Can You Not Sir: Why I don’t like you touching me
I’m at a dinner party with some friends. We are all academics or hasbeen thespians, and the evening has gone pretty well. Then I suddenly feel a large hand around my waist. Um.
The man next to me has his hand flat on my stomach, firmly, and when I try to move away, he doesn’t let me. I have absolutely no knowledge of him past his first name. I squirm out of his grip and he oh so accidentally brushes down my back all the way to my thighs. Urgh.
I’m sure you’ve all had similar experiences, lady friends. Hands on Harry and The Post Merlot Grope.
All so very cleverly constructed to be just not bad enough to warrant a reaction, and just not obvious enough to not be an accident. The oh so subtle brush of his palm across your breasts. The are you sure it happened stroke of the thigh. But the minuteness of the bodily invasion doesn’t make it less creepy and painful.
You make a bee line to the bathroom and stare into the mirror, feeling violated. His handprints and the grease of his palm stain your knees and waist long after your bath. No amount of scrubbing gets rid of the humiliation and memory of thousands of unwanted hands. I don’t even know how many men have touched me. I’m not sure I want to.
If I mention how unhappy I am that a male friend, acquaintance or superior touched me sexually, I am met with uneasy denial and the suggestion that it was too small to be worth the trouble of discussing. In a way, it is. I don’t want my friends arrested or punished for being too touchy feely. I just want them to stop doing it.
Then tell them you don’t like it?
Yeah, I would. If I hadn’t lost friends over it, had them shout in my face or completely deny anything happened. It just isn’t worth it. Its easier to shut up.
I am not saying I want no physical interaction. I love hugs, supportive arm squeezes and anything that isn’t areas of my body that are intimate or suggestive. Shoulders, fine. Arms, fine. Brief waist/torso squeeze, fine. Thighs no, breast no, ass no, neck no. Just don’t touch me in a way you wouldn’t touch your brother.
It is awkward for me and weird of you. So unless we are flirting, dating or married, please rethink how you touch me.