Late-night perusing Tinder profile pics, swiping right with a slightly boozed daze of desperation…It’s the middle of January and I’ve had more dates with people I’ve met online than I can remember. The city is cold, but buzzing with New Year resolutions. I’m on a date with a charming (and possibly closeted) young man, when, midway through our post-Bourbon wandering down 2nd Ave, I suddenly ask to hold his hand. So here we are: two fruit cakes without anywhere to go or be—who haphazardly fell for each other’s cyber charm—holding hands around Tompkins Square Park.
This may be where it all began. I had certainly always desired something more from dates and even from outings with my friends, but up until then, I did not realize what it was that I was craving. I remember and loved this date for how un-date-like it was. We were lonely, we wanted to touch. We held the moment in our hands.
The touching of hands is electric, strange, and necessary. Unfortunately, interpersonal intimacy—even with those closest to us—can run dry in today’s digital glow. A Hold 2 Hold Project is rooted in our desire and need to connect. While our phones and computers act as incredibly efficient tools for communication, we have become more and more “out of touch” (quite literally) with one another.
Out of this immense feeling of loneliness, and in dealing with my own personal issues of timidity, came the idea to walk with strangers in parks while holding their hands. A concept so simple and strange, but one that feels so right and real.
Admittedly the project, was and is, first about me and my way of challenging social boundaries and confronting my own fears. But as I continue to write, and walk and talk with people, I have realized that the project is not just about me.
This project is about vulnerability. About simple acts of kindness, of walking, of talking, of holding… It is about asking first; engaging in active forms of consent; facing the possibility of rejection (and not taking it personally); allowing things to progress gradually & let be.
Echoing a Peripatetic tradition of Aristotle’s philosophic wanderings, A Hand 2 Hold Project is a practice, a movement, an offering & moment of shared intimacy.
I’ve never been very good at saying hello, even worse at letting go. This project is exposing. It’s awkward, and I am afraid. Indeed, most offerings hold a certain level of discomfort or fear of rejection. But on the other side of fear, is life—and I feel very much alive when talking to strangers. My greatest wish would be that others begin their own hand holding adventures, and that people feel encouraged to reach out to folks that they wouldn’t necessarily immediately think of as potential walking partners.
Finding the courage to say, “I want to hold your hand” is a great sign of peace and love, something that can be used and practiced with loved ones as much as strangers who may be in need of support.
Oh yeah I tell you somethin’
I think you’ll understand
When I say that somethin’
I want to hold your hand
Thank you so much for visiting my page and for reading this first introductory post.
I hope to see or hear from you soon, and to be able to offer my hand to hold.
Contact ToHoldAHand@gmail.com for more information or to share your own hand holding stories.
Instagram/Twitter @AHand2Hold #AH2H #toholdahand #ahand2hold