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That Heart Hand Sign

Posted on 7th Feb 2012 @ 8:41 AM

We've seen peace signs, time-out signals, victory gestures and plenty of high fives, but more recently we've been seeing celebrities, and especially musical performers, placing their hands together to form the shape of a heart. 

Many say it's just people trying to “spread the love” without actually saying it. Party-goers make it when having their picture taken, and there are even websites pretty much devoted to such photographs. Occasionally, you'll catch it in a person's social media profile shot.

Whatever the reason or original source, we're glad this positive and loving sign has risen in popularity. To make it, point thumbs down and touching, then curl the index fingers on both hands to form the top of the heart. Two people can also make one together, which becomes a real version of the best-friends-forever or boyfriend-and-girlfriend-forever hearts or lockets that break apart so each person wears one half on a gold chain, and they become whole when joined back together.

The “heart-hand,” as it is known, has been flashed by many stars including Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Jennie Garth, Wynonna Judd, Channing Tatum, Usher, Steven Tyler, Janet Jackson, Justin Bieber, and Blake Lively. You've probably seen the photographs both online and in print.

A lot has been written about Taylor Swift, who says she started using the heart-hand sign in high school. “The heart-hand symbol means something between I love you and thank you,” Swift said in an email from her 'Speak Now' tour, describing it as a sweet, simple message that can be delivered without saying a word. When she was still an unknown and trying different things to get a response from her audience, she was in the middle of a song and decided to put her hands above her head in the heart shape. The crowd imitated the gesture and started cheering. Mission accomplished.

It may just be a trend and not become as universally recognizable as the 70s peace sign, but thanks to smartphones and other technology, it didn't take long for this nonverbal communication to spread. It was almost instant. 

Taylor Swift, perhaps more than most, feels the power of the heart-hand sign. “When the moment is just right and the crowd is screaming louder than any sound I ever imagined I’d hear,” she wrote. “I just want to tell them I love them over and over, but sometimes the simplest thing to do is to make a sign with your hands.” 

To tell someone you love them over and over, give them a simple symbol that says so much, a heart-shaped pendant on a gold chain.