Wednesday, July 30, 2008

You Can Look But Don't Touch

In Italy, it's considered good luck to touch a pregnant woman's belly. That is in Italy.

In America, we don't like people in our personal space. We don't like feeling someone's flesh pressing against us in a tight space. We don't like people touching us unnecessarily, as many men think they have a right to do to women. We don't like people touching our babies' faces, especially strangers.

The other day, Yvette was livid when a friend kept admiring her hair by repeatedly touching it. When Yvette wore braids, people thought it was their right to put their hands all over them. It drove her crazy. Total strangers touching and sometimes pulling her hair!

I wear my hair back and sometimes a hair or two (I have three.) will be out of place and my nice friends will sometimes fix it for me. I HATE THAT. Maybe I like that mussed look or maybe I'm aware of what my hair does during the course of the day and I'm okay with that. If I have a hair sticking straight up like Alfalfa, then it's fine to gesture with your hand or a finger that I'm having a style issue and I'll fix it. Would you wipe butter off someone's face?

A lot of women wear extensions. You don't want to touch someone's hair and have it end up in your hand. There is no happy ending to this kind of situation.

Touching a person's hat should also be avoided. "This woman kept taking my hat off my head," a friend said. "She did it three times and finally I told her she needed to stop." The woman explained that she kept taking his hat off because she liked it. Say what?

After Yvette told me about her hairy situation, I explained, "In Italy, people think nothing of touching a pregnant woman's stomach and women are okay with that."

"That's in Italy," she replied.

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