Red rover, red rover, unhand each other and move over

I’m not a real physically affectionate person.

Sure, I’ll give my kids an occasional passing pat on the head, and my wife and I have a firm handshake goodnight at the end of each evening. But that’s really quite enough.

Ha! I kid, of course. I understand that physical affection is a critical way of showing how you feel about people in your life. That said, I am not a fan of showing everyone how you feel about people in your life constantly with aggressive make-out sessions for the whole world to see. I think most people agree with this. I can say with great certainty that, should I ever change said opinion and try and encourage my wife to become a public affection exhibition, she would not only rebuff my advances, but probably loudly state, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?!?!?!”

And well she should. But there is another component of physical affection that pops up on occasion in our world. It seems fine, and even sweet, at first glance. And if you are one of the offending parties, you probably think it’s harmless enough. But I am here to tell you that sometimes, it’s not.

I base this on my recent lunch jaunt in which I sought a slice of pizza for noon-time sustenance. There’s a pizza place about six blocks from where I work, and it’s an easy place to hit when I need a quick lunch on the fly. Unfortunately, I chose to grab this lunch during National Hold Hands and Block the Sidewalk Day.

During my attempt to get to my pizza establishment, I encountered six different couples who were so in love that they could not separate their hands from each other, and thus occupied the entire width of the sidewalk..

The first one was a younger couple. They moseyed about, hands held, sidewalk blocked. The next couple was an older couple, which triggers this response: “Aww, so cute. Still in love. Now please free up the sidewalk so I can get some pizza.”

I’m not sure what the demographics of the remaining ones were, as I just went into “REALLY? AGAIN?” mode.

During each encounter, my choice was then to either launch an impromptu game of Red Rover or leave the sidewalk and pass them on the street, where I would likely be clipped by a car. Lose lose. You might suggest that there was a third option, which was to just slow down behind them, but for some reason, people holding hands tend to travel only slightly faster than the buildings they are passing.

Look, I get that you are in love. You have taken two souls and become one. It’s just absolutely beautiful. You know what else is beautiful? Not blocking the sidewalk. The two of you can be beautifully in love AND walk single file. It’s an amazing thing.

I know what you’re saying. You’re saying, “Mike, you’re just in such a big city rush that you can’t stop to appreciate those in love.” To which I say, “Sure. Fine. Now unhand each other and let me get through.”

OK, let me take a deep breath and not be Angry Mike. I have no problem with people holding hands in public. Truth be told, I think it’s sweet, especially the older you get. If you’re a couple twice my age and you’re strolling along, hands clutched, more power to you. I hope my wife and I have that same kind of relationship when we’re older. But I also hope we don’t block the sidewalk when you want some pizza.

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C., and now lives in Charleston. A graduate of the University of Alabama, you can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.

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