****WARNING!! This post contains no references to a certain former world-class athlete who now wants to be a girl. I realize that failing to comment on this is illegal in many jurisdictions and may, in fact, break the interwebz, but that is a chance I am willing to take.****
For many romantics, this week marked the death of love. That’s because Parisian street workers (not that kind) started dismantling the Pont des Arts Bridge.
This bridge over the Seine has become famous in recent years as a site for lovers to show their eternal devotion to one another. They write their names on a lock, hook it onto the bridge’s side walls and then toss the key into the river. Now it seems that love itself is being forced to take a dive over the side of that bridge.
City authorities say the bridge has become unstable due to the added weight of the estimated 700,000 locks, a weight equal to that of 20 elephants. A section of the wall actually collapsed recently, forcing an emergency evacuation of the bridge. That has prompted the city to remove the side walls, locks and all.
The locks are the ordinary, metal kind used to chain bicycles and school lockers. This seems fitting since the romantic gesture was first suggested in a young adult novel published in Rome in 2006. The practice has since been banned there. Paris is considering a similar ban as the locks are now showing up on other bridges, and even on the Eiffel Tower.
One city father, who wished to remain anonymous, speculated that the vast majority of these symbols of undying love have already been rusting on the bridge for far longer than the love affairs that prompted the gesture had lasted. He said the crisis could have been averted if those who affixed the Locks of Love had returned with the Bolt-cutters of Bitter Betrayal to remove their pledges once love’s fiery passions had cooled.
It is mainly tourists who are mourning the passing of the relatively new tradition. Most Parisians consider it little more than vandalism of their beautiful city. But there have been some benefits:
- It has been a money-maker for entrepreneurs who set up stalls nearby to sell commemorative locks to lovebirds who forgot their Master Lock at home.
- Fishing in the Seine has become much easier. With all the keys the fish have swallowed, anglers can now catch their limit using only a magnet on a string.
Protestors say without the lock-studded bridge, Paris will lose much of its romantic glamor. As Paris has been known as the City of Love since long before that teenage romance novel was published, most Parisians respond to such fears with an “hmmph” and a Gallic shrug.
Impassioned romantics say they won’t let petty concerns like safety or the chance that their actions would result in the destruction of irreplaceable national monuments stop them. They want to be free to express their emotions in any way they can think of to get a truly killer selfie with which to impress their friends on Facebook.
Some protestors have said if they can’t use the bridges of Paris to show what’s in their hearts, they will have to move on to Romance Plan B: leaving love’s legacy on the Louvre.