Thursday, September 30, 2004

My friend and I have been e-mailing back and forth on what we find frustrating about life. As of this evening, the e-mail stands at 14 pages (including many "this e-mail is confidential blah" signatures) and various topics ranging from how tired we are at being so controlled all the time to what you would do if you were in a situation whereby you like a guy who used to go out with one of your friends to whether you'd enter into a relationship with someone knowing full well that you'd have to leave the country in half a year's time. We're both hardcore party-goers who are disillusioned with men in general so perhaps this might explain the overarching theme of the e-mails.

Tonight, I'll touch on what's been bothering not just me, but some of my friends as well: the blurring of personal boundaries.

Before I left for London, I was - and still am - very conservative. I wouldn't hug a guy goodbye after having just met him, for instance. Neither would I be comfortable with a guy putting his arm around my shoulder if he was just a friend. And I definitely wouldn't be able to tolerate dancing with a guy whose hands were roaming all over my body. Not that I can tolerate such a thing now, just that I'm better able to divert the hands from areas which are very private. And back then, kissing someone who I had no feelings for? No way. In fact, kissing someone who I liked but wasn't in a serious relationship with was a no-no. And now? I've snogged someone who I didn't even think was that attractive simply because - and I admit it - I was bored and frustrated with life and just wanted to blow off some steam. Not the most noble of reasons and definitely out of character for me, but still, I did it.

The question I posed to my friend was: where's the line supposed to be drawn? Everyone seems to be doing all these actions which I used to think were reserved only for those who you truly cared about and were interested in. Take, for instance, one of my guy friends. I had known him for less than two months when, upon our next meeting, he had slipped his arm around my waist while I stood there rather rigidly and slightly uncomfortable, and given me a big hug and a peck on the cheek. Granted, he was a little drunk and we were in a club, but still. And of course, there're friends who snog and it doesn't mean anything.

I just don't know where the line should be anymore! As mentioned earlier, I still am conservative, but nowadays, I just act the appropriate part. If I'm in a club, I go along with people placing their arms around me. I'm more touchy-feely now, even with people I've just met, placing a hand on their shoulder or back while talking to them, when last time, I would have hesitated greatly before even laying a finger on them. Now, I don't even mind holding on to a guy's waist when they lead me across the crowded dance floor, though I do prefer just holding on to their back or shoulder. But letting him take my hand - even for just a brief while - that's just far too intimate for me. It may seem strange, but in a world where kisses and hugs don't mean anything anymore, the act of holding hands is about the only thing that I haven't seen anyone try to corrupt and trivialise.

As my friend - who's rather touchy-feely with her guy friends as well - said, "I think it means more than a kiss now. So many people randomly kiss strangers. When someone holds my hand, I actually feel special." Well said. I experienced that same feeling yesterday, after reluctantly slipping my hand off my friend's back into his hand as he was both steadying me while leading me onto the dance floor. It felt good. It felt nice. And that was unexpected given that I don't have any feelings towards this guy. But maybe because it's been far too long since I - or my hands - have been held.

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