an announcement

I have a concern I discussed with friends this weekend at Osfest and then at my husband at home and they all suggested I make something akin to an announcement.  I was still considering whether I would speak publicly on this when I read this. Also, it goes along pretty well with the conversation around behavior at cons.

Deep breath. Here goes.

I don't like being touched very much.

Let me back up a bit. In the past decade I've been to dozens of writers conferences and fan conventions. There's a commonality to all of them, and it's touching. Hugging, arms around shoulders, people resting their knee against yours under the table, hand grabbing, and just plain old bursting proximity bubbles with Close Talking.  (Lots of people like to pet my crimped hair; I actually don't mind when asked.)

I realize I'm not like the other. A lot of fandom likes being touched. But that's geek street cred, right? Not being like the other sometimes? This weekend I ran the notion by several people at parties and found I'm quite a bit less alone in this preference than I thought. We casually came up with guidelines: If we're friends, I'm cool with quick hugs around the shoulders or standing close for a picture. Even so, I hate long, enveloping embraces from anyone besides my husband. I LOATHE when someone comes up behind me and hugs me. This weekend someone came up and touched me (long enough to be like a hug) from behind. Very annoying and discomfiting.

I also realize I am at cons to be watched, heard, spoken to, and photographed. But my presence at conventions doesn't give anyone the right to touch me, just like Wil Wheaton is not anyone's fuel for a mob scene.

amendment: I'm seriously very rarely offended, and if you know me, then I'm pretty cool with hugs. Especially from women; I'm generally cool with hugging my women friends. (and women usually don't take it further than a quick hug anyway.) I even go in for the hug myself sometimes because it's accepted and can cap off a goodbye nicely, for instance. 


Claire L. Fishback said...

I think it is important for people to know this and I hope I never broke your proximity rule (I'm trying to think back to Hugh Howey's book signing... did I pull you into an over exuberant hug? I can't recall). Anyway, back to my point if I had one at all. I think it is important for fans to know that our favorite people ARE in fact people and even though we've read EVERY SINGLE BOOK and seen EVERY SINGLE MOVIE by a particular person does not make us their best friend. Would these crazy fans walk up to a stranger and pull them into a slow roast hug? Probably not. So why do it to celebrities?

In short, I agree with you on this. If it makes you uncomfortable, you have to stop the masses from grabbing and groping you.

Also, I shuddered at the part where you mentioned people coming up behind you and touching you. That is not okay in any way shape or form unless that person is your husband or child(ren).

Kudos to you for voicing your limits!

Hugs... but a quick one... not a slow roast.

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

Claire! I love that: slow roast hug. LOL.

John Blackport said...

Interesting thing to call it. Suggests severe discomfort while still being humorous, yet less icky than terms referring to cephalapods.

John Blackport said...

I don't mind being touched so much. But I'm pretty sensitive about hygiene and bad breath, especially when the Close Talking bursts that proximity bubble.

I know cons are filled with junk food and drinking, and less sleep than is good for you, right? But if you wouldn't go cozying up to strangers in your bathrobe, why would you go without brushing your damn teeth, or smelling like a locker room?