View Full Version : I want to hold your hand ... but I won't

06-30-05, 04:11 AM
Borrowed from Mark aka The Fontman

I want to hold your hand ... but I won't
June 29,2005

I've been a Marine wife for seven years, and yet I still try to hold my husband's hand when he's in uniform. I should know better. Oh, he's polite about it, gently but firmly putting my hand in its place, which is to say, by my side and not his. I've asked him about this.

"It's not done," he tells me, but I've always thought that was more his own private rule than the military's. He's a pretty low-key guy and doesn't draw attention to himself.

During a tour of the Marine Barracks three months ago, I came across a female Marine who is also a protocol expert. When I got her alone, I asked whether it's OK to hold hands with a uniformed service member. Indoors, say, at the Birthday Ball? No, she told me. At a promotion ceremony? No. At a parade? No. On a base parking lot? No. In our front yard? Well, if you must.

Now I finally get the idea behind the policy, and I have Tom Cruise to thank for it. Anyone watching the Oprah show in the last few weeks, or any movie premiere, or any news show, for that matter, has seen the ad nauseam display of affection between him and his new girlfriend/fiancee, Katie Holmes. There has been jumping up and down on couches, repeated cries of "She's magnificent!" and lots of public deep kissing - I won't go into details in a family newspaper, but then again you've probably seen it. It's gross. I say this as someone who was downright dazzled by the charming Cruise in "Risky Business." And he's gotten better looking with age, still impossibly handsome with gray hair in "Collateral."

What I never expected, not in a million years, is that he would ever begin to frighten me. Well, he's done that; and in the era of "The Surreal Life," I don't scare easy.

I don't know what's more disturbing about TomKat's public displays of affection: the frenzied groping, the near-hysterical push to merge into symbiotic oneness or each of them kissing with one eye open to see if anyone's watching. It's unbelievable that one of the world's best-recognized and best-loved actors is acting so ... tacky.

Even a little innocent handholding has TomKat potential. After all, it's the tip of a slippery slope that could lead to prolonged hugs with your Marine, sitting on his lap, cooing each other's nicknames in public: "Oh, my darling smoochy smooch." That should go over well with his buddies.

The latest Marine Corps Uniform Regulations make it clear that "wearing the uniform should be a matter of personal pride to all Marines. Marines are known not just for their battlefield prowess, but for their unparalleled standards of professionalism and uncompromising personal conduct and appearance ... Any activity, which detracts from the dignified appearance of Marines, is unacceptable." TomKatting around is probably on the short list of those activities, so I'd better learn to behave myself.

Ironically, it's when my husband is in uniform, when I'm reminded of his goodness and courage and strength, and I'm reminded that our time together is brief before he'll deploy again - that's when I most want to reach for his hand.