Ake's Pains debuted in the University of Akron Buchtelite in September of 1977. The school's reputation as an institute of higher learning has still not recovered. Ake's Pains returns after a brief 32 year hiatus. It's back, baby!

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Sometimes When We Touch – It’s Inappropriate!

Last time I provided rules for men on hugging females in non-sexual situations. Now it’s time to examine the much grayer area of non-sexual, versus sexual touch. This issue has been vigorously debated due to the enduring behavior of a newly-declared presidential candidate. However, this discussion IS NOT POLITICAL in nature. At the end of the post I will present two simple rules which will bring much needed clarity to this issue.

But First, A Funny Story From My Past

I almost got fired early at my first office job for inappropriate contact with a coworker ……

I had only been working there a short time when I was assigned the task of collecting the purchasing history and prices (it was a wholesaler) of one of our major products. Now today, you would type the part number into the computer system, download the data into an Excel file, and email it off. This would take at most five minutes, depending on spreadsheet formatting.

But this was the early 80’s, so I had to go over to something called a file cabinet, find the paper files that I needed, go back to my desk and write down the information on a paper tablet. The project took me over 6 hours to complete! (Six hours versus five minutes? That might be the most interesting part of this post for many people).

My desk was in the middle of a general work area (I hadn’t even earned my first cubicle yet!). The file cabinets were along the wall behind me, about seven feet directly behind my desk.  Of course, I soon got tired of walking back and forth to the file cabinets and learned how to push off my desk and roll my chair right over to the cabinets. It also helped me not to have to bend over to reach the bottom drawers.  Then I just pushed off the file cabinets to roll right back to my desk.

Of course, the first couple times I checked to make sure no one was at the file cabinets, but by afternoon, I just rolled back and forth routinely. Around 2 p.m., I pushed off my desk, and spun around with my hand extended ready to grab the drawer handle. However, my coworker Diane was bent over, searching the bottom drawer of the cabinet for a file. I slammed my foot down (Fred Flintstone style), my fingers only about an inch from her booty. I gasped, and then quickly moved the chair back to my desk, where I nearly hyper-ventilated, trying to recover from the almost-disaster that would have cost me my job.

Now I know what you are thinking. “Don that would have just been an honest mistake. Everyone would have believed your story and laughed it off.”  Unfortunately, no. This would have not involved grabbing Big Bertha, or even Aging Alice.  No, this was young, smoking-hot Diane. And that rump was Grade A – prime. Those buns would have won a blue ribbon at the state fair.  Guys, it was “Oh My My-rated”.

If I had in deed hit the target, Diane would have screamed and everyone in the vicinity would have known. I don’t think a jury of compassionate nuns would have cleared me. The old, perverted HR manager probably would have said “Ooooh, what did feel like?  Heh, ehhh heh, probably felt real good, didn’t it? Heh, heh, heh. You’re fired, get out of here!” No one would have believed I goosed that hooch by accident.

Non-Sexual Touch

I employ non-sexual touch all the time. Because I joke around constantly, I need to convey when I am not serious or sometimes to just emphasize the point I am making. This is accomplished by tapping the person with the back of my first two fingers. I routinely touch women (and men) this way when talking. Usually it is on the forearm or back of the hand. If seated, it may even be on the knee (but never the thigh and never the bare knee). If I know a woman well, I might put my hand on her shoulder, but only when offering assurance, removing it as soon as I stop speaking. And of course, a single encouraging pat on the back is acceptable.

There has only been one instance where this has caused a problem.  I was talking to the wife of a co-worker at a distance and probably joking around as always do. I then had to immediately walk past her to get where I was going and I gave her my standard 2-finger tap on her upper arm. I walked a couple more steps, when her husband stopped me.

“You touched my wife” he said sternly.  (And I get that some guys are very protective of their woman)

I think I just gave him between an apologetic and confused look, and kept on walking. Of course, what I wanted to say was: “Dude, she ain’t that good looking! C’mon man.” But I like to keep my teeth in my mouth.

Sexual Touch

As I mentioned earlier, the debate about what is appropriate touching initiated by a man, to a woman has been blowing up the Internet. 
No, no, no,no, no!

Here is a list (probably incomplete) of the activates this man has been accused of or videoed doing:

Smelling her hair

Kisses the back of her head

Places and keeps his hands on her shoulders from the back

Then rubs/massages her shoulders

Leans in close to her and nuzzles her neck

Touches/holds/massages her face and neck

Puts hands on her shoulders and whispers in her ear

Grabs her around the waist from behind and holds her

Kisses her forehead

Rubs noses with her

Two Simple Rules

Are these behaviors sexual-touch or non-sexual touch? Here is the way to tell.

For Men: If you would not touch/initiate behavior in this way with another guy, then the touch/behavior is sexual in nature.

This makes things so clear.

Guys, ever smelled/sniffed another guy’s hair? – Didn’t think so …..

Last time you cupped another guy’s face in your hands? – Yeah, right ….

Hand’s around the waist from the back? – Not so much…

Kiss on the forehead?

No, no, no, and nooooooooooooooooooo!

I will admit I have whispered in another guy’s ear, which frequently happened over the years during business presentations.

Me: (whisper, whisper) Our boss is a real butt-head

Colleague: Yeah, huge butt-head

But at no time did this whispering ever include a “neck-nuzzle”!

For Women: You are standing talking to a beautiful, younger woman at an event, when your husband approaches her from behind, massages her shoulders and kisses her forehead. If you are the least bit upset at any type of this behavior – It is sexual touching.

I do know that if I rubbed noses with the chicky-babe in that situation, my nose would not be good for any function, until a week after they removed the cast.

So these are my simple rules for non-sexual versus sexual touch.  Once again, I AM NOT MAKING A POLITICAL statement, judgement, disqualification, endorsement or condemnation.  You political maniacs may now resume your slicing and dicing and figure it all out!

My work here is done ……

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