, Research Paper
Male and Female Observation Paper:
He slid a hand through her hair, the glossy strands sifting through his fingers. He lowered his mouth to hers, his kiss smothering any protest she might have made. The taste of her was sweet. The feel of her body in his arms regenerated his strength. Desire burned away the fatigue and the kiss burned hotter, wilder. (Hoag, 232)
When a person touches someone, even with the brush of a hand, that touch can stir up so many feelings. In the anecdote above, just from the woman s warm embrace, the man s strength returns and he is uplifted from whatever depression that has struck him. The interpretation of touch is different between men and women. In this study, men to men, women to women, and men to women interactions were observed. The main part of the study was done in shopping malls, cafeterias, and at bus stops, with ages ranging from fifteen to about thirty-five years old.
Men to men interactions are the strangest, for men seem to not want to touch one another at all. For example, If a man is sitting on a bench at a bus stop and another man comes and sits down next to him, they will never touch. Not even friends at a bus stop touch, except for the very occasional high-five or handshake. In cafeterias, they sit sown as far away from each other as possible, and they talk without looking at their friend or moving towards them.
Shopping malls are a different story altogether. When men go to shopping malls together, usually it is to look for “chicks”. Out of sight of a girl a man will walk a casual distance away from their friends. Yet, when a girl is within eye contact they will usually start horsing around, punching each other on the arm to impress the girl.
Woman to woman touch behavior is much different compared to men. If a woman is having lunch with her friend, they usually sit next to other and constantly touch each other’s hand. Touching seems to not be much of an issue between women. ” In traditional U.S. culture touching is generally more appropriate for women than for men ” (Adler, 257). Woman at a bus stop will usually not care about brushing against another woman on a bench. In malls woman will walk hand in hand with each other and not care about what people think. They are more confident in their sexuality.
Men to women touch behavior is the most complex behavior of all. When a man brushes against a woman, or vise versa, immediate thinking occurs: ” What did that mean, maybe she likes me, ” “I can’t believe he touched me, he’s probably going to ask for my phone number! ” A man will be touchy with a woman if they are good friends or if he likes her. Other than that, a man is usually very standoffish towards her. A woman will usually be touchy with a man whether he is attractive or not, depending on his personality. Reacting to or interpreting the opposite sex’s touches in today’s world is extremely difficult seeing how we mix ” up simple healing, warm touching with sexual advances ” (Adler, 257).
The results of this study were both surprising and confusing. It is surprising in the way that many people do not pay attention to how their touch affects a person. A man might take another man’s slight bump into them as a sign of aggression or even homosexuality. A woman can take a man’s slight brush against her arm as a compliment or sexual harassment. Touch can have a big impact on someone whether it was by mistake or intentional. People just have to learn to interpret it the right way, although that might not be for a long while. “Touch – you should trust that more often” (City of Angels, 1998).
Adler, Ronald B. and Neil Towne. Looking Out/Looking In: Interpersonal Communication.Ed. Christopher P. Klein. 8th ed. Fortworth: Harcourt Brace, 1996
City of Angels. Dir. Brad Silberling. With Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan. Warner Brothers,1998
Hoag, Tami. Night Sins. New York: Bantam, 1996