As I was wandering the highways and byways of the InterWeb last week, I found a rather interesting article entitled "No Hugging: Are We Living In A Crisis Of Touch?" (actually from 2018, but I just found it). Having had some thoughts about the matter, I decided to make the time to read the article.
Turns out, we may be a victim of unintended consequences.
Touch, states a neuropsychologist interviewed for the article, is now associated with setting off legislative processes and hysterical processes (his words, not mine) and is creating problems for mental health because (it turns out) we need some level of touch. It has gotten to the point, says the article, that in at least one school in Britain children were asked to band-aid themselves up rather that the teacher do it and risk a complaint.
The article has some of the science behind touch (it appears, as with so many other behaviors, there is a point to it) and some interesting facts (the high point of touch seems to about age 20, after which it declines 1% a year. You can do the math).
This is not surprising, of course, given the current general climate that any touch, any time, any where can be considered grounds for angst - even years after the event has happened.
The market has stepped in, of course. From the article, there are now "cuddle shops" where a client can choose from up to 72 different "cuddle" services.
As I have written before, physical touch has essentially become a no-go for me. If you are not family I have to know you well - pretty well indeed - to consider anything beyond a handshake. It is nothing personal of course, just me trying to protect myself in a world where the slightest unwanted brush can be misinterpreted and ruin one's life.
The fact that people will soon be paying for the service of a touch is, I think, is as sad and foolish a statement on where we have ended up as any I can think of.