Why the Fuck Did You Touch Me

I just had something extremely weird and creepy done to me.  While I was facing toward a drink/condiment station at lunch (and therefore unable to see him), a man came up behind me and touched me from behind and told me what he thought about my hair.

You have the some of most beautiful and healthy looking hair I’ve ever seen.

Now it was not some sort of fundamentally inappropriate sexual sort of touching; he grabbed my shoulder from behind.  But the fact of the matter is that he approached a woman who was incapable of knowing he was there and felt entitled to touch her without permission.  He probably felt me tense, because he then said,

Now, I’m not hitting on you or anything.  I just thought I’d tell it like I saw it.  Not that you’ll care what I think anyway.

Do you want to know why I tensed, you fucking asshole?  Because you fucking violated my space and right to consent to contact without my even being aware of your presence.   I didn’t even catch a glimpse of this man until he walked away toward his seat to know that I was dealing with a balding, white middle-aged man who was a few inches taller than me.  I don’t necessarily mind being complemented on my hair, especially as I took more time in doing hair and makeup today (it’s my fourth wedding anniversary today and I wanted to look nice).  I don’t mind being touched under all sorts of circumstances; I’m a fan of touches, hugs and kisses for all friends, family, coworkers I like, etc.  But how the hell don’t you see what you did to a stranger as completely wrong?

I don’t exactly like being surprised from behind and I think it may have something to do with the sexual assault I experienced as a teenager in Rome.  I was extensively groped by an older man whom I could not escape because the bus was so crowded I literally could not get away.  This man not only felt up my ass, he rubbed his erect penis on me, and used my attempt to get away as an opportunity to press even closer to my body until the next stop on the route.  My mother actually took a picture of me as I was being assaulted from across the bus and it amazes me that I have a photograph of the douchebag in my photo album.

I’d never actually thought about this experience as having a real impact on my daily anxieties until today, but I really, really dislike having someone walk behind me.  Thrack will know what I’m talking about, because it even applies to him.  When we have to walk single file somewhere and he falls to the rear, I’m constantly looking behind and I move either beside to behind him at the earliest opportunity.  It’s a strange realization but I think I finally figured out the reason for this anxiety. Huh.

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