PERSPECTIVE: A Guide to Union’s Sidewalk Couples

By Miles Randall
This article is dedicated to educating the Union University student on the phenomenon that is the sidewalk couple. For those readers who are either new to Union or have simply never looked up from their phones, the sidewalk couple is when hormones dictate traveling procedure. This occurs when two people of opposite genders decide on walking together to their destination. Though this sounds innocent enough, many unfortunate consequences can arise from this.


For instance, merely walking next to each other is rarely enough and they often resort to holding hands or even walking in a side hug. Adding to this is that to demonstrate their undying love for each other, the couple will often hold hands so tightly in what is occasionally a white knuckled grip. This creates a traffic issue, as any one coming the opposite way must either divert to the left or right to avoid either receiving an arm to the throat or tripped. This can have unfortunate side effect if there is a parked car or a mud puddle on either side of the sidewalk. In addition, even for those pedestrians who are going the way of the couple, their pace is often not as leisurely and they are forced to also get off the sidewalk or walk behind the couple and be serenaded by their sweet nothings.
Another problem arising from the sidewalk couple is their innate ability to lose track of their surroundings. This often leads to them wandering in front of moving vehicles on a crosswalk or into the paths of oncoming pedestrians. Many times this will leave them ignorant of the fact that someone wishes to either speak to them or ask them to not hog the sidewalk. Though several problems arise from their lack of attention, there is another danger as well.


Many times during a sidewalk couples’ journey they will eventually be overcome by each other’s presence. When this happens they will stop without warning and either stare longingly into their significant other’s eyes or become lost in a romantic embrace. This often occurs in front of a dorm or in the middle of a sidewalk. This becomes hazardous to any unfortunate pedestrian or bicyclist who happens to be behind them, as they must either stop or go into evasive maneuvers. This occurrence is especially hazardous when it occurs on a crosswalk in front of oncoming traffic. Unfortunately, when this occurs there is very little hope of snapping them out of it and the only thing to do is wait until the moment passes.
Nearly every sidewalk couple displays these characteristics. However, there are also sidewalk couples that demonstrate unique characteristics. Several of these variants are as follows.
The “Accidental” Couple
This variant is often composed of two people who are either not sure of their feelings, or are merely attempting to hide their affection. They will walk next to each other with less than an inch between them and sway their arms in opposite with each other. While they are not truly holding hands, their close proximity dictates that at every pass by their hands, their fingers touch. Thus, though this is the tamest variant, it often eventually leads to much more physical walking patterns.

The “Dragger” Couple
This phenomenon occurs when one member of the couple is very eager to go somewhere and the other is not. What ensues is that one will be hurrying while dragging their significant other with a vice like grip on his or her hand. While in this configuration, it is best for any pedestrian to get out of the way as soon as possible as they risk slowing them down and those inviting heartache on themselves.

The “Show” Couple
This couple is characterized by wanting to show the world that they are in a relationship. These are generally made up of individuals who have never been in a relationship before or who merely date to impress others. They are often eager to flaunt their new found romance in front of any single people they encounter. One danger of this variant is that they are often indistinguishable from any other couple until they know they have an audience. Thus, the best way to deal with this sidewalk couple is to approach from behind and not draw attention. This is tedious, as any sudden noise will have them either in each other’s arms or have them turn and begin to tell of the power of true love.

The “Emotional” Couple
This occurs when one or both members of the couple are being wracked by powerful emotions and are sharing them with their crush in the middle of the sidewalk. These couples are often characterized by very low situational awareness and also a very firm grip on each other. In many ways this is the most dangerous variant to pedestrians as any contact with them will often result in either a glare or their pent up emotions being directed at the civilian It is best to avoid these with extreme caution.

The “Married” Couple
This is by far the most awkward couple for singles to deal with. In this variation both the boy and girl are under the mistaken impression that because they have been dating an entire week, they are qualified to act as if they are married. This couple is characterized by a higher than average hormone level and a false impression that they are somehow more mature than their single classmates. There are two ways to recognize these couples from a distance. The most easy way is to look for the two people who are walking as if they are trying to mimic an old romance film. The other identification method is to look for the couple that is trying to walk in step, hug, hold hands, and stare deeply into each other’s eyes, at the same time. While they are not inherently hostile, it is highly recommended to not follow them if at all possible. When they mistakenly believe they are alone, they have a tendency to break out in a face war. Many pedestrians will most likely lose their appetites as a result of this trading of saliva. Thus, it is recommended if the reader has not read Song of Solomon, that they should run away on sight.

Sadly, no cure has yet been discovered, but there are a few treatments that have been recommended. For the pedestrian it is recommended that you stare down at your phone while walking. Though this is certainly the most popular amongst Union Students, taking alternate routes or walking with several friends are also ways to help the issue. Gauging one’s own eyes out is merely a last resort. Possibly the best way to combat this issue is for the couples themselves to be aware that they are not the only people on the campus and to acknowledge that some singles do not like having them flaunt their relationship in front of them. Unfortunately, the odds of this changing in this century is highly unlikely.

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The Cardinal & Cream is a student publication of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our staff ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a variety of majors — including journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, digital media studies, graphic design and art majors.


  1. So true, Miles! I’m pretty sure I encounter each of these types of couples as I walk to classes every daym

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