Home » Gender Identity, Personal Narratives, The Adventures of the Boi Wonder
11 August 2011, 9:00 am One Comment

The Adventures of the Boi Wonder: Cold In Human Arms

This post was submitted by Levi

“Hold me, hold me in your arms
Well, now heal me, heal me with your touch
Your touch keeps me hangin’ on”

–”Hold Me In Your Arms” by the Black Keys

I don’t hug people. It is something that people tend to learn about me rather quickly. Every time someone comes in to hug me, I tense up, unsure of what is going on or how to react. It ends up that most of the time that I either awkwardly accept the fact that I am being hugged or that I do the ‘one-armed half-hug’.

Actually, I distinctly remember one girl flat-out telling me, “I really need to teach you how to hug properly”. She gave me instructions on three different hugs, and the next time she saw me I tried to follow her directions to the letter. “Better”, she said, “though you don’t have to be focus on doing it exactly right”. I smiled slightly, though a bit embarrassed that my mechanical nature to basic human acts had still shone through.

In high school, I would make it well-known that I disliked hugs or any kind of unwarranted invasion of my personal space. The underclassmen that were so fond of running up and giving hugs were quelled from these actions by my promises of physical harm and/or death. I eventually relented somewhat and let them pet me on the shoulder… but not before first asking if it was okay. For the most part, I would greet my friends by ruffling their hair or with a near-punch done in surprise attack. When I got to college, the approach changed to surprise raptor attacks, but at least I no longer threatened people if they tried to hug me.

My dislike of hugs has taken a new turn the past couple of years. No longer can my discomfort be strictly pinned on my life-long reluctance towards physical contact. It has definitely become a dysphoria issue at this point.

The fact of the matter is that I haven’t had chest surgery and probably won’t be able to for at least 3 or 5 years. Try as I might with layering, binding, etc… the chest exists. I can cover it up as best as I can, but I am hyper-aware that they can be felt when someone hugs me… or at least that’s what I worry. I also worry that it prevents the other person from really just thinking of me as just a guy with no adjective in front of that word (and no unwelcome flesh in front of me). Doesn’t matter who it is hugging me, the person could be queer, straight, cis, trans, whatever; it is always a concern in floating around in my head.

The queer community is a very affectionate one. As opposed to my experiences with cis and straight spaces, queer spaces are filled with a lot of kissing, hugging, and other friendly touches. It was quite a surprise to meet adults who would physically embrace me while still an acquaintance. The first time I met this one person at college the day I moved into the dorms, she hugged me while wearing only a bra and pants. It does make you feel welcome; but when you hate your body, being that close to a new person can be rather jarring. I am still trying to figure out how to handle this as well as my own bodily malcontent. At least I have a few more years to sort it all out, if you want to try to spin it positively. Damn, this sucks.

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One Comment »

  • queer dude said:

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. Personally, I’ve relied on hugs for maybe 25 years as primary upkeep of my self esteem. To think you don’t have access to the same sort of reassurance makes me cringe. ***HUGS***