Where Is It Appropriate to Touch People? An Explainer for Old White Men

Where Is It Appropriate to Touch People? An Explainer for Old White Men

There seems to be some confusion for an entire generation of white men about where the no-no spots are

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Screenshot: Twitter (Other)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is up in arms after an official report from the state attorney general’s office found that he indeed harassed many of the women who leveled allegations against him. Helpfully, he responded to the findings with a video, freely admitting that, yes, he does frequently touch seemingly everyone he meets in ways that could be construed as inappropriate.

“I do it with everyone,” Cuomo tells the camera as a slideshow unfolds of himself foisting his hands upon the bodies of people who have not offered any indication that they are amenable to that touch. “Black and white, young and old, straight and LGBTQ...friends, strangers, people I meet on the street.” In summary, the entire spectrum of humanity has been subject to unwanted touching by Cuomo, so the women that complained are not in any way special.

This defense is apropos for a certain generation of white men (our current president included) who believe that as long as their creepy touching isn’t an ass-grab or a titty-grope then it does not constitute sexual harassment. Shoulder rubs, upper-arm caresses, and even little strokes of the cheek are all a-okay to these people, who never seem to have been taught to consider other people’s potential discomfort. Every human on the planet, they seem to believe, is surely receptive to their touch.

When I was a child, a favorite game of the elderly and middle-aged men in my town was to ask little girls if they wanted to “see how a horse eats an apple.” They would then grab our bare knees before getting an answer and squeeze until we squealed with involuntary laugher, allowing themselves to pretend the child was enjoying the assault on her bodily autonomy. That’s actually one of the first ways I realized that I’d like to make a whole-ass career of making fun of these shitbags.

So thanks for starting me on my career path, you horrible old pervs. Now, allow me to return the favor by proffering this list of places to stop touching people.










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If you’re at work, don’t kiss anyone on the cheek.


If you’re at work, don’t kiss anyone on the cheek.

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Screenshot: Twitter (Other)

If you’re not at work, ask if the person would like a kiss on the cheek.

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If you’re at work, don’t grab anyone by the chin, and avoid touching children at all unless you are a childcare provider.


If you’re at work, don’t grab anyone by the chin, and avoid touching children at all unless you are a childcare provider.

Image for article titled Where Is It Appropriate to Touch People? An Explainer for Old White Men
Image: Twitter

Outside the workplace, most people with whom you are not intimately acquainted do not want your hands on their faces.

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If a person stands near you at work, it is rarely an implicit invitation to hold hands.


If a person stands near you at work, it is rarely an implicit invitation to hold hands.

Image for article titled Where Is It Appropriate to Touch People? An Explainer for Old White Men
Image: Chip Somodevilla (Getty Images)

Ask anyone who is not family or a close friend if they would like to hold hands in all scenarios not involving a trapeze.

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Do not massage anyone in the workplace.


Do not massage anyone in the workplace.

Image for article titled Where Is It Appropriate to Touch People? An Explainer for Old White Men
Image: SAUL LOEB (Getty Images)

Unless you are a professional masseuse. And even then—only if the person has specifically paid for, asked for, and/or consented to those services.

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Finally, should you happen to encounter another old white pervert...

Finally, should you happen to encounter another old white pervert...

Image for article titled Where Is It Appropriate to Touch People? An Explainer for Old White Men
Screenshot: Twitter

Go nuts. It’s anyone’s ballgame.

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