In the video game version of my life, along with the normal health and energy bars that every character needs to sustain life, I would have a Snuggles Touch bar. This bar would make my energy last longer and the things that usually hurt me hurt less. Today, coming off of my weekend with BC, I feel like my Touch bar has been alternating between being completely drained and being so low that it’s red and flashing for months now, and then over the 28-hour period I spent in Charlottesville, it’s now filled back up to a vibrant green color and I feel AWESOME.
Evidence: *came home from 4 hours on public transit to rearrange her clothing and fold her laundry* It’s Monday? *Is bright and chipper as ever* It was in the 40s as I walked to work? *sings along with her mp3 player* *Doesn’t need tea to keep her going through the morning*
I was telling this to KS, and he said rather poignantly, “I didn’t realized one needed snuggles.” I’ve understood about myself for a long time now that I’m a person who craves physicality. I don’t think I so clearly understood that I THRIVE on it until now, though. Touch doesn’t always mean something. I don’t get off on high five or fist bumps. I don’t think that grinding with a guy and any hand-holding/touching that happens as part of that is some sort of spiritual connection. I don’t think that having sex with someone fundamentally changes our relationship forever. I am not naive about touch–I just find that substantive episodes of touching people that matter to me enhance the quality of my life.
Touch is something that the overwhelming majority of people have some level of strict boundaries about. I’m writing yet another blog post about how I really like touching, but that doesn’t mean that someone touching me when I do not want them to be touching me isn’t violation. So it feels both emotionally and physically good to me when someone that is important to me a) doesn’t mind, b) likes, or c) actively encourages my touching them (a < b < c). Those emotional good feelings increase exponentially when permission to touch can safely be assumed, when we fall into what I like to call a pattern of physicality. This is best exemplified by the fact that I would often say hi to my friend DS by walking up behind his chair in the Large Library at Quad, digging my hands into his hair to the scalp, and massaging/scratching his scalp while playing with his hair. I would to this for a few minutes and then realize I should actually say hi. He’d say hi back, not really looking up from what he was doing, but I knew I was appreciated by the way he’d angle his head to encourage me to move a little to the right or left and the little moans and sighs of satisfaction. He would take breaks from his work to return the favor–not right away like one demanded the other, but just because it was something we liked to do.
An altogether different kind of example is that of how I became known for the quality of my massages during the course of my time at Princeton. I have never turned down someone’s request for a massage, because someone coming to me saying the equivalent of I-am-in-some-degree-of-pain-or-discomfort-and-I-trust-you-to-put-your-hands-on-me-and-take-it-away is beautiful to me. I am not particularly skilled at slow-dancing, but when RG or BC pulls me into a Pianoman circle, I feel..reminded of the strength of our friendship, maybe. When I play Santa Claus at Quad’s Christmas party and EL is the unlikely first person to seem comfortable on my lap, it becomes my favorite memory of him. When I pick little pieces of lint off of people’s clothing/hair and they do not mind, I feel…intimate. Touch and intimacy are one and the same to me, often, except that I don’t bring sex into that equation. Hands that easily find one another when you’re walking down the street say we fit together. Cuddling says you want me here. Your arms around me while we sleep is the sweetest I’ve missed you you can say.