In cities across the world, from Paris to Beijing, young lovers have developed a beautiful and wonderful tradition:
Locks of love.
The custom has recently cropped up in Chicago, but unfortunately, City Hall is heartless and is bent on being known as The City That Doesn't Love Love.
"Have you seen the love locks?" asked my friend Ygal Baruch, a world traveler and hopeless romantic. "The boy meets the girl. They fall in love. They walk out onto a bridge. They bring a padlock and lock it to that bridge."
"They turn the key. And together they throw the key into the river," he said. "That way, no one can break the bonds of their love. It's so cool."
It is cool. Some use giant padlocks. Others use tiny locks. There are steely locks that glitter in the morning, and copper locks that glow at sunset. Some have ribbons. Some are plain.
The backs of the locks are inscribed with the names of the lovers, and the date they met or were married.
Last autumn in Paris, Baruch and his wife were crossing a bridge near Notre Dame.
"All of a sudden, we saw the bridge. I mean, we're talking thousands of locks. Literally thousands of locks there, and I thought it was kind of nice."
What excited Baruch is that here in Chicago, the same thing started to happen on the Michigan Avenue Bridge.
"I thought it was kind of cute, you know? For young people, anybody who loves anybody else," Baruch said.
But a few days ago, Baruch called me in horror.
City crews were using torches and bolt cutters to break the locks of love from the bridge.
This means that either Mayor Rahm Emanuel is heartless and cruel or, what seems more likely, his foolish underlings have taken it upon themselves to destroy the mayor's reputation as a soft-hearted romantic.
After the purge of hate, a few friends ran out with me to find whatever locks of love remained. The Michigan Avenue Bridge had been shorn of love.
But on another bridge, we found a lock of love. I won't tell you where, because the regime will scurry out to destroy it.
There were three bits of obscure information carved into the back of the lock. The names Agne and Elikem, and a date: 10-2-2010.
We tracked the young couple down. They live in Hyde Park.
Elikem Ansah was born in Ghana. His wife, Agne, hails from Lithuania. They met as students at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo. He studied computer science. She majored in international relations and journalism.