I don’t want to live in a world without touch. I came to this conclusion after the last month or so. I have been reflecting on this issue for quite a while as I struggled around issues of intimacy dating etc. The five love languages on of the languages is touch, http://www.5lovelanguages.com/2009/03/speaking-love-through-physical-touch/ I have certainly identified touch as one of my languages. Now touch can be viewed in a number of ways but at the heart of it is intimacy. Touch is often classified as a sexual thing and unfortunately over time we have seen a number of issues arising around touch. Indeed touch in some circumstances has become taboo. I heard an extreme view voiced by a student recently they said that a presenter on sexuality had said that “any uninvited touch was sexual abuse”. The student said that was absurd and I agreed with them, he said shaking hands is touch. He is correct for sure.
Recently I had the privilege of being a apart of a school holiday camp programme. There were a lot of children there who did not have a significant male in their life, boys and girls. A number of these children initiated touch, (always in public) from sitting real close at tables to running up arms open looking for a hug and a couple wanting to walk with me holding my hand. This does not present a conundrum to me at all. It is not secret or inappropriate.
Some might say that we see examples of touch in a lot of sports that are played, Rugby has to be a classic example of that for sure. A narrative that is worth exploiting sometime in the future perhaps. Well I don’t play Rugby so where do I get my touch from. It is something that I have been considering , more so in the last week as I work through a couple of issues.
In acknowledging that I like giving touch I understand that I love receiving it as well. I remember watching one episode of Frasier, Niles talked about how you can tell about the level of sexual frustration someone is experiencing by how often they head to get their nails done. “Manicurists, pedicurists, facialists. When you see a man who’s well-groomed, you can bet he’s not getting any.” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0582445/quotes This may seem a little strange but I remember an incident where I was given a manicure, I have paid for manicures and indeed every 10 weeks or so I get a pedicure as a it helps prevent an ingrown toenail problem from re-emerging and b I enjoy the experience. In this instance however it was done for me as a gift and it for me ranked as one of the most intimate and profound experiences that I have had. I include this to show that not all intimate touch has to be or indeed is sexual, and that touch plays an important role in any relationship.
I have heard many people complain about their relationships, one of the most frequent complaints I have heard is from women and invariably they have expressed the same or similar complaints which h goes like this. He never touchs me unless he wants sex. Now some will talk about the important of touch in foreplay but frankly foreplay starts when you get out of bed and might conclude some days, or weeks later in the physical act of intercourse and in some cases it takes the place of that for whatever reason. So back to me and my reflections.
I have often pondered on living a life of singlehood for whatever reason. I have heard people express numbers of reasons why they prefer singlehood, often in my opinion grounded in fear of intimacy, emotions, hurt, commitment. Sometimes the driver is narcissism. Now it would be unfair to lump every one who determines to remain single in this group and in the end it is our absolute right to determine our relationship status. The world is full of conformists and I have no right to place expectations on others or to judge or scorn them. Similarly I do not want to be judged or scorned.
This comes from people who see others that seek to be in relationship as week or worse still those religious who use the term let Jesus or God be all you need in life. This is either religious bigotry at its worse or just plain ignorance, but before I wander off again I bring it back to touch for me it is quite simple, sex I can live without (I was married for 26 years so well used to that) but touch, and not day to day but a caress, someone resting their head on my chest as we lie together, holding hands as we pray or walk. Running my hands through a lovers hair, no without that in my life I will shrivel and die internally. They say time heals all things, I am not so sure about that. Yes touch is important to me but integrity is as well and I won’t sell my soul for touch, and touch that is bought is only temporal, a massage, manicure hair cut, all enjoyable but brief temporal relief that soon blows away like the dust….
Arohanui to all of you, take care, celebrate life and love whilst you still have breath.