20-Something, Hipstercrite Life

Why I’m Incapable of Touching Other Women

I’ve never been a girly girl.

This is a topic I’ve written about before and one I often battle with. When I see a gaggle of gals giggling and gallivanting with one another (I’ve been practicing my alliteration skills lately), I feel like a sad puppy staring out onto the sidewalk from inside the pet store window while simultaneously throwing up poopy newspaper that I ate from the bottom of the cage.

Having large herds of girlfriends and playing with each other’s hair and going on shopping trips together is something I’d like to do, but physically can’t make myself act on.

Maybe it’s because I’m an only child and am still perplexed at 29  as to how to play well with others or maybe it’s because as a child most adults thought I’d be a future lesbian due to my lack of wanting to dress as Cinderella or Madonna and instead reveled in pretending I was Rod Serling or Groucho Marx. Who the hell wants to be a blonde chick with no decipherable talents? I’d rather be a middle-aged Jewish comedian or creator of the best television series EVER any day.

Being the anti-girl girl is a sad truth I carry with me and was forced to confront again the other day when a female friend of mine kept touching me.

She was excited, thrilled with the way the day was progressing and as she got happier, the more she put her hands on me. If I was walking in front of her, she would pat my back. If we were standing side by side, she would grab my arm. It was not creepy and rather endearing, but I spent the majority of my time with her thinking about how I could force myself to return the tactile favor. When touching someone doesn’t come naturally to you, over-thinking about touching them makes things substantially more awkward then they need to be. While her hand effortlessly graced my body, I stood there stiff, raising my arm as if a puppeteer was controlling my limbs and placed a heavy hand on her shoulder, like a friggin’ emotionally-challenged war hero father congratulating his son on a good job at the ball game.

What the hell is wrong with me?

Why can’t I just relax and join in with the girl touching? Why is it that when I’m around females my first thought isn’t, “OMG her hair!” and instantly start stroking it?

Psychotherapists would probably tell me that I wasn’t touched enough as a child, but I don’t think that is the case. I come from a very loving and emotional family, predominantly female (my father left when I was eight and I was raised by my mother and grandmother). Though my grandmother comes from a generation where you’re unable to cry at Dances with Wolves because you lived a similar early life, my family was big about the hugs and back scratches when needed.

And with all that being said, I have no qualms about touching males. However, I don’t touch men anymore because a.) I have a boyfriend and b.) enough men read Men’s Health articles where it says if a woman touches your arm she’s flirting with you and she must like you.

What I’m trying to say is that I’m not a frigid cyborg incapable of making human contact; I’m a frigid cyborg incapable of touching other women. Hugs? Yes. Pat on the head? Yes. Back rubs? No. Cuddling in bed? No.  It’s not that I’m uncomfortable with my sexuality. Hell, you’re talking to the girl who still has a place in her closet for men’s suits, ties and top hats. It’s just that women are the last people I want to cuddle in bed with. Unless we were stranded in the middle of the Yukon during a fun “lady vacay!”  Canadian trip gone awry, I don’t need to crawl into my girl friend’s sleeping bag and neither does she.

And don’t get me started about flopping my boobies out or peeing in front of her.

So female friends and acquaintances, if I don’t touch you, this is why. It’s not that I don’t like you or find you repulsive, it’s just…I’m a god damn weirdo.

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  • Reply Smedette January 9, 2013 at 11:42 am

    “Why is it that when I’m around females my first thought isn’t, “OMG her hair!” and instantly start stroking it?” This is not my first, second, third or last thought. I’m assuming the same for a lot of females out there. Honestly, I’d be totally creeped out and insulted if people just wanted to touch my hair.

    I have four sisters and we never gossiped, played endless hours with our dolls, braided our hair and all that other shit that girls are “supposed” to do, so I don’t think your “problem” is related to being an only child.

    I don’t think it’s a problem at all and you might be over-thinking this one.

    • Reply hipstercrite January 9, 2013 at 11:43 am

      Maybe I’m just around too many girls who do this. I have a group of girlfriends who sleep naked with one another!

      • Reply Davey Jones January 9, 2013 at 12:26 pm

        pics or it didn’t happen…

      • Reply Leigh Ann January 9, 2013 at 2:43 pm

        I think your friends are definitely in the minority. Laughing so hard at Davy.

    • Reply Courtney Ely January 9, 2013 at 3:33 pm

      I’ve heard this with many other women too. But then I start asking them, how did your Mother act as far as “private” space? My mother took showers with us as children, and I also had a twin sister, so I am very comfortable around other women. My mother walked around in the privacy of our home without some pieces of clothing on. This is just what we grew up with. I am all over the place with hugging and touching all of my friends.
      That’s why I liked the idea of “love languages” or, how people express their affections towards friends, family, and partners. Sometimes its quality time, giving presents, and some girls just like to touch each other a lot. You just didn’t get that “love language” for your girlfriends. Don’t sweat it.

      • Reply hipstercrite January 9, 2013 at 7:28 pm

        Courtney, interesting to think about. Yeah, my mom didn’t do any of that stuff. Maybe if she did, I’d be more touchy. Luckily I’m really good at touching/showing emotions towards my boyfriend. It’s nice to have one person I can express that with.

        • Reply Emily January 17, 2013 at 12:03 pm

          My mom is very free like Courtney’s and yet Lauren I am exactly like you. Not until my early twenties when I started living with females (college, after college, etc.) did I realize that maybe I missed something? Maybe I wasn’t properly initiated into the pee freely with the door open, swap tops with each other at random, sunbathe in the nude club. Somehow missed the boat! I can appreciate those girls’ openness, and often find it wondrous to behold like Shark Week or Little Women but I can never truly relate. Get a dog or a cat if you need someone besides your boyfriend to cuddle with 🙂

  • Reply MAtt Conlon January 9, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Line em up, I’ll touch them for you.

    …Kidding. I’m really not that creepy.

    I always thought it was kinda strange, to be honest. I never cared much for unsolicited contact. There were a couple of those touchy girls who liked to tuck guys’ tags in, used to weird me out.

    • Reply hipstercrite January 9, 2013 at 1:55 pm

      Hmmm…I’ve never tucked in a guy’s tag. That goes over into weird OCD territory.

  • Reply corrin January 9, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    I just don’t like to touch or be touched. Don’t hug me, don’t send me for a message, don’t do anything besides shake hands. It skeeves me out.

    • Reply hipstercrite January 9, 2013 at 1:56 pm

      Hahaha….a message or massage? At first I was like, “Damn! Corrin doesn’t even like people sending her messages!”

      • Reply Leigh Ann January 9, 2013 at 2:45 pm

        I had Corrin in mind the whole time I was reading this. I’m not a huge touchy feely person either, but I always give her a hug even though I know she has issues with it. She hasn’t filed a restraining order yet on me. Probably because we only see each other like twice a year.

  • Reply Carol January 9, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    I’m not by nature a touchy-feely person (except with dogs), but there are some people I seem to have no problems putting my hands on. I don’t know why. Still, I wouldn’t sleep naked with my girlfriends. I wouldn’t even sleep naked with myself.

    • Reply hipstercrite January 9, 2013 at 1:56 pm

      HA! Yeah, I’ve never been big on the naked sleeping either…

      • Reply Frank Martin Jr January 9, 2013 at 4:20 pm

        I could never sleep naked. Whenever I consider it I am immediately overwhelmed by the fear of dying in my sleep and being found nude.

        • Reply hipstercrite January 9, 2013 at 7:27 pm

          I think about, “What if someone breaks in and I have to run out into the street? I will be cold AND naked!”

  • Reply Anna C. January 9, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Society is much more tolerant of displays of physical affection among women than it is for men. I think maybe some of those super-touchy straight girls are a little gayer than they let on, or they were raised in a family where PDA was more common and have a more casual attitude towards platonic physical contact.

    I think it’s totally ok that you’re weirded out by this. Having boundaries is not something to be ashamed of. Feeling a lack of cuddly impulses towards a person you’re not attracted to is entirely reasonable…you’re not a freak.

    • Reply hipstercrite January 9, 2013 at 2:00 pm

      Thanks, Anna. That makes me feel better!

  • Reply Tolly January 9, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Could it be you have a secret pride about it?

    This isn’t all to imply that there isn’t some deeper, legitimate pain there that actually needs to be addressed, and if so I have nothing but compassion for it and you.

    But I think our quirks sometimes get calcified into badges of individuality, and crystallize our views on who expresses the behaviors that we don’t. Like your views of girly girls. Lauren, I KNOW you know we don’t only think about each other’s hair. 😉 Unless one of us just got a fah-bulous Keratin treatment…

    Kidding, but seriously. I think it’s OK if you don’t want to touch other girls. But I also think that quirks that shout out, “this is ME!” are also worth examining. I’m an only child too, and while I’m very physically affectionate (with everyone), I noticed that one thing I clung to about myself was that I was late everywhere, all the time. At first I felt guilty, but then I thought it fit into this endearingly scatterbrained image I had of myself. “That Tolly! She’s so up in her head that she’s always late!”

    And then I realized that maybe that’s not what people were thinking, and that maybe they would appreciate it if I were on time. And so I slowly stopped thinking of that quirk as an essential part of my being, and even though I’m still not ALWAYS on time, I’m making it more of a point now to be punctual.

    Just some thoughts. 🙂

    • Reply hipstercrite January 9, 2013 at 2:02 pm

      Tolly, that was way too heady for me to think about. 😉

  • Reply Lance January 9, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    I’m a hugger. I grew up in unaffectionate parents and family members and got screwed up in the head about it. so, now, I hug a lot, females and males.

    I understand how you feel here. The first half of my life I was like this, especially with other men. But, now, I guess, part of my getting over being such a whack job, I overcompensate.

    thanks for being honest

    • Reply hipstercrite January 9, 2013 at 2:03 pm

      Awww that’s great, Lance! Good for you!

  • Reply Amanda January 9, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    I’m awful at it, too. I want to greet my girlfriends, who I dearly love, with a smooch on the cheek, declare how glad I am to see them and how great they look.

    That never happens. But guy friends…not a prob!?!

    • Reply hipstercrite January 9, 2013 at 2:04 pm

      I remember when I moved to LA, I noticed that everyone did the double kiss cheek and the “Ciao”! I kid you not. I was like, “WTF?” IT weirded me out.

  • Reply Athlete January 9, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    I think if you’ve changed a ton in a locker room as part of a sports team, or if you have sisters and share a space, your privacy/nudity boundaries are affected.

    After having been on a college sports team where we worked out once or twice a day together for four years, my perspective today is that naked group showers aren’t weird or sexual, they’re efficient. Definitely wasn’t my perspective before having that experience.

    • Reply hipstercrite January 9, 2013 at 2:08 pm

      You know? I did a lot of sports too. Seeing naked girls doesn’t weird me out, but getting naked in front of girls and everyone just letting their boobies and vajay-jay hang loose is a little weird to me. I had a girlfriend have an entire conversation with me with one boob hanging out of her shirt. she didn’t realize it was out and I was too deer caught in headlights to say anything.

      • Reply Athlete January 9, 2013 at 2:16 pm

        Haha. Yeah, the casual boob-in-your-face is kind of weird.

  • Reply Tara January 9, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    I think you’re more common than you think. If I don’t know someone extremely well, hands off. I’ve never felt the urge to pet hair or grab an arm. I’ve been drunk at Mardi Gras & grabbed my best friend’s boob (thank God that was pre-digital cameras!) but like I said…I have to know people really well to feel comfortable with them…after that, all bets are off & pretty much everything is fair game.

    • Reply hipstercrite January 9, 2013 at 2:05 pm

      Good point. Thinking back, I think I’m more physically affectionate with some girlfriends that I’m really close to. Hugs I’m all for!

  • Reply Loretta January 9, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    I’m an anti-girl girl myself, I’m terrible at being girly and always have been. I was fortunate enough in my high school years to meet another girl who felt the same way about all the weird girly-girl-touchy-feely-stuff, and we’ve been best friends ever since.

    Other girls always perceived me as being anti-social because I wasn’t all giggly and gossipy all the time, I didn’t want to do manicures and style my hair 50 times a day, I didn’t feel the need to hold someone’s hand while shopping at the mall. I always had an easier time hanging out with guys during those years, which of course those girly-girls who thought I was anti-social perceived as “oh, she’s a slutty little thing that doesn’t want to hang out with us” blah blah blah.

    I’m all for greeting friends with a hug – no problem there, especially if I’m genuinely happy to see them. But other girly-girl stuff I have to really work at and I find myself doing a lot of that over-thinking-awkwardness that you mentioned in your post.

    • Reply hipstercrite January 9, 2013 at 2:27 pm

      Sounds exactly like me! Sometimes I felt like the other girls were excluding me, but I wonder if my lack of girly-girl behavior made them think I didn’t want to hang out with them. Which was true. 😉

  • Reply @distract_me January 9, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    TOTALLY identify with this… I always just feel awkward if my female friends touch me. Except my one closest friend, but that’s probably only because she’s very tactile and I’ve given up resisting! xx

    • Reply hipstercrite January 9, 2013 at 2:28 pm

      Haha! Maybe she can give me some pointers…

  • Reply Leigh Ann January 9, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    You’re always so up in my head. I have a couple of very small groups of girls I am comfortable with, but not large gaggles. And even then I still feel insecure about my girlfriend responsibilities: listening, giving advice, checking in on people. I suck at all of those. I’m a hugger as a greeter, but not generally a toucher.

    Friends that sleep naked together? Definitely not something “most” close girlfriends do. 🙂 But one of our male friends did kiss my husband on New Year’s. On the mouth. And I missed it!

    • Reply hipstercrite January 9, 2013 at 7:26 pm

      Leigh Ann, maybe we’re soul sisters and as soul sisters we’d have to hug each other and gossip and get over our weird girlfriend responsibilities?

  • Reply Cathy Benavides January 9, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    I am the ultimate girly girl – gossip with me, let’s get manicures and go to lunch, and drink mimosas. However, I hate romantic movies (especially rom-coms and tearjerkers) and I loathe being touched. There is nothing that creeps me out more than unsolicited contact. Even my sisters will tell you I hate sharing a bed and I’m not a big toucher. Oh well, I have my other girly talents to fall back on 🙂

  • Reply suzy January 10, 2013 at 8:50 am

    i’m so happy i’m not alone in this. i have this friend who likes to grab my hand, interlock fingers, and hold it while we’re walking down the street. i’m like, NO NO NO NO NO NO inside. i don’t like hugging my girl friends, i don’t like kisses on the cheek, i don’t like crying in front of them, i don’t like standing too close to them. boys, sure. sure sure sure. yes please, even.

    that is definitely why most of my best friends growing up and into my college years were guys.

  • Reply carissajaded January 10, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    I used to think I was crazy, because if I was sitting in the back seat next to one of my dearest friends, and their leg was resting against my own-all I could think about was wanting to squish up beside the door and NOT have them touch me. I’m even an awkward hugger. But I’ve realized it’s not only women touching that I can’t stand. It’s “soft touching” in general. I’m fine if someone friendship punches me on the arm, or embraces me in a tight squeeze. But if someone reaches out and touches my arm, or rests their hand gently on my back I go crazy. I think men are just more like to “hard touch,” which is easier for me.

  • Reply Andrea December 6, 2013 at 9:46 am

    YES. I am ever so slightly on the aspergers scale, and never understood why everyone wanted to touch so dang much! Unless I am seeing good friends or family who I’ve been separated from for a long time, really ridiculously excited (very rare), slightly drunk, or consoling someone who is upset, I hate all of the touchiness, but try to endure it for the sake of “friendliness”. I am now in my early 30’s, and just yesterday at a community dinner with my husband, had a women who I barely know (who is around 30) that I see once a week or less at certain events give me a hug and kind of run her fingers through my hair at the same time as she ended the hug and kind of pulled it out to the side to look at it. She didn’t make a comment on it or anything either. I felt weird afterwards. My husband confirmed that it wasn’t just me, and that this was indeed bizarre.

  • Reply cat February 3, 2015 at 11:40 pm

    I grew up with 6 older brothers and a mumme and a dad … we were quite poor, and traveled a lot … I remember taking showers with my mumme in some communal facilities … and never thought anything of it … but then again, I used to to clean her up, when she was drunk as well …just sayin’ … Awesome blog, Hip … just discovered you … Love, cat.

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