When I was in South Africa last month, the wedding couple organized a wine tour for the wedding guests. We went to Paarl and Franchoek and they had picked four very different and unique wineries. (Thank you guys!!).
The first winery was Fairview. It is beautifully built, has great wines, and fantastic cheeses (which we unfortch couldn’t take with us). Heck, they even had bretzels. Outside the winery are beautiful gardens, and a goat enclosure. They don’t mess around, there was a goat tower, and a bridge, and rocks for them to climb. Verena of course, needed to feed them, bought a bag with goat food and went there. I stood right underneath the bridge and since I am not the tallest, I had to stretch out my arms, and crane my neck. Since I, like most people, do not have eyes on the back of my head, I couldn’t see what was going on behind me. So, imagine my fright when all of a sudden, someone taps me on my shoulder and says “boo!” I shrieked, turned around, expecting maybe someone from our group (although none of them would be so childish), but found myself looking into the face of a random guy. Not his entire face, he wore one of these ugly sports sunglasses. He laughed, and sauntered away. Of course, I was open mouthed and couldn’t really say anything.
Here is what I should have said: do not fucking touch me. Ever. It’s not funny. What if I was a crime victim and heavily traumatized? What if I had tripped and hurt myself? and finally: Would you have done this to a six foot tall man? Or any man, for that matter?
This isn’t a cultural difference- Yes, Americans have a bigger personal space than Europeans and probably South Africans. But this isn’t standing too close in a full bus. This is an invasion of my physical autonomy. Does that sound too pompous? Because, really, it isn’t. A study on kindergartners and high schoolers has shown, that because boys are never ever taught that they can’t touch girls without asking (whether it is hair pulling or unwanted hugs etc), high school girls were already so “used” to not having autonomy over their bodies, that it had to pretty much be unlearned. That, no, a boy slapping your bum isn’t just because he likes you. If he likes you, he can effing tell you so.
So unless I tell you otherwise, leave my body alone.