Do you have a question about relationships and flirting?

You can email me about any of your relationship and flirtation questions, and I'll be happy to address them in my blog. Won't that be fun! Its very Dear Abby, but hey...I'm just as good as she is! Just put "Dear Ottis" in the subject. Make sure your letters are annoymous though, to protect you and me. Send all questions to

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Oh, isn't that just touching...

Recently I've noticed a disturbing and completely destructive trend beginning here at BYU. For some reason people are no long comfortable touching each other, even at those times when touching is most appropriate. As if . . . it were wrong or something. It makes absolutely no sense. Indulge me as I explore this issue in a little bit of detail.

The following is an excerpt from a conversation that I recently had. While the conversation may contain some specific points just for the person involved, the general idea is one that I've had with so many. Please note that I have changed the name of the girl to protect her identity.

Zelba: He says he feels he needs to learn how to build a friendship with a woman first...and see if he is ready for another relationship then. His last serious relationship was 8 months and apparently went really slow. Then he got really scared after a little fling with this girl last November. In his terms, it was "too physical." Basically, he's confused on what he wants.
Ottis: oh dear...
Zelba: He was planning on dating around and easing back into things...
Ottis: Hmm. I think some guys here are WAY too cautious. Its not like holding hands constitutes a future marriage, nor does it make you slutty. It just kills me.
Zelba: I know. It drives me crazy too.
Ottis: There is nothing wrong with being physical, as long as its appropriate physical, innocent physical.
Zelba: I agree. Considering my interest with this guy, I would have held his hand on the first date even.

Now don't get me wrong, I think that physicality such as hand holding, cuddling, and the likes should be reserved for people that are . . . worthy of it. Not just any Joe or Jane. But, if you actually have feelings for someone, why hold off? Why reject the urge and notion to touch them? It can only add to the intimacy and connection that you may already be feeling.

Now, you might wonder when this is appropriate. That brings me to what I call "The Rule of 3s." The Rule of 3s deals primarily with what should happen in a relationship and when. The first 3 deals with hand holding. By 3 successful dates/encounters its completely appropriate to go for the hand hold. Note that 3 is on the slow/conservative side of things, you may want to go there sooner.

So, how do you do it? How do you touch people? There are many ideas and thoughts on these questions. At the end of the day, I say just do it. I have my fleeting/lingering rule that I enjoy. There are zones that are more appropriate than others including the back, shoulder, arm, top of the hand, and knee. However, at the end of the day we all just need to get comfortable touching people. This note goes out especially to the girls in the audience. Men need to be touched. It's how they know they're being flirted with, and how they know you're attracted to them.

It should be said that there are people who feel uncomfortable being touched too much, or at all. They will most certainly let you know--if not verbally, by body language and neuro-linguistic cues. So, be aware.

Touching is one of those great things that can bond people together. Even missionaries hug to preserve that bond in their own special way. Let us all learn to be more bonded through touching. Let us all remember that sharing those moments with someone we care about is important to the growth of that bond. Let's remember that I'm right, because after all . . . such is life.


  1. I agree. Title is very clever.
    Very interesting topic. I think it can be very applicable to many of us out there that are stuck in the shallow end of the dating pool. Not that the individuals themselves are shallow, but that the dating is remaining shallow in style and not risking jumping in the deep end.

  2. I don't think this is a trend that's just starting, so it is wonderful that you're addressing it! What would the world do without you? :)