A few months ago, I was talking to one of my friends Ricardo about black and Latino men and their (sometimes) aversion to holding hands in the street with their women.
He told me that he felt it was all a root of black and Latino masculinity issues and how we feel holding hands makes us look weak.
Every girl I’ve been with (dating or a girlfriend) has always had the same complaint about me.
“Why don’t you want to hold my hand?” “When you hold it it feels like you aren’t really into it.” “Just let my hand go if it’s like that.”
My response would always be either: “I don’t do that” or “I’m holding your hand so don’t start complaining about the way I hold it.”
But I soon realized after that conversation with my friend that it was never about a personal preference but about perception. How I felt I would be perceived by others.
“Oh you in love, dog?” “Look at him holding his girl’s hand acting all in love. He’s whipped.”
I remember I told my ex-girlfriend that I thought holding hands made me feel like I was claimed. I got the ice grill for that. I think I even told my current girlfriend that. Same reaction.
The silly part of it all is that I am claimed by her, so as much as it may be a symbol of love or togetherness, it’s part “this right here – he/she is mine.”
In the last few months I’ve changed though. I not only learned from my friend but from other close friends too that showing affection whether kissing in public or holding hands isn’t something to be ashamed of. It doesn’t make you look weak. If anyone feels that you are because of that then they are themselves.
Love is a beautiful thing and the last thing you should be worried about are what other people think. You actually shouldn’t be worried about anyone at all. In a normal world, everyone would look at you holding hands or showing affection as a beautiful thing.
Looking back, I don’t know what made me a non hand holder. I don’t know if it was rap music (blame it on rap, right?) or just a plain old aversion to it (maybe a little bit of that). But it definitely wasn’t my dad because he holds my mom’s hand whenever they go out. They’ve been together for 34 years. And I’m trying to be a little more like him. A little more old-school and traditional.
But hey, I’m changing day by day. I may not hold it consistently but I’m getting up to that level. And there’s surely a lot of things a woman can request of you that are no-no’s, but this doesn’t seem like such a big deal.
In the end, It’s the little things that count and I was really making a big deal out of nothing. If a dude thinks I’m soft for holding my girl’s hand, it’s probably because he isn’t open enough with himself to not just hold hands with his woman (if he has one), but to be emotionally open as well…
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