Can someone please explain the allure of reaching desperately out in front of you, in the hopes of touching something you like to me? I have noticed this as an ongoing habit of the human species and I just can’t figure it out. When you see red carpet events, there are hundreds of people packed along the barricades, reaching with all their might for people like Beyonce. Sure, some of these people are holding pens for autographs, but an alarming number of them are just trying to touch her—seriously, why the fuck do we do this? Do you think Beyonce feels different than any other person? Do you expect her skin to be soft, like a blanket? Would anyone care that you did touch her? Or is it an “I’ll never wash this hand again” kind of super creepy fanaticism? This may be one of the least examined human-behavioural gestures. I for one am stumped as to what it accomplishes at all.
Do some people think that the secret to fame and fortune comes from skin-to-skin contact with Beyonce? Are your hands so soft she may stop in he tracks and say: “Wait, guys, shut-up a second. Who was that last person who touched me? Give them a million dollars and the keys to my house.” I’m serious, what is the best-case scenario here? What could one hope to achieve, besides annoying the shit out of me (and I’m going to go on a limb and guess Beyonce) constantly with grabby, pathetic groping hands? We get that you like things, but please keep your mitts to yourself.
It’s not just celebrities either; we humans seem to be fascinated with touching all kinds of things merely for the sake of touching them. I remember being in Florence and seeing Michelangelo’s David, and the toe (the only reachable part of the statue, which is still an uncomfortable distance away) was polished due to all the fingers that have given it a touch or two. Does this make for a good story later? Do you get magic art powers? Hell no. You get home from your vacation and say to someone “I touched the David statue” and people say “Cool.” AT BEST… If you were to tell me, I would reply with “Why!? Why did you touch it? Why did that matter to you of all things?” Really, I don’t get it. You know what marble feels like already, what new perspective did you get from touching this statue? Plus, all of these gropes alter it forever with your greasy hands, (it was actually worn of all detail, it was genuinely disgusting). The toe literally was a “shining beacon” for losers and their incessant need to feel “greatness”.
Another example: Dolphins. Now, I haven’t been to a marine park in a very long time because they suck on an infinite number of levels, tho it baffles me how people always ravenously try to touch the dolphins. Now, I am not a dolphin (the last time I checked) but if they are anything like me (and I like to believe they are), I bet they don’t want your kid poking them in the face while you dangerously dangle them over the railing. I’ve seen it over and over, they swim past and crowds of people fling their limbs spastically over the barricades, arms flailing, fingers straining towards the animal as it is made to circle the tank—and should one succeed, we are all treated to the truly enlightening analysis they provide once they turn around excitedly and proclaim some true-to-character idiocy like “It feels just like a beach ball!”. Was that worth it? You look like an asshole. You teach your kids that barriers are not there to prevent them from doing something that is potentially unsafe for them or the animals; say rather than to keep you from falling into a pit and dying, but to challenge you, to make sure you really really want to touch the thing that they’ve gone out of their way to make harder to reach.
Genius. Bravo. Darwin would be proud of your parenting skills.
Making something more difficult to touch is not an invitation for you to try harder to touch it. Hands are for clapping, holding, building forts, making art, typing, any number or practical applications, actually. I am willing to bet that we didn’t evolve these appendages over thousands of generations so you could grope at everything on the other side of a rope. Remember what granny said and look with your eyes, you twit, not with your hands.
You can read Jen’s other posts on PP [here]