Saturday, October 19, 2013


I've had one massage in my life, and I left more stressed and tense from it than I went in.  (I won't ever go back to that place -- that's for sure!)  The chatty masseuse, however, did expound upon something I agreed with: the need for people to be touched.  Physical contact is necessary to both physical and mental health.  The masseuse desired for people to believe in the importance of touch -- of course, she wants them to pay for her services

I thought it was sad sad sad that people have to pay a stranger to be touched.

Some friends linked to an article today about how everything is so over-sexed in our society that there can be no comfortable (and normal and healthy) platonic touch.  Innocent touching is assumed to have sexual overtones.  For example, occasionally at work my boss would like my dress and couldn't quite tell from looks alone what the fabric was made of.  So she asked permission to touch the sleeve, and apologized for even wanting to do that.  But of course it was okay for her to touch the fabric -- oftentimes that's the only way you can know what a fabric is.  It says something about society that she must ask, instead of just giving me a pat on the arm.

Not long ago, Gary and I watched The Major and the Minor.  Excellent movie from 1942!  Funny.  Sweet.  A young woman is short of cash and needs a train ticket.  She passes herself off as a 12-yr-old so that she can buy a half-price ticket.  A man on the train ends up watching out for this "child" and taking care of her.  She spends the night in his compartment.  When his fiancee finds out there is a girl with him, she's livid.  But then (and here's where the expectations and moral changes of the last 70 years are exposed) the fiancee learns that the "girl" is a 12-yr-old.  And of course everybody knows there would no hanky-panky with a child, nothing whatsoever indecent, and that the fiance was being gentlemanly to take care of a child and protect her. 

Oh, and it's not just touch.  Words are over-sexualized too.  It surprises me how a simple comment can be twisted into some sort of sleazy innuendo.   I hear it on tv shows and in real life.  Sometimes I say something and am met with eyebrow waggles & giggles in response.  I know that they've mixed in some innuendo.  Sometimes I can figure it out.  But sometimes I am clueless as to what they're insinuating.  In the name of "freedom" (sexual freedom, that is), we have actually become isolated, in what we say, in physical contact, and in the people we can hang out with.


  1. This exact point is one of the worst things about being single. It is entirely possible if you're not dating someone to go days if not weeks without touching or being touched by someone. That can be a very painful absence and it's something that people with everyday family lives don't even realize. I've always liked having friends who like hugs because it would help eliminate the absence. (Fortunately, I'm not in this situation now, and feel very grateful to not be. :))

  2. I know, Anthea! I see it in the widows and widowers. It's easier for the widows, because they can hug girlfriends and their kids. But the men? They're just left without anybody to touch. I sort of want to pass out hugs freely at church, but there's always the worry that I'd be imposing on somebody who doesn't like that, as well as the worry that they might conclude something wrong, something less-than-honorable.

  3. When Alex was deployed, I lived by myself for eight months and was pregnant the entire time. I distinctly remember the absence of physical touch. I visited Wisconsin for Christmas and Easter, but in between that, I didn't touch another human. It's sad just thinking about that. I remember just wanting a hug, but who could I ask for a hug? My coworkers? That would be off-putting to them, I'm sure, although if anyone would've offered a hug to me, I would've jumped at the opportunity.

  4. I guess I usually think of the older folks. But it didn't cross my mind that younger people, too, would be suffering from the lack-of-touch. I'm glad both of you spoke up. I guess I think of it with regard to my own kids, but it never crossed my mind that other 20-somethings would be needing hugs or back rubs.