New Novel Sneak Peak: “Touch”

I’ve decided to start a new novel! The basic premise is that it’s a rom-com between  collegiate Professor Elena Soler and a potential adjunct Professor Rafa Villalobos. Soler teaches a course on connection and lectures about the five love languages. The first is touch…

***

We all want, no, need to be touched. Yes, laugh if you wish. But it’s true. We all need to be touched—physically, mentally, emotionally… We need to be touched because it is the basis of the human experience. They say men are storytelling animals. They say that what separates men from beasts is our ability to determine right from wrong.

But in this class, we will explore what it means to be human through our feelings. Through our interactions we have with each other.

So, man as the “storytelling animal,” well our stories influence others. They evoke emotions, they manipulate, they can hurt or heal.

Similarly, when we see someone do something “right,” like helping someone less fortunate, we feel “warm and fuzzy.” We say we want to be like them, or wish we could be as good as them. But when we see someone do something “wrong,” we recoil, we distance ourselves, and often, we make the transgressor seem like the other.

In each of these cases, someone else’s actions touched us, changed us.

Now of course, there is more to touch than simple emotive reaction to a story or a sight that makes our heart sink or soar. I’m sure some of you are still snickering at my initial statement.

There is the physical touch that is necessary too. Of course, there are different types—there is the functional, professional touch of a handshake. It might simply serve as a way to facilitate a greeting, or perhaps assert dominance.

Then there is the social, polite touching, perhaps a friendly hug or a light touch to the arm to divert someone’s attention or guide them.

Of course, there is the friendly touch of a hug between two people who are close but not intimate.

That, as I’m sure you all are focused on, is the touch of love, or sometimes lust and arousal. In any case, touch communicates so much more than our words simply do. The touch we use might serve to amplify our words, but perhaps they take their place.

Regardless of how or why touch is used, it is necessary. There is a theory out there that humans need eight hugs per day in order to feel connected to those around them. In order to feel valued and loved.

Now, it would be easy to dismiss this as a wife’s tale or something found on a self-help, wannabe influencer Instagram post. But there is some truth to it. Afterall, of the five love languages, which we are starting with in this class, one of them is physical touch.

Think about it, your partner might say, “I love you” and mean it. Or, they might caress you, while looking into your eyes, or they might kiss you so sweetly that a warmth blossoms in your chest and in that moment, you know without having to be told.

On the other hand, perhaps you’ve had a hard day—it could be because a test didn’t go as you hoped or something more serious like a loss—and your friend squeezes your hand. It may not be nearly as strong as that lover’s kiss, but it still provides some comfort.

On that note, there have been studies that have shown that when  women touched the hands of their husbands, the husbands’ brains changed. These scientists were doing brain scans of the men, and before feeling touched, their brains lit up with fear, danger, and threat; but once they felt connected, their brains were significantly calmer and less stressed.

Yet, despite this empirical—and anecdotal—evidence, “touch” and “love” are still severely underappreciated and under-researched. In fact, investigations, no matter how formal are often dismissed. If they are investigated, they are looked at analytically, but oftentimes, the deeper meanings and implications are only partially investigated, if at all.

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