Valentine's Day

by Lee Santiva February. 14, 2020 155 views


Today's blog takes an opposing view on love locks for Valentine's Day.

There is a selfishness in the vandalism of placing locks which ruin the view, the environment or endanger a historic structure, just for an Instagram shot. Is it really about love and romance or just about clicks and likes? There are approx. 219,000 posts on Instagram with the hashtag #lovelocks.

What is the symbolism of placing a lock on a chain-link fence for everyone to see? The metal locks will corrode over time, that is, if the lock doesn't get cut off and thrown away first. The young "Fridays for Future" are demonstrating to save the environment. These are the same young people who think nothing of how a heavy, corrosive, metal lock can ruin the environment. It makes no sense.

When I was young, the symbol of "lasting love" was a hand-carved heart on a tree trunk in the woods where we had gone to sneak off from watchful eyes of the family to kiss. It had a nice symbolism: the heart grows as the tree grows. And it was a secret, hidden back in the woods, which only we knew about.

Bianca & Mario in the Austrian Alps

Bianca & Mario in the Austrian Alps

The lovelocks are appearing everywhere, even where you wouldn't expect one to be at an altitude of 1425 meters after a 60 minute hike. They have become a scourge.

The Bianca & Mario heart in photos #1 and #2 enjoys a spectacular view of the Austrian Alps and right now is alone on the fence. When I go on vacation to spend time in nature, I want to enjoy the natural beauty and not see a lovelock.

At least there is not yet the masses of locks like on the Love Rock in Heidelberg. Such a remote location and strenuous hike will keep lazy Instagramers away :-) or at least it has for the past two years now.

Love lock on a rusty chain.

Love lock on a rusty chain.

Recently, while walking along the shore of the Rhine River near Speyer in Germany, I discovered some individual love locks on a rusted, retired ship named "Paul". See also my blog Unchain My Heart.

Fixating a lock onto a rusty chain on a rotting ship is not the sort of symbolism I would choose if I wanted to represent my love and my relationship.

Perhaps this couple thought of the symbolism in a different way: the strong lock and the thick chains are a symbol of the strength and power which their love has to endure over time.

Translation: "Two hearts, one love!"

Translation: "Two hearts, one love!"

The cynic in me was awakened when I discovered the absolute pinnacle of commercialism in my local grocery store: a "love lock set" including an engraving pen for just €9,99, on display right next to packages of socks.

That is a sign for me that the love lock trend has transformed from individual and romantic to crassly commercial. However, the trend has peaked now that it's at grocery store level.

Love Lock Set with engraving pen in Germany

Love Lock Set with engraving pen in Germany

My hope is that lovers will find a new and sustainable way to express themselves...

... which doesn't ruin the environment or historical structures...

Paul's graffiti heart - black & white

Paul's graffiti heart - black & white

On this Valentine's Day are you a romantic or a cynic?

Join the conversation
There are 9 comments , add yours!
Buster Bruce 6 days, 5 hours ago

I did enjoy your post and your photos Lee.  I dont know about this lock thing... Ive never seen it before. I will make my comment simple: I love my wife to the moon and back- over 25 yrs now. I enjoy Valentines day cause I get to brag about her to all my friends. Of course our expression is a daily thing but that special day kinda brings into a peak. This year I splurged and bought her diamond sapphire rings. Tonight its wine, cheese, and appetizers at our favorite restaurant. So I guess Im a romantic in a private way! By the way- Happy Valentine to you; your posts are an inspiration to me

6 days, 5 hours ago Edited
Lee Santiva Replied to Buster Bruce 5 days, 17 hours ago

Thanks for commenting on today’s blog and sharing your story.
Congratulations on your silver wedding anniversary! Your Valentine‘s Day sounds wonderful. How fortunate you are to have each other

5 days, 17 hours ago Edited
Benny Law 6 days, 9 hours ago

I don't celebrate Valentine's Day, and love locks make no sense to me the way they are used. I think if someone wants to do something to express their love to another person, it should be between the two. Things like the 5 love languages ( to express and nourish love are a lot more meaningful and practical. Polluting the environment with chunks of metal that they will probably never see again is indeed a selfish act. Carving names, dates, hearts, etc. on public properties is even worse because they are permanent damages and can't be removed like the locks. This post is a good reminder to think twice before doing something "small" that may seem cool but may have a negative impact on others and the environment. 🙂

6 days, 9 hours ago Edited
Lee Santiva Replied to Benny Law 5 days, 17 hours ago

Thanks for taking the time to comment on my blog! I‘m glad the „opposing view“ is appreciated. I checked out the link but it doesn‘t go into much detail, nonetheless it seems like a very good approach.
As my mother would say „would ya think before you do something!“ maybe it‘s a generational thing?

5 days, 17 hours ago Edited
Berckmans Peter 6 days, 15 hours ago

Maybe somebody, a young couple or someone secretly in love started with just a lock. To out his or her feelings. Now it is over the top and became a business. Same as all holidays. We have to get back in touch with our feelings and act on them not what we made of it.

6 days, 15 hours ago Edited
Lee Santiva Replied to Berckmans Peter 6 days, 6 hours ago

Thanks for commenting Peter! Why can't the younger generation see it the way we do? Were we so blind when we were younger? I think there wasn't as much commercialism 30-40 years ago. Christmas was a couple of days a year and didn't start in August. 
I absolutely agree, we need to get back in touch with feelings and show them in a way that doesn't involve something material.

6 days, 6 hours ago Edited
Björn Roose 6 days, 20 hours ago

I am a romantic, every day, not just on this day. And a realist (which can get quite close to a cynic, but is not bitter). And I was thinking when we were talking about setting up a shop in these things that somebody probably had already done that ... Honestly, these locks mean nothing, they are just another sign of the outwardness and the mass mentality of these days. This thing will, like all other things fitting that sign of the times, gradually stop.

6 days, 20 hours ago Edited
Lee Santiva Replied to Björn Roose 6 days, 16 hours ago

Good morning Bjoern, I expected that you would see the thoughts in this blogpost in a similar way. Based on your comments I was inspired to adjust the text which I just did. I'm glad PB allows for edits after publication.
 It's about selfish vandalism and ruining beautiful things just for an Instagram shot and I don't think I got that across very well.
and I can forget about setting up the lovelock shop to pay off my new heater now that they are so cheap and available at the grocery store sleepy

6 days, 16 hours ago Edited
Lee Santiva Replied to Lee Santiva 6 days, 16 hours ago

PS I also worked in a shot at the "Fridays for Future" protestors in my rant smile

6 days, 16 hours ago Edited