Is it right to make a woman feel unclean?

(410 Posts)
camel1 Sat 29-Jun-13 09:08:25

I was saying 'thank you' to a male colleague and touched his upper arm as a reinforcement of that thanks. He recoiled in disgust, his body language, his facial expression and his yelp surprised me so much that I apologised profusely. The incident happened in front of many children, as I am a teacher at a school. And within a minute he had shook hands with a male colleague. Whether it was his intention or not, I felt that he felt I was unclean. I was/am greatly upset by this. I understand that his cultural or religious beliefs does not permit him to touch women, or vice versa. However, I have lived in many different countries and cultures, and I adhered to their cultural rules and would never have reacted in such an offensive way. What do you think?

burberryqueen Sat 29-Jun-13 09:37:41

personally i hate it when colleagues do that touchy thing, it is entirely inappropriate, i had to tell one guy once who was into patting and stroking of shoulders while we sat at our desks, which as far as i was concerned was low grade harrassment and downright creepy.
Once a Saudi Arabian guy refused to shake my hand, quite honestly i should have had more cultural awareness than to proffer it.
But being 'unclean' did not cross my mind.

hollyisalovelyname Sat 29-Jun-13 09:37:55

Claraschu I agree completely with you.

Hope you weren't menstruating, he might have died

grin

camel1 Sat 29-Jun-13 09:55:02

What harm would it have done to keep your hands to yourself?

Believe me that there was nothing intimate about it, like there is nothing intimate with a slap on the back. This is something that you would say to someone who had sexual intents. I certainly do not or did not. I wouldn't say I was touchy feely, or that I needed validation from anyone Eyesunder. Why do you ask these questions?

Also, I know many muslim men. Most would shake my hand. How are you to know?

Eyesunderarock Sat 29-Jun-13 09:58:46

Why did I ask?
Because your reaction, feeling unclean, getting very upset and feeling that his response was so offensive seems OTT. The limitations, the irrationality of the action are his problems not yours.

Eyesunderarock Sat 29-Jun-13 09:59:42

'This is something that you would say to someone who had sexual intents.'

No, I say it to young children who have trouble with recognising boundary issues on a regular basis.

Boomba Sat 29-Jun-13 10:02:06

I'm not sure that the man's religion is relevant

A person can choose to be touched or not touched by who ever they choose

A hand shake is reciprocal, and would give opportunity for participants to decline or object

It's quite unusual to touch someone unbidden and without warning. He didn't have time to formulate a measured objection did he. You just for his knee heri reaction.

TiredyCustards Sat 29-Jun-13 10:03:14

It is offensive to recoil in disgust when someone tries to shake hands etc.

Your excuse could be superstition, like this man, or social awkwardness, like pp. It's still rude.

Boomba Sat 29-Jun-13 10:04:55

Also, no one has to explain their reason for not wanting to be touched to anyone

I don't liked being touched by men. It is not a religious. And I would refuse to explain by reasons if challenged about it

burberryqueen Sat 29-Jun-13 10:05:56

yes but she didnt 'try to shake hands' she did some touchy feely thing on his arm -

soverylucky Sat 29-Jun-13 10:05:58

There is a woman at my work who does this all the time - touches you at the end of a conversation. I Iam sure she is as clean as anyone - BUT I HATE people touching me like that and I am not sure that I hide my instinctive reaction to wince each time she does it. She is not unclean - I just don't like being touched. Perhaps he is the same?

fuzzywuzzy Sat 29-Jun-13 10:07:14

Why are you automatically assuming he felt unclean at your touch and not just startled at the unsolicited touching, you didn't stick your hand out and invite him to shake hands, you went ahead and touched him with no prior warning, he was startled and recoiled then another colleague approached stuck his hand out and first man shook hands with him.

I always jump a mile when random colleagues touch me uninvited, the absolute worst is being randomly hugged.

I should wear a sign 'No uninvited touching' because I just do not like it regardless of sex/religious affiliation of the toucher.

camel1 Sat 29-Jun-13 10:07:17

I didn't say I felt unclean. I said: ' I felt, that he felt I was unclean.' As regards 'keep your hands to yourself, I say that to children too, but when I say it to an adult, I mean something else.

Boomba Sat 29-Jun-13 10:08:36

But a person wouldn't recoil from a handshake...as the gesture is offered and gives room for politeness

Touching someone unexpectedly, is not a social norm

burberryqueen Sat 29-Jun-13 10:10:47

yes well perhaps make keeping your hands to yourself whilst at work a life rule? so much simpler!

CloudsAndTrees Sat 29-Jun-13 10:11:07

I think the man was rude.

Eyesunderarock Sat 29-Jun-13 10:11:32

When you want to shake hands with someone, you hold out your right hand in a certain position. This signals to the other person what your intention is, and they have the opportunity to either shake your hand, look at in bewilderment if they haven't a clue what you are doing or give their stock, polite response as to why they are not shaking it.
None of which the OP did, and probably why the man in question didn't respond politely, just instinctively.

Zeenah Sat 29-Jun-13 10:11:41

I don't get this at all confused was he a colleague? and he 'recoiled' when you touched him in passing? That is very odd? what is his culture? If that strange behaviour can be 'pinned' on his culture then I'd just ignore it. Religion is a very strange business.

burberryqueen Sat 29-Jun-13 10:13:42

no she didnt touch him in passing she did some weird arm grabbing

Eyesunderarock Sat 29-Jun-13 10:13:49

You really aren't able to understand this, are you OP?
Or the fact that your colleague might have gone home thinking 'Oh shit'

HighInterestRat Sat 29-Jun-13 10:14:11

I also think rude and ott reaction.

Boomba Sat 29-Jun-13 10:15:35

She touched his upper arm, to reinforce her thank you confused

thebody Sat 29-Jun-13 10:15:57

Well personally I think all religions are ridiculous mind controlling nonsense and generally mysoginistiic but you know now so next time keep your distance. I think he was rude though and should have apologised to you and explained his reaction.
Bit bizarre that you should know this as I wouldn't have a clue.

No one can make you feel unclean.

ArtexMonkey Sat 29-Jun-13 10:16:50

"A hand shake is reciprocal, and would give opportunity for participants to decline or object"

^^ this

Do you really go about touching people at work? Best not to, imo, for whatever reason. You say you are a teacher, do you randomly touch the children to 'reinforce your point' too? Because that might not work out too great.

Full disclosure: I can't be doing with misogynistic religious nonsense. But we have to get along with all kinds of people in this life.

hiddenhome Sat 29-Jun-13 10:17:41

He was rude.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now