Commentary and Philosophy Non-Fiction posted November 7, 2017

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Not All touch Is Dangerous

Invading Personal Space

by doggymad

Not everybody appreciates the touch of a stranger's hand, but others do not have a problem with it. Some people are uncomfortable in crowds, whilst others fail to notice the constant jostling.

Since the advent of political correctness and the myriad of restrictions that followed in its wake, even offering assistance to another human being has become fraught with danger. People now risk sexual harassment law suits for barely touching an individual without prior consent.

Recently I went to Portugal with my friend who is visually impaired, although she would prefer the more correct term of blind. Due to her weight problem, her mobility is reduced and she requires assistance in many aspects of her daily life.

The hotel that we stayed in offered a free bus service to and from the local beach, a perk that we were more than happy to avail of. However, despite the fact that access to the transport was difficult, at no point were we offered any assistance. It was left to me to ensure her safe transfer on and off the bus even though I am not exactly built like a bulldozer.

Martha is a very independent individual and more often than not politely refuses offers of assistance. That is not to say that she would not appreciate an offer of help in certain circumstances. This lady clocks in at just under five foot tall which further impedes her progress in certain areas. Even with my extra three inches I struggled to get into the bus.

As a recent convert to the gym, I have found many changes there also. Even ten years ago, it was perfectly acceptable for an instructor to assist a client during exercises. It might involve holding or manoeuvring a limb into a certain position, or holding the legs in order to facilitate the correct execution of an abdominal strengthening series of moves. Either way it was considered to be a non threatening gesture.

With all the regulations that are now in place, the personal trainers have to maintain a professional distance from their trainees. The most innocent of congratulatory pats on the back could render them liable for a sexual harassment law suit.

I am not suggesting that we all engage in group hugs in the communal bathroom/shower facility, but perhaps if we were to apply some common sense, we would be in a position to decipher the difference between assistance and inappropriate touch.

Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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