I mentioned previously some of the effects of going from unattractive to moderately attractive. One that I didn’t mention before, but that I am reminded of all the freaking time…
People touch you. A lot.
I’ve always been really bad with physical touch. I don’t particularly like it, particularly from those I’m not intimately familiar with. So I noticed almost immediately when people started touching me. It didn’t used to be a thing. I mean, handshakes of course, and the glancing brush when maneuvering in tight quarters. But never did anyone intentionally reach out and touch me just in casual conversation. Somewhere between three years ago and now people started touching me. Claps on the shoulder, touches on the upper arm, a pat on the knee. Playful whaps and such. Coworkers, friends-of-friends, people I’ve just met that night. Men and women, and generally without any overt sexual connotation. Except, of course, we’re all primates, so it’s always sexual, even when it isn’t. Right?
I’m getting more used to it. I’ve gone out of my way to start hugging people a lot, especially friends. A sort of aversion therapy. It seems to be working, and I get the feeling people like it. I got so into it that I recently hugged someone out of reflex as she was saying “I have a thing where I don’t like touch,” and felt like a complete jackass for it right after. :(
Every time someone touches me I have a feeling of regret right after. Regret that I’m not in better shape, fear that they touched some soft fatty part. I wish I was iron throughout. It’s a great motivator to keep working out. Yeah, I know it’s not rational, and I know it’s like the least bad problem of all problems to have.
But man, touching. This social-bonding stuff is weird.
Body dysmorphic disorder can actually be a real problem.
Many of my friends touch each other as well, and me sometimes as well. I think it’s weird as hell, and don’t actually know how to reciprocate or even respond to that. I’m quite sure that I come over as very distant, and I actually don’t want to. I just can’t think of touching people as a normal, or even comfortable, action.
“Except, of course, we’re all primates, so it’s always sexual, even when it isn’t. Right?”
American puritanism has had some really, really weird effects on your social interactions.