A Penny for your Thoughts: Proximity Alert

Those of us that write, live, or both regarding the BDSM Lifestyle tend to focus on one major item above all others (or I hope they do…). A specific word that conveys many feelings and comes with the heaviest of weight. Consent. Without consent, it’s abuse. But what about outside the kinky bedroom activities?

A Penny for your Thoughts

This truly upset me. I felt violated through this person’s experience. I felt my rage rise on their behalf and had to swallow it down and stuff it into the deep dark corner of myself. There are so many people out there that have boundary issues. Not just men, all people. I blame many things for where we’ve come with touching in the world today.

Sometimes ignoring the person busting through your personal bubble is easier than speaking.

Other times it’s being frozen and unable to respond. And then there are the times where you don’t even realize what happened until hours or days (etc.) later.

A couple of decades ago when I was still being educated I happened upon a person who disliked being touched and had no qualms against saying so. Unfortunately, cramped space, narrow aisles, and giant book-filled backpacks made it difficult to say the least. Apologizing for brushing against them became an automatic part of my days. Of course, I feel that in this situation, I shouldn’t have had to apologize every single time. But I also felt if I didn’t I’d have to hear them snipe about it later. They were quite vocal about disliking any kind of touch and my patience wore thin to be honest. It could’ve been someone a foot taller and twice my weight attempting to squeeze through, you know?

Tweet about unacceptable touching

It was either brush up against them or smack them in the head with my backpack. Which would you prefer?

It’s automatic for me to place my hand on someone’s back if I’m behind them. I say “I’m behind you” and light-touch their shoulder closest to me. I do this because I’ve come up behind people with loud heels, making a comment to another person or some other noise… and yet I still end up scaring the bejesus out of the person in front of me because they were lost in thought. A light-touch and me speaking to them sometimes can bring them back to awareness. If they get upset I touched them, I apologize and say I didn’t want us to crash and burn.

These are situations that everyone goes through on regular basis. Forgiveness and patience are virtues.

What happened to the person in the tweet above is completely different. This man invaded a woman’s space. I’m not going to say it hasn’t happened the other way around because we all know that it has. It’s also happens with same-gender people as well. Women can invade the space of men. More often than not, men won’t complain if they feel their bubble is burst. That’s unfortunate because we need to be more aware of these things.

For example: That pushy lady at the day job who pats the growing belly of a pregnant woman because it’s everyone’s right to touch the body of someone growing another life or that woman who likes to flirt and toe the line by straightening collars and ties. I have been known to stop someone and offer to fix their collar – or hold their items and tell them what needs fixed. Sometimes I don’t even think about it and reach out to fix it, but they don’t get flustered, they know exactly what I’m doing because of the number of times we’ve done it before.

I offer hugs to people if they need them. And that’s exactly how I say it, too. “Do you need a hug?” Some people will think about it and say yes. Some people will think about it and say no. Others will be like “From you? Of course, I need a hug.” and that’s because over the years we’ve done it to show support and care.

I’ll pat someone on the shoulder and tell them that I appreciate them. I also scratch backs when asked. And I’ve offered neck and shoulder rubs occasionally. Some people take me up on it. I’ve had people fix my pant leg when it’s stuck on the buckle of my boot and it was fine. I’ve asked people to tie those silly tie thingies on the back of my shirts because when I do it they end up lopsided. (And yes we snicker about me asking someone to tie me up.) I’ve asked people to help lint-roll me and returned the favor. It all depends on how you feel about the people you’re working with. My day job people are lifesavers more often than not (despite how much I whine about having a day job).

Depending on where you work, life can be different. Rules can be different. We’re a family, we’re small, many of us have been here for ages, and yes, all of our eyes hurt from the amount of rolling and there are dents in our heads from all the headdesk smashing. We have special phrases we use to convey annoyance or misunderstanding about something that’s happening or we just want to be silly and dramatic.

I’ve had my space violated. When it happens, if possible, I’ll back away. I take my power back through moving. If I’m unable to move, I ignore it or make some abstract joke. Later, I’ll take a hot shower and wash off the negative energies absorbed to replace them with positive thoughts and smutty ideas. Now, don’t get me wrong, the people that stepped over into my personal bubble or did something stupid, I consider it just that. They did something stupid. If it went further than that, if it was something that truly affected me and I couldn’t continue, then I’d say something to someone. More often than not, it’s just a random awkward situation and we all move on. I’m lucky in that regard because I know that if I did have to bring something up, there are people who would listen and help.

We all let things slide, and that’s okay, until it’s not. What this man from the tweet did is absolutely 110% not okay.

I’m one of those people who seem to attract strangers. They come up to me and talk to me. Fine, talk to me all you want, but the second you touch me, we’re going to have a problem. When you go to the doctor now, they tell you they’re going to touch you, where they’re going to touch you, and why.

We’ve become a society that fears touch because at some point in our fragile lives we’ve had someone, or many someones, step over that boundary and hurt us. Some of those ways are subtle or we’re too young to even realize it until it busts out of your skull ages later in the middle of the night. Sometimes, it happens every single day of your life. In some way, we’re in a constant state of awareness about how far away others are and how quickly they can step into our bubble and do something harmful.

We were meant to be a caring, loving species, but instead many of us have become predators that don’t go in for the kill but for the lifelong torment we can inflict on others. So, think about things before you do them. Do you know this person well enough that you can open your arms and they bound into them for that supportive, tight squeeze while saying wonderful things? If not, then perhaps you should ask before you proceed to reach out and touch them. Or, you know, like they say on roller coasters and other wild rides – keep your arms and hands inside the car at all times – in other words, to yourself.

Consent isn’t only sexy – it’s a way of life. Ask before you proceed. The person you’re asking will appreciate it and you so much more for taking the time.

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  1. I was listening to a podcast this morning that mentioned the increase in consent language in romance. So that made me happy. Now if a lot of people in the world could get the same message, life would be so much better. What the heck is wrong with people?

    1. I wonder myself what’s wrong with people.
      My thoughts are they’re to dense emotionally to realize they’re distressing someone, they don’t care and the goal is to distress someone, or they’ve never been put in such a situation because their life is open and wonderful and sunshine and rainbows but don’t realize many aren’t in their happy bubble but in a dark and stormy strangers are scary bubble.

    2. I’ve been harping on consent language for ages it seems. I’m glad that it’s finally happening. Now we just need people to realize it can be used in every day life, too.

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