There was a campaign not too long ago comprised of various people in major cities spending a day outside offering free hugs. They came with signs, they shouted it from the rooftops, they made videos of their days and posted them to YouTube and Google Video. It was interesting, the responses they got to their efforts. Sometimes I watched and thought, "What is wrong with America, that we should be so resistant to no-strings physical intimacy?" Other times I thought, "What is wrong with these people? Why must they trumpet their offer and be so missionary about it? What are they trying to prove?" I was reminded, too, of the few times I've been enlisted to help out at a kissing booth. I always avoid it, and I don't know which is a worse hypothetical scenario in my mind: having to kiss someone I find unattractive, or finding someone who doesn't want their dollar to go toward getting to kiss yours truly.
Actors are a touchy-feely (touchie-feelie?) bunch, mostly. Those who aren't are usually pointedly so, and one gets the sense it's a bit reactionary to the whole phenomenon. I think I fall somewhere toward the middle, but it's hard to say (people always think they're moderate, just like they all think they have good taste). I avoid spontaneous backrubs, but I like to hug hello and goodbye. When I'm required to do a stage kiss, I usually approach it tentatively in the first rehearsals to make sure nobody's getting swept away or grossed out, and when we do a "trust exercise" I'm all about being there totally and allowing myself to be dropped if that's how it's going to play out. So you can judge for yourself where I fall on the scale of touchafeelarockability for yourself.
I'm sorry. I seem to be writing about violence quite a lot lately. The reasons, it seems to me, are multitudinous. I miss my circus activities (amongst other physical distractions), which are just not possible now, bringing me to explanation deuce: I am at present constantly moving, never getting anywhere. That is what it is to apartment hunt and work nearly full time at an office job. This too shall pass, I know, but in the meantime I would really enjoy some stage combat gone awry, or even a very little Fight Club action. Kick my ass. Somebody. Please?
All right, all right. Put your damn hands down, all of you.
Oddly enough, Friend Davey (who really should have a 'blog of his own for me to link to at this point [Constantine...I'm looking in your direction...so to speak...]) addressed a similar desire via email to our little Burke gaming cabal today. And I quote:
"Someone knocks you down or splashes you with liquid at a party, or a myriad of other things, what are we to do? If you get all huffy you are typically seen as irrational and possibly immature. If you stand and take it you are less of a man. If we fight we are arrested for fighting. There is no more 'satisfaction' to be demanded. Now I'm not trying to sound like a 'things were better when...' guy, b/c I hate that party almost as much as the 'things will be better if...' folks on the other side of the isle; but seriously: some part, if a little or a lot, of the decades-old trend of public shootings, violent abusive children, arrogant talking-head political-wonk crap has got to be laid at the feet of the fact that we can not hit somebody if they are being a jerk. Rush Limbaugh and too many others to name would be much better people if someone had just popped him one years ago so that he knew where the line was. Students would not abuse their teachers in school if they were put in their place with a spanking at a young age."Davey goes on to confess he's a bit off-kilter at the time of writing, but today I'm with him. Friend Patrick expressed a similar sentiment not long ago, and Davey's tirade was in part inspired by his reading Friend Nat's latest entry. Ergo, it is not an isolated phenomenon, this lust for physical "satisfaction" amongst we men. (At least, not isolated to just me. Perhaps I befriend the violent type.)
I half-jokingly propose this: in addition to "trust exercises," we incorporate, as a regular part of the rehearsal process, "pwn3d xrc1z3s" (that's "powned [read: abused or humiliated in a head-to-head challenge] exercises" to the uninitiated). These exercises would never involve falling backwards into someone's arms, or closing your eyes, ever. They would function more along the lines of paintball, or bloodsport. The point would be a different kind of trust. The saying, "There are no atheists in the trenches"? That. That would be our point.
Insane, I know. Just wait until we're teaching it in the corporate training workshops.