They’re everywhere. Hundreds and hundreds of personalized padlocks decorate the bridges of even the smallest of European towns. That is, of course, if they haven’t already been banned. The small declarations of love are causing a lot of headache for city councils as the rails are filled with tons of metal that subsequently damage the bridge and cause a safety risk for the citizens.
The love lock idea was originally produced by Federico Moccia in his book Ho Voglia Di Te (translated in English as I want you and first published in 2006). In the novel lovers tie up a chain around a lamp post on Ponte Milvio as a symbol for their steadfast love and throw the key into the Tiber. Many readers found the idea delightful and began to mimic the act first in Rome and later in other capitals such as Paris and Dublin.
Now that the bridges are burdened with lumps of metal, the European cities try to decide whether they are dealing with a charming tourist trend or vandalism. A campaign named No Love Locks began earlier this year in Paris with the objective of banning the love locks. Not only do the Parisians consider the locks to be an eyesore concealing the otherwise beautiful monument of architecture but they also recognize the danger the weight of the padlocks create on the bridges’ structure and for the people who might be injured or even killed by the impact of a falling padlock while traveling under the bridge.
What began as a romantic, unique idea has clearly become overused. There is nothing original about locking an extra lock on a rail already cluttered with padlocks. If anything, having a love lock in a possibly distant and clichéd travel destination is impractical. If a man really needs a token as a reminder of his love for his significant other, wouldn’t it be easier if it was at least moderately mobile? Perhaps a plant or a ring? And for those wishing for the token to be more “unique” and “personal”: you may make a child.
Some useful articles on the topic for those who wish to find out more:
The Guardian: Campaign Calls for Paris ‘love locks’ to be banned
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