Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce and their clasped hands were all over New York City this weekend, first on the way into the Saturday Night Live afterparty after their dual surprise cameos on the sketch comedy show, and on Sunday evening walking out of the Waverly Inn after dinner.
Let’s borrow Swift’s own lyrics and apply them to the rumored romantic relationship between Swift and Kelce: Call it what you want, yeah, call it what you want to. Neither the biggest name in football nor Kelce has officially defined the relationship, but that’s not what we’re here to talk about. We saw them holding hands and we have thoughts.
Namely, fans just can’t stop comparing Miss Americana and the Touchdown Prince with Swift’s previous relationship, the six largely undercover years she spent dating actor Joe Alwyn. Nobody has caught a smooch between Swift and Kelce on camera as of yet, but there’s an unmissable contrast between the notoriously paparazzi-averse Alwyn and the coy-yet-public outings of Swift and Kelce. They literally drove off in a getaway car together the first time they were seen in the same place. They inspired a dip revolution. They led Swifties the world ’round to learn once and for all what a field goal is. This weekend, fans took note that Kelce let Swift duck into the car before him and he appeared to shield her from crowds. And then there are those clasped hands.
Holding hands is a primal instinct, used throughout life as an act of trust, survival, and intimacy. Even newborn babies hold hands: When you touch a baby’s palm, they reflexively grasp your finger. It’s not only very cute, it’s a hardwired survival instinct. Science tells us that human touch triggers oxytocin, the so-called “cuddle hormone,” meaning hand-holding can be part of a stress-relief loop, which brings other benefits like heart health. It may all look simple, but the act of using the palm’s 17 muscles in concert with 34 muscles total to control the movement of the thumb and fingers to grab a hand has a ripple effect.
As for how Swift and Kelce are touching paws, they’ve shown range in their short time. We’ve seen Kelce cupping one of Swift’s hands in both of his on the sidewalk, the duo with their fingers interlaced, and even the palm-to-palm clamshell clasp, fingers together like they’re cosplaying as their very own Lego figurines. These can all apparently mean different things, but one thing seems to be clear: Swift and Kelce are having the time of their lives, hands down.
Vanity Fair has reached out to Swift’s reps for comment.