in Art & Culture

Hands: Telling A Story And Beyond

Listen to: Tree of Life – Original Composition

I am a detail-oriented person. Upon meeting someone, I take note of their physique and gestures; how they shake hands, how often they blink, how they hold their cigarette if they smoke, how they articulate letters, if they crack their knuckles or not, if they shake their legs while sitting or not, do they lift their glasses from the middle or the side, and so many other details. First impressions matter to me because they set out the kind of person I am sitting with. Not in essence of personality or how they dress, no, but how their body reacts to their subtle thoughts.

Out of all details I pay attention to, hands intrigue me the most. Not just gestures and movements, but lines, shapes, and length; everything. For as long as I can remember, my interest in people’s hands (not in a weird kind of way, I assure you) has ignited sparkles in my eyes. As a child, I had the privilege of being noisy with the added cuteness measure, so I could reach out for people’s hands and stare curiously at them without being frowned upon. Heck, they used to pinch my cheeks and rub my hair while laughing (grownups).

I cannot explain why I have this in me, but I do. And I enjoy it. I prefer not asking people to show me their hands because then they would be cautious and some would find me weird in a perverted sense, which is not the case at all. When I look at someone’s hands, I could tell the kind of job they have and where they’ve been, whether they like the sun or not, are they pianists? doctors? Are they clean? Are they detail-oriented people like me? Do they take care of their nails? Do they have any beauty spots on their hands like I do? Sadly, if I could answer all questions forming in my head from the first time we meet, I rarely meet them again. Not for anything but for the fact that they were not able to stir up my curiosity for another visit.

I enjoy discovering people through their hands. I do. It’s beautiful. Hands can tell you so much about someone without them saying a word. I came across a poem by Pablo Neruda (source) today and somehow it lead me to this post.

When your hands leap
towards mine, love,
what do they bring me in flight?
Why did they stop
at my lips, so suddenly,
why do I know them,
as if once before,
I have touched them,
as if, before being,
they travelled
my forehead, my waist?
Their smoothness came
winging through time,
over the sea and the smoke,
over the Spring,
and when you laid
your hands on my chest
I knew those wings
of the gold doves,
I knew that clay,
and that colour of grain.
The years of my life
have been roadways of searching,
a climbing of stairs,
a crossing of reefs.
Trains hurled me onwards
waters recalled me,
on the surface of grapes
it seemed that I touched you.
Wood, of a sudden,
made contact with you,
the almond-tree summoned
your hidden smoothness,
until both your hands
closed on my chest,
like a pair of wings
ending their flight. 


Don’t Touch This Trash by Joker 74



Her unconscious elegance by By ArTeTeTrA



Taking a break while burning my lungs… by zeeography


by MPhilipPhotography

by spacemanspiff22

by smugbug

Hands of a Concert Pianist by yuzu1009

by FlawedWorkofArt

by ubermochi

Show me your hands by valante

Dark Horizons. Worn hands handling a bible from 1888; Dalsland, Sweden 2008 by JoachimBrink

tanned by cesarr terrio

self portrait by nikolinelr

unbenannt by Heather McCutcheon

By Annija Muižule

Three sisters by ryanmacphoto

By Adara

Palestinian soccer player Mahmoud Al-Sarsak | REUTERS/Mohammed Salem



I leave with this thought: What do your hands say about you?

p.s.: I tried setting all pictures in one size and color code them but it didn’t work, so let’s all assume the pictures are neatly arranged for the sake of OCD. 

Please note that I do not own any of the pictures in this post. Some I could not find a source for, so if you own them and would like me to remove any, please let me know.

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  • ibhog

    I have a similar interest in feet. I could tell a lot about a person by the way their feet look, and the way they move their legs. I admit it’s quite peculiar and by some it’s considered perverted.

    I think back in the old days of the Islamic civilization, there was a science completely dedicated to hand-foot reading – I don’t exactly remember its name.

    You keep impressing me with your posts. I’m not used to asking people to read for me, but I’d be more than glad to have you as a reader.

    You can reach me here:

    Keep writing,

    • NourAlAli

      I’d be more than happy to. You have a wonderful blog! It’s interesting, isn’t it; The human body in general?

      • ibhog

        It is.

        God’s creation :)

  • Roba Al-Assi

    Ahh.. so we finally share a passion 😛

    I once wrote a whole post about hands but decided to not publish it cause I was worried pervs would take it to heart to pester me to death.

    I am going to post a bit of it here:

    “I get fixated over people with beautiful hands. Gender is not factor.

    isn’t about the state of upkeep of a pair of hands either (in fact,
    quite the opposite). It’s about their level of control. Hands are
    beautiful when they are good at something; drawing, strumming, dancing,
    crafting, chopping, perfecting.

    There is the certain challenge of
    mind over body, where a person has to exercise utmost control over a
    body part that isn’t often used with precision.

    I love people with hands that look smart; long tapered fingers and a
    solid build give the impression of genius, and I love that. There is
    something so personal and majestic about hands that look like they can use a brush with madness, a pick with vehemence, and a pen with passion.”

    • NourAlAli

      I’m sure we share a lot more considering we’re both detail-oriented :). I never knew others had that too.

      I was hesitant not to post but then I told myself, what the heck.

      I’d like to read the rest of that post, if that’s okay :)

      • Roba Al-Assi

        I unfortunately lost the rest of it. But I develop crushes on people with beautiful hands. Do you?

        • NourAlAli

          I most certainly do. Even more so when they’re at practice, like when someone is playing the piano. I like to stand aside and watch them play. It’s beautiful.

  • adam

    How about we send you pics of our hands and you can tell us what you think about us. what do you think?

    • NourAlAli

      Adam :) It’s not a matter of a picture or an attempt at palm reading, believe me I am far from that though I’ve dabbed into its philosophy quite a bit. It’s how you convey the context of what’s being said through your hand gestures.

      But hey, I’m always happy to edit the post and add another picture or two along with the bunch :)

  • Some

    Is that you in the pic?