Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I remember hearing somewhere once that a person should get seven touches a day. Hugs, handshakes, pats on the back, whatever, as long as it's physical contact. I don't recall what the exact reasoning was, but I don't think that's important, because the concept makes sense to me. I start to feel detached if I don't have some sort of physical contact with people, like I'm not actually connected to the world around me, but just floating about in it, somehow.

When I lived with my fiance, the seven touches a day thing was no problem. There were hugs and kisses and holding hands and hands on knees in cars and a whole realm of physicality between us. I didn't have to worry. I always felt connected. Grounded. Present.

It helped that I lived in the same town as all of my friends, and a lot of us are very touchy-feely people anyway, with hugs abounding. (Abounding? Is that even a word?)

Now, however. Now I have none of that. No live-in man who is required to touch me at least occasionally. No hug-happy friends nearby at all times. Some days I force my cuddling upon Jess, who tolerates me. Some days I shake hands with pilots. Some days I get hugs from people at church, and often from my parents. But it doesn't seem the same. It doesn't seem like enough. How can it be, when it sends a shock through me when a nice old man squeezes my arm as he leaves the plane? How can I be getting enough contact with the world when it startles me when my knee brushes a passenger's as I walk down the aisle of my plane? Clearly, it's just not. It's not enough.

Last night, I hung out with a very friendly group of people, half of which I barely even know. We all got a little bit tipsy, and after five hours of chatting and laughing and drinking, the night ended with hugs everywhere, between everyone. People I had just met hugged me. People I've known since seventh grade hugged the breath right out of me. And this after a night of casual contact, hands on arms during a story, arms around shoulders, hands on knees to make a point. Last night, with a large group of fairly random people, I felt grounded, connected, wonderful.

Why doesn't the world hug more? I think I would be a much happier person if my world involved constant hugging.

I want to feel like that all the time again.

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