What do you call a statement that is all at once true and not true? For example, “I don’t like to be touched.” This is not true when I’m at home, with my sweetheart, and in my comfort zone. This is true when I’m anywhere else. But there are moments when I’m tired, or stressed, or in some kind of alternate dimension caused by these or other things … when I don’t mind so much.
Here’s a question some might keep in their noggins when I explain this, but they never come right out and ask, “Were you abused when you were younger?” I see them thinking it. Or maybe I’m just projecting since I wonder, myself, why I am like this. But I’m so terribly glad they don’t ever ask. I mean, what does a socially inept creature like myself do in a situation like that? “I … um … uh … well I don’t really know why I don’t like to be touched.” That’s about the time I’d get a hot flash and they would think I’m blushing. Damn stupid hormones, I tell ya’.
So since I’m writing, and writing is therapeutic, I’ll reason this out a bit. I really think it’s a boundary thing. Haven’t you ever had someone hug you that you weren’t too happy about learning their intricate nooks and crannies that really shouldn’t be pressed up on you like that? Or how about the smells? I concede that most people I encounter on a daily basis, lets say 99 percent of them, are perfectly appropriate for the nasal experience of closeness. But that bad apple really stinks when you get right down to it.
The “human connection” resonates with me in all this, if you must know. If I’m appalled at another person’s smell or “feel,” it’s usually because I fear those things in myself. I may be the only person who does a smell check before heading out in the morning, even after a shower with multiple flavors of shower gel. At this very moment I’m literally angry that my winter coat smells like a restaurant I visited over a week ago and I can’t get the smell out. I don’t happen to keep a selection of winter coats in my closet. So the bottom line is I smell when I wear that thing. Maybe others don’t notice. But I do and it’s enough to drive me batty.
Back to the touching thing. What if the person is a very trim and fit individual? Visually I can tell, they aren’t going to press anything against me I don’t want to feel if they zero in for a hug. What if the tailored look of their clothes and the hair product they seem to be sporting indicates they are most likely of a delightful olfactory encounter? What keeps me from the hug? Well, don’t you see? It’s not so much them I worry about. Granted, I don’t worry about the misplaced boob, or the wrong angle and awkward placement of the arm. See Hugging Coach for an explanation on this particular point. But YES, dear reader, the “Ah ha” moment has occurred in this bit of writing. On the off chance that it’s mid-day and I’ve done some sweating, or perhaps that food I ate ten minutes ago still lingers on my breath and I don’t hold it, or, oh dear heavens, what if …
It’s about me. I don’t want to be offended by offending. So please, if I’m witty and seem fully awake … just don’t touch.