An Open Letter to Couples Who Put Locks on Bridges
I get it. You are in love. This is your first vacation together and second “big step” after getting that hypoallergenic cat. It's sweet. So you want to cement your commitment to each other by clamping a lock on a quaint European bridge and throwing away the key. But aren’t there other ways to celebrate your unfettered affection? Rings? Letters? Another cat? There has to be a better symbol of your commitment than a Master Lock marred by your initials.
Let me paint a little picture: you are in Paris, the quintessential city of love, or warmed by Guinness and walking along the River Liffey in Dublin, or enjoying the Christmas markets of Cologne, and you come across a bridge where others have affixed countless locks. Immediately, your heart is aflutter. We should absolutely do this (!!), you both say at the same time, confirming, of course, that you're absolutely of the same mind and totally meant to be together. Oh, and look how convenient! There's a man selling locks right by the side of the bridge. It's kismit!
Hold up. Slowly take a step back from the railing. First, that guy selling locks? If he's not the dude pickpocketing tourists outside the Louvre, he's at least a padlock privateer, separating starry-eyed lovebirds from their hard-earned euros by peddling overpriced wares. Not to rehash Econ 101 or anything, but by positioning himself where the need is greatest, he can now gouge you for a child-sized lock that will most likely fall off the bridge during the next Parisian rainstorm; callously washing your commitment into the river with it.
But if you won’t listen to basic economics, maybe you will listen to the sound of the bridge collapsing. That’s right, if your cheap-ass lock does not fall off on its own, it will certainly come down when the bridge does. See, by placing that lock you are actually killing the bridge. Don’t kill the bridge, man! If you don't believe me, here are some stats.
Back in 2014, part of the so-called “Love Lock Bridge” in Paris actually collapsed, and locks had to be removed. Throughout the years, many petitions have been raised to ban this heinous crime of love-locking. Locks had to be removed from Ha'penny Bridge back in 2010 by the Dublin City Council and 5,500 padlocks were also taken off the Ponte Vecchio bridge by the Florence City Council. See, the bridge itself hates you.
Knowing all this, if you still feel the need to partake in this crazy ceremony, could you at least be a little less obnoxious about it? Take one photo of the event, maybe two. But a photo of every single stage of the process??? You photograph the writing of your initials, both your hands cradling the lock, the actual placing of the lock, then you have a stranger take a photo of you standing in front of the bridge. That stranger will probably be me. That photo will be blurry (on purpose).
This obsessive photo shoot is blocking the folks who are actually using the bridge to commute, or those who want just ONE scenic photo of the bridge itself. Call me cold, call me heartless, but when you post your quad-photo on Instagram with a Hudson filter, each square proclaiming your love, or God forbid you actually post four different photos with four different filters, I guarantee you will become, “that couple,” the one that all your followers love to hate.
Please, for the love of God, for the love of your friends, and for the love of antique structures spanning famous bodies of water across the world, stop putting locks on bridges.
Your semi-affectionate single friend,