Personal Space

People want to touch my hair all the time. It’s freakishly thick, and at various times in my life it has been quite long. I wouldn’t mind so much if they asked first. But no. They just dive right in there. It feels like a violation.

And one time when I was in 7th grade, this boy I didn’t even know walked up to me, stuck his finger in my mouth and ran it along my gum line. Of course I slapped his hand away, but he may as well have been invading my private parts, it was that upsetting. He laughed and walked away. Maybe if I could understand why someone would do such a thing, I’d stop having such a visceral reaction when I think about it, even 40 years later. Ugh.

And at 5’6”, I’m apparently at just the right height for men to elbow me in the chest. Elevators, in particular, are danger zones for this type of behavior. It happens so often that I sometimes wonder if it’s intentional. If so, it’s not cool. In fact, it really hurts.

I don’t know how pregnant women cope. Having total strangers touching my belly would freak me out. Bald guys get treated to unexpected touches too.

And then there are the cultural differences in personal space. I had a very hard time when I lived in Mexico. People there are right up on you. It made me really uncomfortable, even though they didn’t mean anything aggressive by it. I’m sure I have the same effect on people from places that enjoy an even larger bubble of independence than I do.

Would you enter a stranger’s house without knocking? Do you rummage around in another woman’s purse without permission? Would you walk up to a random diner in a restaurant and help yourself to what’s on his or her plate? No? Then maybe you might want to consider keeping your hands to yourself.

Me in hairier times.
Me in hairier times.
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9 thoughts on “Personal Space

  1. Brian

    Lol. For me the touching depends on how well the moment was selected. I’m very good at that and that’s why people like it when I touch them. Hehe.

  2. Angiportus

    En-flipping-tirely. I can’t stand folks pawing me either! I don’t do it to people and I am sorry you ran into some nutcases. For some folks, there is no right moment. My relatives have learned to keep their damn mitts off me…some people misused that privilege when I was young. Cats, of course, get to walk all over me.

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