Posts Tagged “relationship”

This is what I have to deal with, even before I’ve had coffee *grumble*

Katy and I went for movies and burgers for our date day. We saw Fantastic Beasts (ok) and Passengers (good!). Both Katy and I have a crush on JLaw.

My eyes are up here.
No, they’re not!

Bobble was ambitious and tried to stare down a burger bigger than he was.

Then he tried to do the same thing to a giant Christmas hot chocolate.

Surprisingly, he got everything down. Don’t know where he puts it.

The hands and the owl had a very good day.

Edit: JLaw booblage goodness from the movie!

Human beings are social animals. For thousands of years, people have banded together for protection. There was nothing worse than being banished from the tribe. It was essentially a death sentence for the individual. Even in modern times, the worst punishment, short of death, is solitary confinement. If a hundred people are put in an enclosed area the size of a football field, within minutes they will start to form groups. People will move around until they find others who share their same interests. It doesn’t take long for one person to reach out to another.

Primates are social animals as well. They travel in troops. Touch is a key form of bonding. They spend hours grooming each other. One primate will spend a significant amount of time picking vermin and parasites out of the fur of the other. It is not just to eliminate unpleasant pests, but grooming is way for a troop of primates to bond. Grooming is not to be mistaken for a sexual advance. Sexual advances, among the less cultured primates, are a lot less subtle than that.

Humans, like other primates, need to be touched. An infant that isn’t held will grow up with problems socializing with others. Premature babies physically develop faster and will be healthier when held. There are health benefits to being touched. Adults need to be touched as well. Failure to be touched often enough even has a name – touch starvation. Like a starving person will aggressively seek food, a touch starved person will aggressively seek to touch and be touched.

touching
People with high levels of skin hunger are disadvantaged in multiple ways, compared to those with moderate or low levels. Specifically, compared to people with less skin hunger, people who feel more affection-deprived: are less happy; more lonely; more likely to experience depression and stress; and, in general, in worse health. They have less social support and lower relationship satisfaction. They experience more mood and anxiety disorders, and more secondary immune disorders (those that are acquired rather than inherited genetically). They are more likely to have alexithymia, a condition that impairs their ability to express and interpret emotion. Finally, they are more likely to have a preoccupied or fearful avoidant attachment style; they’re less likely to form secure attachments with others in their lives. An individual who has experienced touch starvation for too long will become dull and listless. Touching is an intrinsic deep emotional need for adults.

Touch is an intimate form of communication. Intimacy is not to be confused with sexual desire. A father who walks away from a lost game with his hand on his son’s back is reassuring the son. He is saying that he still cares for the son despite the loss. He is saying that he understands how the son feels for having lost. He is reminding the son that he is there.

On nice spring days, lovers walk down the street holding hands. Young lovers do more than just hold hands. They brush against each other. They bump hips. There are little exchanges of jostles. It is a subtle means of communicating and reminding the other that they are there. It is not necessarily a sexual advance, but a ploy to increase emotional bonding as part of establishing a long-term commitment.

Young children, when frightened or shy, run to a trusted adult and hold them around the leg. It is a move that announces trust, and a need for protection. The adult will drop a hand down to touch the child on the shoulder or neck, as if to announce their presence and their willingness to protect the child. It is a simple exchange that is basically innate to humans, as it appears across all cultures.

Some touching gestures are formally established. A handshake is one form of touch that is formally defined within a social context. Some organizations have ‘secret’ handshakes which are used to allow members to identify each other without having to exchange a word. There are occasions when a handshake is appropriate and other situations when it is not. People shake hands on greeting, on parting, and on sealing a deal. The handshake which was once the providence of men only has transitioned to a gender neutral exchange. The ‘air hug’ is a modern touch gesture. It is almost a parody of a full body hug. An air hug emulates an intimate form of contact without the intimacy. It is exchanged with a woman on greeting, parting, and sharing of good news. In some cultures, men greet each other with a hug and kisses on the cheeks. It is not a sexual greeting, but denotes and announces that a certain level of friendship exists between the two men. It can also be a touch gesture with political implications.

Societies can be characterized as high touch and low touch. In a high touch society, people touch hundreds of times per hour. The touches include pats, laying a hand on the person, holding hands, little brushes of body against body, and hugs. Touching even occurs between casual contacts. High touch societies have low rates of suicide. In a low touch society, people only touch tens of times per hour. These are usually more formal gestures such as shaking hands and the targets are limited by social constraints – families and close friends. Societies that have a low touch culture have high rates of suicide.

In many primitive societies, infants are in physical contact with adults almost continuously. Mothers carry their infants in a sling while performing almost all of their daily activities. Slings for carrying infants keep them in constant contact with their mother. Held in a sling, an infant can experience its mother with all five senses. The infant can taste the difference between fear and pleasure in the woman’s sweat and milk. It can smell her scent. It can feel her skin. It can hear her voice and learn how a voice can change to communicate different moods. It can learn the meaning of some words.

In technological societies, infants are separated from their mother most of the time. They sleep in cribs with baby monitors that allow the mother to be in another room. They are transported in strollers and baby carriers. The stroller separates parent and infant at a very important stage in a child’s social development. The child is left alone in the stroller in front of the parent. From what the infant can see, it is as if it was abandoned. The parent stands back from the child at a distance of three to four feet. They can see the baby, but not the expression on its face. It is no wonder that babies get grumpy after being in a baby carriage for too long.

Modern society frowns upon touching. In the world of political correctness, it isn’t society that determines if a touch is inappropriate, but whether the individual touched is offended or feels threatened by the touch. The result of this lack of societal standard is that it is safer not to touch than to touch. Concerns about inappropriate touching have led to adults backing away from hugging children or even helping children who have been injured. Even touching among children is viewed with suspicion.

There are often major repercussions when men and women touch in the workplace. A hand on a back of a member of the opposite sex can be mistaken for an aggressive pursuit for sexual purposes. Suspicion of touch as a sexual advance is not limited across genders, but within a gender as well. Jobs can be lost and careers ruined.

Outside the workplace, concerns about touching between genders are not as great and have fewer repercussions. Men and women will greet with loose hugs and air kisses. Men shake hands and may clap a hand upon a shoulder if the situation is appropriate. Very close male friends might hug, but it is often awkward and performed with a sense of unease. Fears of being labeled a homosexual is often enough to prevent gestures that might be viewed as too intimate.

At one time, human interaction was taken as a given. Neighbors socialized in the evenings and on weekends. People stood in lines at businesses chatting about the weather, politics, and sports. People, even those without children, went to local high school sporting events. People hung out in local taverns patronized by individuals within a single neighborhood. A weekly trip to the barbershop was a major means for men to learn about things happening in the community. People gossiped over the fence.

That is not to say that older times were utopian or that everyone was a nice person. It just meant that people touched and talked to each other. One knew who was nice and who was an asshole. With people knowing each other and knowing that they would have to deal with them frequently, there was a need to maintain a certain level of decorum. It was worth taking the time to talk with others.

Technology, for all of its other benefits, has undermined the need for social expression. Young men and women will walk beside each other texting on their cell phones. Both hands are occupied by the ever present device. There are few spontaneous touches. Although it hasn’t completely disappeared, seeing a young man and woman holding hands while walking is becoming rare, compared with three decades ago. Body language has become more tentative.

More disconcerting than a lack of touch is the increasing lack of face to face communication. People go to an ATM to perform their banking. It might be a little faster than dealing with a bank teller, but there is no interaction with another person. There is not the exchange of greetings, questions about the transactions, and expressions of parting. The machine is inanimate and impersonal.

The same can be said of interactions with other businesses that have transitioned to self-service models. Gas stations, groceries stores, theaters, and even a few hotels have dropped the human face to their business and replaced it with a kiosk. Robot voices have replaced human operators in customer support organizations. One can now go into a place of business, make purchases, and leave without exchanging a single word with an employee of the business.

Humans interacting with humans is being replaced by humans interacting with machines. Humans in isolated little metal boxes on wheels travel from one place to the next while talking to their car. It is now commonplace for humans to interact with other humans through technical devices. The urge to meet with others like ourselves drives people to social networking through computer programs. For all one truly knows, the entity on the other end of a computer network might be a machine.

Isn’t it interesting that suggestions to meet in real life, are met with suspicion? If texting, instant messaging, chatrooms, and computerized social networking lead to deep meaningful friendships, wouldn’t a face to face meeting be desired? There is something lacking in the technological solution to the isolation what has occurred over time. It is sensed, but never overtly stated.

Humans are social animals with an innate need to touch and be touched. Yet modern society is demanding that people ignore this fundamental aspect of being human. Modern society is isolating people from each other and, as a result of the isolation, society is breaking down. What is a society if it is not a collection of people with shared ideals, customs, and traditions?

Source: Lazlo Zalezac, Service Society.

w3iwant

As long as I have permission.

pp-very-tired

Cause she is very tired at the moment…

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3653days

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12 years ago today, Sara and I were late to pick up Katy from the airport in Montreal. My life has never been the same since…