The love lock fad has spread throughout Europe and across the globe, including here in the U.S.
Many couples seem to feel that the ultimate symbol of romance is to carve, write, or engrave their names on a padlock, clamp it to a bridge and throw the key into the water. Supposedly, this locks the couple together. The only way to sever the love bond is to retrieve the key and remove the lock. Remember, it's been tossed into a waterway, so there's slim to no chance of retrieval.
As for ourselves, we don't buy into this romantic fantasy which is akin to metal litter. We certainly don't need a lock for prove ❤️ after many years of togetherness.
|Us in much earlier years|
That's because today, we're marking a year short of 25 years together. It's not our wedding anniversary that's 22 years in August. Instead, May 16 is the anniversary not only of our 1st date, but of our first in person meet-up.
As some regular readers of this blog, may or may not know, we met online and emailed for several months — message exchanges only, no phone calls. This was way before the days of online social media, remember this was nearly 25 years ago and more like the exchanges between Kathleen (Meg Ryan) and Joe (Tom Hanks) in the film You've Got Mail. As for love locks, our favorites are kissing and hand holding (no further details here).
|A look back to other early days after we met|
Federico Moccia, an Italian writer, screenwriter, and film director has been credited to his 2006 novel, Ho Voglia di Te (I Want You) in which two young lovers secure a padlock to a street lamp on the Ponte Milvio bridge, then toss the key in the Tiber River, citing a legend that couples who do so will never break up. The 58-year old author, publicly took credit for putting the first lock on that historic bridge in northern Rome, Italy.
Of course, couples flocked to follow his example (sort of like sheep) and placed padlocks on lamp posts and railings on the Ponte Milvio, throwing lock keys into the Tiber. Less than 10 years later, the lamp post partially collapsed due to the weight of the locks on much of the bridge. City officials cut off the locks after fines didn't deter additions, but more have been added in the years since.
Which goes to show that too much togetherness can cause collapses, perhaps for many of those relationships too. Okay, back to the padlocks which, after time, don’t do well in the elements. Rusted metal spreads which can then lead to rusted bridges which jeopardizes their stability. Many popular love lock sites have been on more vulnerable historic bridges. Then, there's all the waterways that collect those rusting metal keys that are impossible to salvage.
|Locks removed from Pont des Arts (Internet)|
The Paris incident made this trend front page news in cities that earlier had considered it harmless romanticism. Love locks have proliferated and many municipal authorities regard them as litter or vandalism, and there's always a cost to the removal. Other cities turned the trend into a fundraiser or tourist attraction.
And, it's here in New England as well. This was what we recently saw in a Portsmouth, NH, park along a stretch of river fencing. It was the first installation we had ever seen.
|Love Locks in Prescott Park, Portsmouth, NH|
There were dozens of padlocks on these chain link fences. Many, but not all, bore the names and/or initials (or both) of couples, either engaged or married and many had significant dates included as well. On a chilly and overcast day, too early for blooms and fountains, looking at and reading the lock engravings made this fence a point of interest. The fencing has not yet been completely obscured by the padlocks.
|Elizabeth Barrett Browning|
Ms. Browning expressed the concept of love very simply and eloquently in her renowned Sonnet 43 from Sonnets from the Portuguese, a collection of 44 love sonnets. (This poem is in the public domain.)
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
As for ourselves, we are not installing a padlock on a bridge or fence to prove our love. In nearly a quarter of a century together, it's very probable that's been longer than many couples who have placed a love lock. Instead, we're going on a(nother) New England getaway.