Intimate Relations

Twice this week I’ve been startled by someone touching me in a manner that I am not accustomed to outside my home. I’m not sure if it’s just me or more of a societal thing, but I think, in general ,people don’t touch each other much anymore. I know that people are worried about invading someone’s personal space and perhaps inviting outrage or, even worse, being accused of some sort of assault. But, I think it’s a sad thing to lose.

On Monday as we were wrapping up our yoga practice we were laying on our backs relaxing in Shivasana. That’s a pose where you lay on your back and try to deepen your breath and relax completely. I’ve also heard it called Corpse Pose. (They really do mean relax.) We were laying in Shivasana and our instructor had turned the lights down to help facilitate  our relaxation. She came around to each of us and rubbed our shoulders and gently stretched our neck and head into better allignment. Ooh, it felt good. I was really hoping she would repeat that on Wednesday’s class and she did. Yay! ( But, I wasn’t startled by it so it doesn’t count as the second time.)

The other thing was in Art class. We had all gathered around and were sitting on the floor to watch the teacher demonstrate something. When we were finished and went to get up, the young gentleman next to me offered me a hand up. This one startled me in two ways. First it was nice, and rare, to see someone with some manners in todays rude, rude world. But, it was also strange for me to be offered a hand up by someone other than my husband. Because of that, it seemed very intimate. I suppose it could just be that I’m not sitting on the floor very often in public, but it seems like more than that.

When I was younger, I went to a lot of Renaissance Fairs. Often, this is a place where the people who have trouble fitting into a group at school can find a place to fit in with the other people who feel the same way. There can be a lot of hugging, and kissing, and often there are courtly manners being portrayed. That’s the last time I really remember being in a setting where people who didn’t know each other that well were comfortable around each other in a physical manner.

I miss that easy, friendly physicalness of that place and time in my life.

So, in case you are ever unsure of this, let me be clear: I love hugs. And I really love back and shoulder rubs. (I give them, too.) In fact, the other day I was thinking that I should go volunteer my services as a guinea pig for the massage therapy program at my school. That would be really nice if that worked out, wouldn’t it?

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