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.