Being a lightweight when it comes to intimacy is not as cute.
Dr. Tiffany Field, director of the Touch Research Institute, which is either the best or worst place in the world, said in a 2016 Huffington Post article, “When the fingers are interlaced and someone is holding your hand, they’re stimulating pressure receptors [that trigger] what’s called vagal activity.” And while vagal activity sounds like something vagina-related, be assured it is not. “When there’s pressure in the touch, the heart rate goes down, the blood pressure goes down, and you’re put in a relaxed state.” In other words, holding someone’s hand chills you the eff out. Well, WTF? I love chilling out!
Recently someone took my hand as we walked. He was well aware of my anti-PDA stance so when he went for it, I tensed up.
We both knew he was rebelling. He looked at me and smiled. “See? It’s not so bad.” I giggled nervously. He was right. It wasn’t so bad. And later on in the evening, when we became the couple at the bar making out in their booth, the couple I hate, the couple I point to and proclaim my usual, “I hate PDA.”, I had a revelation and pulled away to announce it:
“I think I say I don’t like PDA to people...because I don’t like them.”
The people who have been in and out of my life have been great. Okay, they’ve been fine. But in the back of my head I always knew they weren’t a fit for the version of me who does want to be intimate. The version of me who does want to go deeper. The version of me who is my ultimate true self. Maybe I do like PDA and hand holding and all the wonderful intimate things you can do with a person, as long as that person is someone I feel myself around. Someone I’m being both inwardly and outwardly honest.
I think I’m over wearing my fear of intimacy like a badge of honor. I’m ready for a new badge. Stella got her groove back, but, baby, I’m getting my hands back.