Kissing,stroking and wild embraces are common enough, but now the quiet,romantic gesture of holding hands in public is a final frontier formany young couples in the west-
even though, traditionally it wasthe first step towards intimacy。
Power coupleson the world stage have taken to handholding as a sign of equalityand commitment. The Obamas are often snapped hand-in-hand. UK PrimeMinister Gordon
Brown and his wife parade with fingers entwined.And Nicolas Sarkozy and wife Carla Bruni are notorious for their public affection.
That very fact--that it's a simple but powerful statement of commitment--isexactly what deters many young people from linkinghands.
There is nopublic display of affection more intimate between two people than handholding, writes New York bachelor Jozen, on his blog. "Holdinghands is the ultimate sign that
two people are not only together,but happily so. Couples kiss madly, hug madly. But hold handsmadly? Oh no, they don't do that."
Public Displayof Affection is so common and varied that it's earned its ownacronym, the PDA.
I was recentlyin London sharing a coffee with my uncle, who's in his 50s. When wewent to leave a teenage couple was wildly embracing and kissing inthe doorway in front of us.
"If they really loved each other theywouldn't feel the need to do that," he muttereddisapprovingly.
SarahMaddock, a 26-year-old Londoner, explains that a lot of youngpeople aren't thinking about the long term when they date someone:"Kissing and touching are fueled by
passion and don't necessarilymean people plan to be together forever. But a couple quietlyholding hands shows something deeper."
In the fastpaced, constantly changing world of youth where everything ispermitted, but nothing is certain, people have time for passion butare scared of the commitment of love.
Behavior changesas people age but still many older couples don't share physicalcontact in public.
Sometimes,this is due to time. People are too busy with work or kids to sharesmall intimacies. And there may simply not be enough space in ourcrowded cities.
an arm over your shoulder inpublic when he or she always did before. It is a sign that a breakup is imminent."
Going hand-in-hand may not only be asign of a sturdy relationship but may also have healthbenefits.
Holdingthe hand of a loved one reduces pain during times of distress,according to a recent study by psychologists at the University ofCalifornia.
Another studyby an American psychology professor, Julianne Holt-Lunstad, showedthat support between couples reduces stress. One important way thatpeople express this
support, researchers say, is through"non-sexual, caring physical touch, such ashand-holding".
Subtle shows of affection maybe increasingly rare in our frenzied world. However, if thestatesmen can teach us anything perhaps it's that a little handholding wouldn't go amiss.