You guys probably all know at this point that I highly dislike being touched. The closer I am to you, the more lax I get. And someone I am dating generally gets all my physical affection. I don’t even really like touching friends and family unless we are really close.
I’m not sure why, but I can feel wherever someone has touched me. If someone casually puts their hand on my back or shoulder, I can feel it for the rest of the day. If someone hits me or kisses me, I can feel it for days. And some touches, I feel like they are invisibly tattooed on my body forever. Like sex, or physical violence.
So I take touch very seriously. So seriously that it has gotten me into a lot of trouble in the past. And probably will in the future.
One time, a few years ago, I was out with my brother T and my sister J. We went to a karaoke bar. Just so you know, yes, I do sing. I’ve got a good enough voice. On this specific occasion I sang “I’m on Fire” by Bruce Springsteen. I like to sing that song because #1 I LOVE Bruce Springsteen. I have seen him in concert 4 or 5 times. He is a brilliant writer and his lyrics are like poetry. #2 I really like that song. #3 It is easy to sing and short which is the key to good karaoke.
But before we sang, T and I played a game of pool. I used to be a good player, but now I am not so good. But better than T. We played our game, I won, and we abandoned the table to go sing.
Once we were done singing, we agreed to play one more game before leaving the bar. I walked over and grabbed a stick. My brother T also grabbed one. There were no quarter stacks on the table to indicate that someone was waiting to play so we loaded up our quarters and racked up a game.
We had not even broke the set when a large man came strolling up to me. He was about 5’10” and very large. He was wearing a leather jacket and had his wallet on a chain. He was your typical tough biker type.
And he was walking right towards me.
Being taller than everyone grants me some privileges. I can reach things off the top shelves. I can gain a lot of weight before it is noticeable. And people generally don’t start shit with me.
But this guy walked up to me and said. “This is my table.”
I was really confused. “I’m sorry? Your table?”
He smiled. “I won the last game. You have to play against me.”
I still was pretty confused. “Um, no thanks. I want to play against my brother.” I gestured to T who was standing on the other side of the table watching us.
“But I won the last game. That means you have to play against me.” He was whining now like a petulant child.
“No. It doesn’t. I don’t want to play against you. There were no stacks on the table. I paid for this game. And I am playing it against who I want to.”
He smiled and put his hand on my shoulder in an over-friendly way with his face close to mine. “Listen sweetheart-”
I did not smile. I shoved his hand away from me and got right up in his face. “No. You listen. I’m not your sweetheart. You have no right to touch me. I am not playing this game against you. You will wait until I am done. And then you can do whatever the fuck you want on this table. Are we clear?”
His smile instantly faded from his face. He took a few steps back from me. It was loud in the bar and probably the only person that had overheard was my brother, who was expressionless, just watching. Waiting to see what would happen next.
The biker walked over to my brother next. I moved closer to hear what he had to say. I am very protective of my friends and family. And I thought maybe this guy didn’t want to hit a girl and would start a fight with T instead.
“Hey man. I’m talking to your girl over there-”
My brother interrupted. “She’s not my girl. She’s my sister. And I heard you talking. And I heard her say no.”
“But if you just talk to her…”
My brother interrupted again. “I’m not talking to her. I don’t want anything from her. YOU go talk to her if you want to. But she already said no. And you shouldn’t have touched her.”
I should mention here that T is 6’4” but very thin. He is also not very athletic. This biker no doubt could have kicked his ass. Easily.
“But it’s my game!”
“Technically, my sister won the first game on this table tonight and then we walked away. So it is still her game.”
The biker was now stuck. He looked at me and then he looked at T. It was pretty clear we were not going to be intimidated by him. He was a fucking amateur compared to the kind of treatment we were accustomed to from our parents.
The biker went over the bar and sat and glared at us all through the game, sulking. I intentionally missed every shot I could. We dragged the game out longer than we’d ever played before. I could feel the biker seething at me. And you know what? I didn’t fucking care. I don’t like being bullied. And I like being touched even less.
When my brother tells this story, his friends ask “Why didn’t you go over and help your sister when some creepy biker was touching her at the bar?”
And my brother always says, “Help her do what? She didn’t need my help. He was an idiot that didn’t know better than to start something with her.”
And he is right. Because I would never start a fight with someone over a game of pool. But I sure as hell would over being touched without my permission.