Paul W. Draper
Essay on Touch
Disclaimer: I will be using "man" as a generic for all members of the human race.
At this time I am not versed enough in "correctness" to use a more suited word.
I would like to apologies ahead of time to any who may find discomfort in my writing
due to that fact, and would ask you to please allow me the curtesy of having this one of many human flaws that makes me me.
Everyone needs a hug. not all the time of course but the world would be a much better place if we were free to hug each other. Now I'm not saying we should run out and start touching people who don't want to be touched or that we should have to endure a hug from any person especially if they haven't had a bath in several days and there teeth are the color of crayola crayon iccky coffee stain with a slight mossy substance #003366 number 5. In this world of hugging you would have to ask permission first, which would go something like this "may I give you a hug?". Now this may seem trivial and trite but most of us don't know that we have the freedom to ask someone we hardly know if they need a hug.
Why are hugs so important that I've decided to waste a computer tree of space to write this document? because man is a social creature and being a social creature we need one another to be at our peek performance. Nature (or god or evolution or the universe, whatever you choose as an individual) being a sly little bugger has found ways to get us to do things that are good for us. For example have you ever wondered why salt and sugar "Taste" so good? Because they are hard to find in a natural state but are things our bodies need, so its a warning sign saying "ohh our body need this, stay here and eat all of it that you can". And our mouth and tong are very sensitive to different textures and tastes and feelings so we will like eating. We don't kiss because it helps us with reproduction (though it may make it more fun). We kiss because it feels good, because there is a stimulus saying put things in your mouth so that you will survive.
In every part of our bodies in which we are sensitive, we are so because it helps us accomplish something for survival. Have you ever met a person who didn't like water fountains and lakes and pretty little streams running through their back yards? Why do we all like that? so it will keep us near a water source. We are being controlled! Things we like are not there free of choice but their there as a sort of natural boy scout handbook intitled "how to survive in a hard world".
So why dose hugging feel so good? Because being a social animal we do better in a pack. Since we all have slightly different traits, some warriors some caretakers some gatherers when working together we accomplish a higher state of living. Not to say for you trasindentilists or survivalists that you couldn't get by on your own, because you can and you'll be just fine, but with the aid of the pack.... you will do a little better. Henry David Thoreau did fine on his own but someone had to give birth to him and someone had to teach him how to plant and hoe the beans he grew in his "yard".
Getting back on track, When working in the pack or tribe system it is important that there are no week links in the system. To keep everyone at there top of performance they have to be happy and they have to work together. So what had this sly nature thing invented to keep us together? We like to be held! we like to be touched, caressed and loved. If you leave a new born babe alone for too long, even if you give it food and water but never touch it, it will die. We shake hands to touch each other and say " ya know your O.K. ".
Now touch is much easier in the American tribe for the women then it is for the men. It is socially acceptable for women to embrace when they meet one another. You can frequently see women walking hand in hand or with their hands over each others shoulders when walking down the hall or through the mall. Sometimes women will even give each other a kiss on the cheek and no one makes a side comment or mockery ether way. Now tell me the last time you saw a woman in a social stetting crying, what happened? was she shunned? told to toughen up? or did others of her sex run to her aid to hug her and caress her and tell her it would be O.K..
What happens when a man is sad or downtrodden? that's right ladies we have feelings to but were told were not supposed to cry "be a man" "you don't want people to see ya cry do you" "what are you a sissy". Instead of being allowed to let our emotions flow and being comforted by others through touch we are attacked verbally and instructed to hold it in. Now being a social creature and needing that sense of touch or we fall into a pit of depression what do we do to overcome those social norms? We Play football! That's right we wrestle and tackle and push and shove and box and slap each other on the backside. Anything we can get away with just to touch one another.
There is this view that all men are interested in is sex and that women want to be caressed and loved and held. Well for the most part its true because their each doing and wanting what they know is O.K. for them. Women know how to care for someone physically and slowly and they know that its O.K. to take your time and that it feels good. Men on the other hand who have been slapped with the "hit him in the shoulder to let him know he's O.K." mentality, just want that now-hard-fullbody-physical-fast! Its not that they don't care about the other person or that they are just using them its just that it gives them a full bodied touching experience in a manor they deem as socially acceptable for them to do.
When two male friends figure out that its O.K. to give each other a hug, that instead of just a quick pat on the back and a "you'll get over it" they sit with one another with an arm over the shoulder and say "its O.K. to feel these feelings" Others question there friendship to new levels. They state " ohh their probably gay" or "what a pair of sissies" or some women might say "he couldn't take care of me when he can't even take care of himself" when in all reality that man would probably be a better lover and caretaker and father because he is in touch with himself instead of with his mask and he has chosen to allow himself to feel his feelings.
Now I would like to end with a quick scenario: Two people are walking through the mall separate when all of a sudden they see each other smile give each other a hug and sit down to chat. One puts their arm around the others shoulder and the other around the firsts waist and they go walking down the window shopping lane together.
Did you see this pair as two women? a man and a woman? or two men? if you did see it as two men how would you view these men differently then you would two women doing the same thing?
I'm not here to tell you how to see the world or to live your life. I'm just asking you to look at it and question the things you do and ask you to try sometime to give someone, anyone, a hug.