I often forget how little skin to skin contact I get in my day-to-day life. The most affection I usually get is a purr from a well-fed or well-petted cat. I don’t date and I don’t get regular massages. I usually don’t think about how important touch can be; it’s easier to put those feelings on the shelf and ignore them. Today, I’m getting a pedicure with a close friend in anticipation of her wedding tomorrow (earlier this week I got my hair done, so that’s two situations that happen only every couple of months). I also got a few hugs from graduating seniors last week.
With the sad news this week of celebrity deaths, the death of a former student’s father, and the rise of my “summer blues” our human need for connection is weighing on my mind. I’ve often felt that platonic touch is deeply underrated in modern America. In fact, one of my deepest joys is seeing how much more comfortable kids are these days (generally) with platonic touching amongst friends and in public. It’s nice to see people holding hands for comfort or affection rather than because they’re dating. It’s nice to see people hug each other for comfort or to show affection. For all that my students and their generation are regularly derided by various crackpots and media outlets, they are getting quite a few things right that were taboo or at least frowned upon when I was growing up. I’m glad to see the normalization of ace and aro tendencies, I’m glad to see the normalization of alternative households, and I’m glad to see the normalization of platonic affection. I suppose I need to be less afraid to seek out platonic touch and be more willing to ask for help when I need it. My thoughts and prayers are with all who have lost loved ones this week.