This is something I have complained about before on my Live Journal.
The first part of the problem goes something like this: I do not generally speaking, enjoy being touched by strangers. I also do not like being touched by casual acquaintances and most of the people in my family. I generally go out of my way to avoid touching other people without their permission. (Except in cases where there is a total social breakdown on my part in which case I am generally very embarrassed afterward.)
The second problem goes like this: without exception, when I have politely requested that someone not touch me, that person has gotten incredibly offended. In a few cases, they openly made fun of me by pretending to cringe away in fear and loudly carried on about my request, as if I were making a big deal about nothing. (In this case, the usually male person will make jokes about sexual harassment.) In other cases, they verbally attacked me for daring to object to being touched by them.
A few specific cases:
- D. was the husband of a former friend. D. had a very bad habit of patting me on the leg, shoulder or arm. I would ask him multiple times not to touch me, but he would do it anyway. One time he found out that coming up from behind where I couldn’t see him generally resulted in my elbow making a direct impact to his solar plexus. This did not necessarily keep him from continuing to touch me or startle me.
- G. is the most annoying old man I have ever met. He would often offer me a ride to various places. He would also often touch me on the arm or leg, apparently to get my attention or in an effort to be “friendly.” When I asked him not to touch me, he made a really inappropriate joke about sexual harassment. He then gabbled on about a woman he knew that was in the witness protection program, apparently because of an abusive spouse.
- I was at the library waiting to check out some books when an older woman decided to feel up my sweater. This is one of the few occasions where I actually blew up. Mostly because she said “sorry for feeling you up, I just love your sweater.” Since she was behind me, the only thing that kept her from getting socked in the stomach is that my elbows is chivalrous.
- S. was a co-worker. S. had the really bad habit of patting me on the arm. He would then get extremely huffy when I asked him not to touch me. And by huffy I actually mean enraged.
- On several occasions when I had my hair in a braid, people would grab my hair. It is usually women who do this, though I’ve had men do this as well.
So, I am trying to figure out what part of “please do not touch me,” or “I really don’t like being touched,” is so offensive. I am not asking for very much!
- Do not touch any part of my body. This includes arms, legs, shoulders, head, back, hips, hands, hair and feet.
- Do not touch my clothing.
- Do not come at me from behind and suddenly say my name or touch me.
- Do not make a big flipping deal when I ask you to not touch me