Touching culture

Once when I was younger I had a theory of human interaction saying that it would complete with body-touching. For example, there is a certain difference between when talking with grabbing hands and when talking just verbally. Ants communicate one another touching others’ antenna, and we being evolved creature from simple organ based to more complex based, the communication tool also evolved from touching and hand gestures to verbal and sonic methods.

Still, this evolution differs from culture to culture. In East Asia, generally, touching is avoided to show respect. Not even physical touching, even eye contacts are avoided as the same reason. Total opposite case is applied in Latin America, where touching is socially accepted. Even in Argentina between males greet each other kissing on the cheek. Haptics has been studied to understand these cultural differences in a perspective of the tactile sensations between individuals.

It has been a bit evident in Buenos Aires since I interact with many local people, as well as many European people. Mentioning my brothers from different cultural backgrounds, They surely react differently like when I physically interact with my Brazilian brother and like when with my Belgian brother. Maybe in Brazil, touching demonstrates friendship and kinship, rather sexual relationship as in Belgium. Yes, for the very reason many people misunderstand of my friendly intention.

This goes further, even when to mention of eye contact. In Western culture, in general, direct eye to eye contact is considered positive. It is more a measurement of one’s confidence. I was told that in Arabic culture, people make prolonged eye contacts in general to demonstrate their genuine interest on the conversation and their trustfulness. In Latin American case, quite ironically when to consider their high-contact culture, people don’t seem to have a prolonged eye contact, rather eye contact is mostly avoided as in case of East Asia.

Today I went to a Japanese restaurant in San Telmo district. As usual, I was gazing people with my own way of observation. Eye contact was an essential part of such process, of course. Shy personalities reacted me saying that I am a bit weird, having such an eye gazing when talking or when not talking. I was there staring at people’s eyes, without talking much. Many reacted asking what is wrong with me. But later walking on the street in meditation, I realised that it’s not because I’m weird at gazing people’s eyes, but because they feel exposed of their vulnerability and insecurity. Just gazing their eyes, I could shake their vulnerability and insecurity out.

When one is vulnerable, touching can be fatal. Because not everyone opens up to such intimacy. But I do believe that people want such intimacy from deep down, no matter which cultural background one exercises. Everyone wants to be gazed, to be heard, to be touched and to be loved.

Knowing this, yet I wouldn’t stop gazing people, or hugging them. I might be the one who lives fed up by people’s vulnerabilities.





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