First of all, a bit of a public service announcement, if you will. For the record, I would like to state that in spite of any public comments I may have made recently, I am well aware of the tact that decades of scientific research have mostly disproven the whole Cooties theory, and suggest that casual contact between Kindergarteners of opposite genders is not nearly as dangerous as the rumors seem to indicate. For that matter, it probably isn’t too dangerous among adults either, single or otherwise. At the same time, I also wish to vehemently deny any rumors I may have started to this effect. And no, in spite of appearances, I am not trying to buy anyone’s silence with this post either. To be honest, I’m starting to wonder if the lack of silence in such matters might not actually even be a good thing. After all, it has been said that there is no such thing as bad publicity, right? Nonetheless, I do find it necessary at this point to concede that my first grade teacher may have actually been correct about this particular subject after all.
On the other hand, Over the course of far more years than I had originally planned on of being single, I’ve begun to wonder if there might be something to this, at least from a psychological standpoint. In various reading about dating and relationships (fascinating stuff, I really ought to try some of it sometime) there seems to be a fair bit said about what is known as the Touch Barrier. Any relationship expected to go beyond the point of standard platonic friendship is going to be required to break this at some point, but even something as simple as occasional bit of casual or incidental touching or hand-holding can seem intimidating when the Touch Barrier is firmly in place. Even under the best circumstances, if this subject is approached incorrectly it can end up seeming awkward and forced, and in a worst case scenario it can even result in a faceful of pepper spray (although I’m pretty sure that most of the single ladies I know won’t resort to anything quite that drastic unless I really deserve it. I’d like to think that doesn’t happen too often…) It’s also difficult to know just how receptive any particular person is to even casual contact. Some people just keep to themselves, making sure not to get anywhere near anyone, others that I have known will hug people freely. Most fall somewhere in between, and I find that there are very few people out there who won’t tolerate at least a handshake (but generally that just doesn’t “count” for most people either.)
Of course, there does need to be limits on what will and won’t be permitted in premarital relationships, but I suspect that most of the single adults I know (myself included) tend to worry just a bit too much about the possibility of getting too close to those limits, and as a result instead just stay as far away as we can. Although I can understand the justification behind this type of thinking, I also suspect that for a lot of people this invisible Touch Barrier is having a bigger effect on us than we might think. After all, even the friendliest of relationships at arm’s length is still just at arm’s length.