Please Don't Touch Me

by Mallory Paul
Peathegee Inc / Getty

I don’t like to be touched. Just ask my husband.

I shy away from hugs at family gatherings. I don’t like being kissed by people as a form of greeting. It makes me uncomfortable. It’s fucking weird to me, people touching me who don’t know me. People who aren’t my husband or my children. And even they know that sometimes, I need to not be touched or needed and my body needs a fucking break.

So, when I go to work and a man who is not my husband pats my back, throws his arm around me or rubs my shoulders, I freak the fuck out.

Of course, you wouldn’t know it. Outside, I seem fine. I am laughing at your shitty jokes and ignoring your paltry attempts at flirtation. I am pretending not to hear the dirty undertones of innuendo in your morning anecdotes, and I am trying my best to choke down the temptation to slap you right in your smug, entitled face for being so assumptive, so arrogant as to think I would ever want you to put your hands on me for any reason.

But that’s how women like me survive.

We have families to support. We don’t have the luxury of telling you to get your motherfucking hands off of us.

You don’t realize that you’re doing it. You don’t know how it makes women feel to be touched even in the most innocuous and innocent way by a man who hasn’t been given permission.

And as much as I hate to admit it, I am at fault for not speaking up. So, from now on. Please stop touching me.

I don’t like to be touched, and people need to respect that.