The other evening I put my hand on a man’s arm. And he recoiled. It was a meaningless gesture, done in the moment to emphasis a point. He’s a big guy and someone I have known for years. (The big guy bit is irrelevant really, serving only to give you the full comical impact of said recoil).
‘Men – decent, smart, supportive men – whisper about feeling “frightened”
Had I touched him, uninvited, in the past? I don’t know. It’s entirely possible. I tend to get rather animated when I talk.
This can manifest itself in, though is not limited to: slaps on the back, pats on the forearm and very occasionally deep, all-enveloping hugs. I certainly don’t ever recall having seen the same look of panic spread across this man’s face in the way it did this evening, however. But then I haven’t seen him since 2016. And a lot has changed in that time.