Yesterday evening while going to a live music pub to meet a friend, when I went out the subway, I felt someone touching lightly my arm. It was soft and lasted 2 seconds, but it was enough to make me feel embarrassed. I turned back to see who touched me this way; saw a 50-year-old guy, from India according to his ethnic appearance. He was smiling but not in a naughty, bad-thoughts way. This smile was just as natural as breathes we could take, like an evidence. It was innocent, and sincere. Slightly disoriented, I looked at him with a “Hey, dude, what’s the matter?!” look.
Then, I began to think about it.
When I was a child, I was raised with the fear of God, in a polish very catholic family. Touching people was excluded, just as telling them you love them.
And don’t even think about sex!!!
I grew up in this environment, frustrated and scared, and began to think that was the only way to behave towards people; I even turned out to be disgusted by any physical contact until my late eighties. Even after my first sexual experience, I was still extremely disturbed by expressing my thoughts, my love, by physical contact. This hasn’t changed until my thirties.
I don’t know why this guy has touched me this way, but what I do know is that he didn’t do this to offend me. Why do we think someone we don’t know would automatically hurt us by such a natural, compassionate attitude? Is our society sick in the point to see an ugly intention in such a beautiful gesture? The lack of contact wouldn’t bring us straight to a lack of humanity?