Monday, February 3, 2014

You Need Hands by J.P. Bowie

There was a corny old song made popular in the Dark Ages by British comedian Max Bygraves
You need hands
To hold someone you care for
You need hands
To show that you're sincere
When you feel
Nobody wants to know you
You need hands
To brush away your tear
When you hold a brand new baby
You need tender hands to guide them on their way
You need hands
To thank the Lord for living
And for giving us this day

A bit puke making but it reminded me just how much we do need hands, and what a huge part they play in our everyday shenanigans. Hands are in themselves erotic, or at least bring erotic moments into our lives. I used to get a sexual thrill when I was younger when the phrase 'they engaged in hand-to-hand combat' was used in descriptions of battles. I could envision all those bare chested sweaty men grappling and heaving each other about, hands firmly grasped around biceps and torsos. God, I feel quite faint right now!

Hands can be big or finely made, short and stubby or long fingered, rough and calloused or soft and pink - not crazy about that last description for a man's hands - most men in my stories have big hands so there's no doubt they're big in all the right places. Big and calloused but soft and tender when needed, the hands that is. A hand can be used as a sign of someone's character. When a handshake is strong and firm it can give you a good feeling about the person. If it's weak and (my pet horror) damp, there's a real effort needed not to cut that handshake short as possible. Of course on the other hand (groan) when it's overdone, and your fingers are scrunched together in someone's big ham of a hand it can be plain annoying.

Hands can be so many things: welcoming, scolding, loving, clenched into a fist ready to sock you one, they can grip, they can caress, they can tremble, they can supplicate, they can be wrung, they can be used to communicate with the deaf, they can paint or sculpt and they can write great literature, well when there's a gifted brain to go with them. They show up in all sorts of phrases - we walked hand in hand, we clasped our hands together, he was all hands, I called him handy Andy, he gave me a helping hand, I was putty in his hands.

I Wanna Hold Your Hand. The Beatles song reminds me of other song titles:
Your Tiny Hand Is Frozen
Take My Hand (I'm a Stranger in Paradise)
One Hand, One Heart
He's Got the Whole World in His Hands to name but a few.

Hands are important. Without them we would be handicapped (groan) or handless as my mother used to say when I would be more than usually clumsy. We can admire others handiwork, or someone who is handsome, we can appreciate a bird in the hand, or balk when someone is underhanded. I could go on, but one final point. According to some publishers no longer can hands glide over a beautiful body, or caress a cheek, or grip a cock. That's now termed an 'independent body movement'. So my hand cannot grip a bountiful ass cheek, but I can grip a bountiful ass cheek with my hand.

On that note, I wave my hand and bid you good day.


  1. A deliciously encylopedic post, JP!

    When it comes to IBP, I push back. Using a part to refer to the whole is a well-known type of figurative language (synecdoche). Sure it can be overdone, but it's a way of varying the sentence structure and should not be condemned out of hand,any more than -ly adverbs or passive voice. Every construction has its place!

  2. What a delightful post, JP. You've about covered it all here, hand-wise. Re: breaking the rules re: modifiers see Steve Issac's ERWA Storytime quickie 'Season's by the Sea' for one of his off-the wall, rule-breaking masterpieces. I'm sure it'll make next season's Gallery.

  3. When I was a kid I honestly thought I'd composed the tune to Stranger in Paradise. Like, I thought it had come out of my head and never existed before. Then I heard the song and I was... deflated.

  4. Very clever post! Amazing just how many words have "hand" at their root. I guess these old opposable thumbs with their 4 other digits are pretty integral to so much of our lives.

    I read that if the ring finger is longer than the pointer finger, that shows that as a fetus you were exposed to more testosterone in your Mama's womb than the person with equal digits, or the pointer finger longer. What the hell does that tell you? Nothing much...but still, it's an interesting factoid about fingers. (my ring fingers are a good 1/2 inch longer than the pointers.)

  5. As an editor I usually let "independent body movements" get by, except the ones about eyes. "My eyes moved over her…" or "my eyes clung to her" or "he undressed her with his eyes" or whatever. Whenever possible I suggest "gaze" instead.

    A far as hands go, I can generally let them move at will. But sometimes I'm reminded of the Tom Lehrer song that begins:
    I hold your hand in mine, dear,
    I press it to my lips.
    I take a healthy bite
    From your dainty fingertips.

    My joy would be complete, dear,
    If you were only here,
    But still I keep your hand
    As a precious souvenir.

    1. OMG, Sacchi! Shades of high school! But absolutely perfect for this topic!

  6. Sacchi reminded me I forgot to mention a movie I watched on TCM that gave me the creeps for weeks after - The Beast with Five Fingers starring (I think) Peter Lorre. About a disembodied hand that crawled around strangling those who had offed its owner. Avoid it if you're prone to nightmares!

  7. There is another movie about a man who loses his hand and has another one grafted on -- but the new one belonged to a murderer, and it can't be controlled. Creepy stuff.

  8. Lots of fun with language here, JP. :) I love your comment about hand-to-hand combat in particular—makes me want to go read The Iliad.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.