I think touch is wonderful and one of the best things ever. Which is somewhat ironic of me, as I’m not particularly adept when it comes to touch. Or, I should clarify, I’m not adept when it comes to casual touch. Except for a very few circumstances (and people), I don’t usually reach out and touch people, be it their arm, their head, their shoulder, anything. I’m horrible at giving and receiving hugs on a casual basis, mostly because I never know how long the person hugging me intends for the hug to lasts, and I might want it to be shorter or longer than what they have in mind. So what I spend almost the entirety of the hug doing beyond the first initial “mmph” of contact is worry over how long I should let the hug last and should I break first or let them do it? I’ve even done this when I’ve hugged people “for real” (i.e. not casually) because I didn’t want to make the other person uncomfortable if I hugged them too long, so I’ve usually been the one to end it, even if I could have continued for longer. I’m pretty much at the point where I’m seriously considering asking before hugging someone, “How long should we hug for?” just so I could have a time-limit that lets me concentrate on the act of hugging and being hugged, and not everything else I just said.

However, hugging is one of my top two favorite form of physical contact. I love that feeling of a powerful grip, the sensation of burying your face into their chest or shoulder because you do not want to let go, you just want to feel them, feel as physically close to them as the laws of physics and biology will allow. Good hugging experiences are worth their weight in gold for me.

Granted, this type of hug is very special, and I don’t want to experience it with everyone, but I wouldn’t mind experiencing a watered-down version of it when I hug people (and by people I mean my friends, I actually can’t stand hugging my parents for some inexplicable reason).

My other favorite form of touch is touching another person’s face. Again, not something I want to do with everyone, even more so than the hugging I just described. But there have been two or three people who I’ve felt the urge, particularly when thinking about having to say goodbye to them for one reason or another, to reach out and run my fingers down the sides of their face, around their eyes, their nose, just simply getting to know how their face feels. I should also note that I’ve never actually done this, but it is something that I would definitely like to do sometime in the future.

A big reason why I am not that adept at touch is because I find it so intimate. When I touch someone or let someone touch me, it is a pretty big expression of trust and closeness towards that person that I’m communicating. It’s a powerful action. A lot of times, touch is about perception, how you perceive someone through physical contact how that differs or coincides with other forms of knowledge or intimacy. One step further is that touch is a means of exploration and connection. However, at it’s core, touch is a means of affirmation. Touch says, “This person is here. They are solid, they are physical, and they are real. This person is here, letting you touch them, and you are here, letting them touch you.” Touch is the attempt to hang on, to make real and tangible out of what is otherwise abstract and indefinable.


Published in: on August 15, 2011 at 12:02 AM  Leave a Comment  

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