When I was young I would watch Anne of Green Gables with my girlfriends.
In the movie, granted fictional, Anne and Diana would hold hands. They’d easily link arms and run through fields. I know, I know, these are made up stories. But they speak to something I used to have.
I remember holding hands with my girl friends when I was in grade school.
I can remember holding my mother’s, sister’s, grandmother’s hands.
Then, I grew up.
Today, I don’t hold my girlfriend’s hands.
I don’t want them to feel uncomfortable. I don’t want to invade their space.
And, frankly, I don’t want to make them feel awkward.
And yet, this makes me feel like something good has been lost.
My hispanic grandmother will still hold my hand. Some recaptured moment of childhood love and simple affection gets re-gained by her kindness and nearness. Finn reminds me daily of that kind of physical touch, like when he asks me to rub his foot to go to sleep on long car trips. Or when he holds my hand just for comfort and nearness.
Culturally, Americans have sexualized touch so far that I think most of us have grown so out of practice about holding hands with girlfriends that we’re just plain awkward.
I have a close girlfriend who is very touchy. She rubs my back when I’m sad, she is quick to hug. She’s not afraid of touch. I believe that’s because she’s a twin, her and her family are very affectionate and she’s also a hair-dresser. She’s both trained and practiced with touching other people in a professional and warm way.
But she’s the exception among my friends, not the rule.
What can we do about the touch deprivation that exists today, especially among unmarried people?
How can good girl friends buy back the power of kindness through touch? Without sexualizing or fear sexualizing each other!
I know one thing for certain, it’s not going to get better if we never talk about it.
What do you think?