I don’t really know how to start this piece without just jumping in. I don’t like personal contact (that’s an understatement, I hate it). I’m not cold or anything, it’s just that if I don’t know you I probably don’t want you to touch me (Tom Hardy is exempt from this rule). I feel like when I tell people this they treat me like I am some sort of social pariah. You don’t have to pity me because I just met you and I don’t want to cuddle you, I don’t have a problem. My emotional being is intact, I promise you!
I should probably clear it up that I am not that bothered if I am in a social situation and someone wants to hug me as a form of greeting, that is fine. If I know you already I won’t think twice and if I don’t I’ll probably just assume you are drunk…my genuine thought process. However, I take issue with touchy feely-ness when I am supposed to be in a professional environment or if it is completely unsolicited. I’ll give you an example, I was at a networking event not so long ago and after having a very long (LONG) conversation with a man who did not work in a field I was remotely interested in, which was by the by because all he talked about was how expensive his suit was and how he had just moved into a new flat in London, he decided the correct way to say “nice to meet you” was to put his hand on the small of my back and wink at me. I don’t want to be gross but it still makes me want to vomit in my mouth! Why? Just why? I had no opinion of him up until that point- he was a bit smug but obviously very good at his job and was doing well for himself. He ruined it!
Realistically, there is no professional situation where putting your hand on someone’s shoulders, back, leg (basically anywhere but their hand) is necessary. I know that people do it unconsciously and don’t mean to come across as an overfriendly creep but can you just not. I am aware of how cold I sound but I have never heard someone say “Oh yeah I love Paul, he always rests his hand just above my arse…what a nice guy!” What I find weirder than people thinking it is okay to touch random parts of my body when they don’t know me is that when I point out they are touching me (my favourite way to combat these situations) they tend to get really awkward. It’s like they didn’t realise I would notice their hand creeping on to my shoulder so when I put the focus of the conversation on it they are shocked that it is there. I figured the best time to do this is when people grab your arse in clubs. It turns out if you turn around and directly state “you just grabbed my arse”, the perpetrator often adopts a gormless expression and looks at their hand like it no longer belongs to them.
However, it isn’t just my physical existence that is being encroached upon (nightmare). It turns out my inboxes on social media are under siege too. If someone doesn’t indicate that they want you to direct message them and you don’t know each other, just don’t do it! You aren’t invited into that space; it is for their friends, it is where they share funny cat videos and memes that are just too real to their friendship. At the end of the day, I am more likely to flush my phone down the toilet than give my number to a man who has sent me an irrelevant and unsolicited message via LinkedIn at 11 o’clock at night. I like to think of such messages as the internet’s answer to putting your hand on an acquaintances knee- it will always come across far too forward and undoubtedly creepy. The only positives that come from such things is that we can rest assured that messages can be screenshotted and provide endless entertainment on group chats (a perk you don’t get with face to face creeping).
Anyway, now I have got all that off my chest, please don’t think of me as some sort of ice queen (although, let’s be honest with the level of sass that comes with that it could only be a compliment) and I will go back to avoiding physical contact where possible.