Oct 6, 2012

Don't Touch

It's long, so if you want to skip to the end, the last three paragraphs are my favorite. I'll bold it for you :)

Recently I wrote about Sexual Objectification and this, that, and the why-fors of appreciating and abhorring it. Whenever I write a post the subject seems to stick in my head for a time, and then suddenly life seems to revolve around it.

All week I have been hyper-aware of my personal space. While I like my physical traits to be appreciated, I don't enjoy being touched by people I don't know well. Handshakes, hugs, and pats on the back are fine, but lingering contact with strangers/brief acquaintances unnerves me.

Whenever I know someone will be touching me in a professional context (masseuse, chiropractor, doctor, gym trainer, etc) I shower and shave in the few hours before I go. Feeling fresh, wet, and clean is very important in those meetings. It makes me feel like I'm courteous and hygienic, and helps reassure me that particular setting will be strictly professional.

Whether this is normal behavior or this is because I have had problems with molestation in the past (ex-boyfriend and prior) is somewhat irrelevant considering I don't find the behavior harmful.  I don't go ballistic if I can't shower in the hour before I have to go to the doctor- it's just a general guideline. Although I wonder how many other people do the same thing.

When I'm with friends, family, and romantic partners, touching is wonderful- warm embraces, lingering brushes, harsh hits, surprising grabs. I'm not on the defensive when I know who is around me and all sorts of touching is great.

So, when I was at the gym the other day, my trainer (who is a woman because, yeah, I admit I'm just more comfortable with that) called over the big-boss-man to ask for help working out this jumping muscle issue I was having. He put his hand full on my pelvis between my hipbones (God, his hand was large, like a baseball mitt) and it felt far too close to my vulva, even though it probably wasn't.

He was just measuring something because he calculated a few things and moved his hand around, and then he pressed into a particular spot on my upper thigh. Wouldn't you know, the tiny muscle in my lower leg stopped twitching immediately! That part was kind of cool.  However, the fact that this guy that I didn't really know (I had talked to him a few times before and he seemed nice) was all up in my private business kind of freaked me out.

It reminded me of my first year in college, before I came out, when girls would grab at my boobs or other body parts at parties. There was one girl who would constantly sit on my lap and slip her bra off underneath her tank while hovering her breasts in front of my face (at multiple parties) all as an act to get guys to pay attention to her. (I didn't mind her so much as she never groped me, just sort of got into my personal space) There was this unspoken rule that we were all girls and our bodies were all communal property. If it enticed a guy into a bedroom for one of them it was even better.  But gay or not, it's not any more okay for a random girl to grope me than it is for a guy. If I don't like you, if I don't know you, it's an unwanted advance.
Sometimes I can meet a person and get comfortable with him/her/z in less than five minutes.  Other times it takes weeks, months, years, and occasionally I never get comfortable with that person.  Some people have a vibe that I can never quite get over. Some strangers never feel like strangers, and some people I've known my whole life still give me the creeps.

The point is: my breasts, my body, is my property, and the ability to touch it is not a right you are entitled to, it's a permission I give you. It's a trust I bestow you with.

Don't abuse it.


  1. In college I was always the one leaning against the wall taking it all in, the anti-social one. Between my height and glare I never really had a problem but I know what you mean. I guess I had a history of smacking people too :)

    And no it doesn't seem strange at all.

    I know what you mean about blog posts too. I start writing on one subject or another and I tend to write a couple before my brain switches to something else. 

  2. Maybe my problem is I'm much too short and smiley :) I would have talked to you at a party. Anti-social, wall leaning people are always the coolest.

    I was always the girl who was popular by association, but too nice to actually be popular. I was always flitting between groups of friends in school. I'm friendly with everyone until they do something to really get on my bad side. Then I can be brutal for a moment (I threw a drunk girl out of my flat at four in the morning because she was loud, annoying and refused to leave- I did call her roommate to pick her up) but I'm forgiving after my moment of anger.

    I've never smacked anyone unless it was playful. Sometimes I think it would be interesting to punch someone, just to know how it feels :)