A while back a thirty something friend of mine was sharing a thought he’d had while getting a hair cut. He had just been in to the local Great Clips or whatever and a woman had cut his hair. Now think about this situation for a minute. You’re in the chair and the woman stylist throws the bib on you and goes to work. Two interesting things happen here.
First she is talking to you the whole time. She asks you about your day and do you have to go back to work. She asks what you do and tells you that is a good job when you answer. She tells you some about her, she’s been doing this for years, or she is doing it temporarily and has bigger dreams. “What are you doing this weekend?” she might ask or, “Did you see the Cardinal game?” You are having a random conversation with woman. For some guys I know this would be the longest conversation they have that month with a woman.
Secondly and more interestingly she is touching you the whole time. She is touching your head. She is cutting your hair yes but she is also combing it and measuring it. Several times she brushes up against you with her arm or her body. It just happens – it’s not on purpose or a move of any kind. But still it’s physical touch. Then she gets a look and tells you it looks good – and makes sure you feel the same way. She’s right there, close, in your face.
My friend said this, “What I realized sitting there was that this was going to be the only time this month that I have any sort of female touch in my life”. It is the closest thing to physical intimacy he was going to have. . . until the next haircut.
Is the Church’s best answer to this “Don’t have sex?”
Here’s the thing – we are going to need more than that. This is one of the hardest things about trying to walk with Jesus as a single person. We have to basically forgo physical intimacy. And the worst part is that if you grew up without any (different post for another time) you are really hurting and awkward in that area. This is such a hard deal that we don’t talk about. We’re told all the things not to do – don’t touch, don’t think, don’t even look. So what is it we are supposed to DO with that desire? It’s not just sex we are giving up. It is touch. Sometimes for years. This leads to all sorts of traps, like isolation and awkwardness.
What do you do with your desire for touch? Do you have anyone that you can even say that out loud to?
We’ve got to talk about this and create environments (proper ones) for conversation, community and even proper touch. Proper touch – I laugh as a I type that – what does that even mean? I don’t know but we need to figure it out.