perhaps it’s not clear

I am a woman.

I am tired of being a woman.
Let me say that again.

It was not a choice I made, it was not elective.

Stephen Sondheim says you’re either a “daughter or a wife.”
This has been my experience.

In other words, I have enough to deal with without you touching me.
Let me say that again.

Just because I am a woman, you do not get to touch me.

That means you, the I’m-sure-well-meant-server-at-a-decent restaurant who lovingly touched my shoulders to move me while saying “Excuse me.”

You can use your words. I can hear you.

That means you, creep-o in the veritable Manhattan hotel elevator who touched my back after I avoided conversation with him.

DON’T FUCKING TOUCH ME.

DON’T THINK ABOUT IT.

DON’T DO IT.

DON’T FUCKING TOUCH ME.

To the man boarding the NJ Transit bus behind me grazing my back:

DON’T FUCKING TOUCH ME.

To the creepy-ass supporter of the arts who adores me and my work and kisses me slopily and touches my elbow:

DON’T FUCKING TOUCH ME.

I tried to respond on a Facebook comment thread (bad idea #1) to someone saying they didn’t understand an intelligent aquaintance’s remarks about Spike Lee suggesting women withhold sex a la Lysistrata to avoid sexual assault on campuses. (Totally a great solution, don’t you think?)

My feelings about this are [clearly] unsubtle, and I couldn’t even articulate myself to reply to make a point and I scared off some single sad boys who wanted to understand why I felt Spike Lee’s comments were reductive. They wanted to engage in conversation, and fully understand why this aquaintance and I felt Spike Lee was being reductive and I could not.

Because, I don’t think it’s subtle. I can’t even find the words to explain why his comments were reductive.

It boils down to my response to being touched unwantedly, which is not intellectual; it’s purely visceral.

All I can say is: Don’t Fucking Touch Me.

I’m not a big fan of religion and yet I watched a Conservadox Jewish woman very plainly tell a man at the Honda dealership where I was servicing my car after he extended his hand: “I don’t shake hands.” She said it plainly and matter-of-factly and unapologetically and I admired her for this. I feel pity for her in other regards (oy, that wig!) but that’s neither here nor there. “I don’t shake hands.”

For now, until I can become more subtle or the world changes, mine will be:

“Don’t Fucking Touch Me.”

(And yes I have a boyfriend and he’s great and he gets to touch me.)

But you, stranger man, do not.

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