A Padlock to Symbolize Your Love?

Lots more room here on the Pont des Arts.

We’re not talking chastity belts, or anything kinky that might involve leather hoods or overly complex harnesses.  Ever consider symbolizing your loving relationship with a lock?  Europeans in many cities have started in on this a few years ago, and it is something we noted last year on Via dell’Amore while doing a day trip to the Cinque Terre.   Apparently, each time you revisit a place, celebrate an anniversary, or find an unused lock on your person and happen to be in the area…you too could attach another to, or next to, the previous one to demonstrate to the world that your relationship is still alive and well.

Who started the love padlock idea seems to be a bit of a mystery.  It’s an interesting alternative to the timeworn practice of carving your initials into a tree or the fresh cement on a sidewalk, then enveloping all in a heart…maybe with Cupid’s arrow neatly puncturing it’s way in, then out.  Why not purchase a lock from a nearby vendor and Sharpie your names onto the securing device, with of course that same heart-shaped scrawl around those illegible initials.  Prior planning could even provide for engraving, if the budget is there.  Add a couple lipstick kisses on each side of the lock, and climb high onto a structure and clipping the lock in place at a point where everyone can see  the result of your actions.    Finish it off with a warm embrace and casting of the key into the ocean, nearby pond or unused well.  Sounds oh so romantic, and much cheaper than a ring of any sort.

But why the lock?  A lock, appears to be permanent but really only as permanent as the structure it’s hanging from.  Bridges get replaced.  City crews come by occasionally with lock cutters in hand to remove this perceived fence clutter as a ‘safety’ issue.  Scrap metal collectors may look at that symbol of commitment as an extra dime at the recyclers.  Sure a lock is more permanent than flowers, and planting a tree to symbolize your bond requires so many more tools…plus property to do the deed.  A lock isn’t eternal, it only means that if someone comes along with the right tools, and presses the right buttons, that object of meaning can become unshackled.

Does size matter?  What about colour and material?  Does price matter, or could a cheap lock be bejeweled in a way to hide the fact it used to secure your gymshorts in high school?  How do you justify the combination lock to that beloved partner?  Maybe a couple shots of absinthe and a shredder to remove both physical and mental evidence?  How does she know that you haven’t committed that combo to heart in the event you want to open that lock again one day?  Sounds like it’s time for a little interviewing…oh yeah, no Italiano.

The bike lock I find to be interesting.  In the end it’s all just a light-hearted display that shouldn’t be mulled over too intensely.  Some may think it’s a disgrace, and near equivalent to graffiti.  I wonder if a similar mass project in Vancouver could also be accomplished.  Critical Mass gained popularity?  Sure Vancouver isn’t the most romantic town out there, but there must be a few sights worthy of coloured locks all displayed for public show.  The wiki on love padlocks does note that close to home in Ucluelet, locks adorn the Wild Pacific Trail…but these locks are seen to detract from the atmosphere.  How about something more urban?  Lover’s Locks on Cambie?  The Cambie Street Bridge because of the centrality and significant foot traffic, plus the terrible green railings that could use a splash of color to brighten the mass of concrete it is.

Maybe overlooking the fancy boats and Science World isn’t quite what you had in mind.

One thought on “A Padlock to Symbolize Your Love?

  1. ronvanstreun

    I think it’s a great idea, Chris! Carving up a tree has always seemed wrong! Maybe the city would contemplate an artsy piece of fence along the Seawall or we could attach locks to the wire sculpture next to the Aquatic Centre. Hey, which fancy boats are you talking about? Probably not the Golden Eagle, the Beldis, the Abitibi or the Queen of Diamonds:)

    I’m sure you and Melanie attached a huge lock:)

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