A touch on the arm innocent or egregious?
Dear Annie: In this new (and long-overdue) era of “#MeToo,” I’m wondering: Is it always inappropriate to lightly the touch the arm of an opposite-sex acquaintance during a casual conversation? I’m not talking about prolonged or repeated touches. I just mean a spontaneous and quick touch. I realize that some people may find such action sexually egregious, but in general, I think such touching is an expression to help emphasize humor, compassion, sincerity or understanding. Personally, I think I’m pretty good at judging whether it’s appropriate for me to touch an acquaintance in such a manner, but my wife insists that it’s never appropriate. Occasionally, I’m on the receiving end of such touching, and I don’t find it offensive. Comment, please? — Confused in the Midwest
Dear Confused: It’s not “sexually egregious” to simply touch someone lightly on the arm during a normal conversation. But there are some people who just don’t like physical contact, and that’s reason enough to err on the side of caution. So I’d recommend avoiding it and finding other ways to show your engagement and attention, such as asking good questions, echoing what people have said back to them and maintaining eye contact. Rest assured, you seem like such a conscientious person that I’m sure people can sense your compassion no matter what.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “W.C. in Waycross, Ga.” and fully agree that more hotels should have handicapped-accessible showers. I am limited because of back surgery I had. Hotel bathrooms are usually retrofitted and useless. The toilets are often older and too low for people with special physical needs. Even if I can use grab bars to get in a tub, there is often no means to sit while taking a shower. And standing while showering is not safe for anyone rated a fall risk. More than once, I’ve had to sit on the edge of a tub while trying to use the shower for water, which, of course, is messy.
My husband and I recently took a very expensive cruise — costly because of my physical needs. Yet I did have a walk-in shower with a drop-down seat, lots of grab bars and a stateroom large enough to accommodate my electric scooter. — Love to Travel and Spend a Lot Doing So
Dear Love to Travel: You and “W.C.” are certainly not alone. Read on for another letter on the subject.
Dear Annie: Absolutely agree with “W.C. in Waycross, Ga.,” who wants to be able to travel and bathe safely. And it is not just elderly people who have these needs. There are tons of people with disabilities who travel or would if they could find accommodations.
All bathrooms should have safety features, whether in the home or on the road. That includes rental apartments. Anyone can have a need to grab on to something at any time, and a lot of accidents could be prevented by very minor accommodations. The old saying that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” certainly holds true.
It would be great if a certain percentage of bathrooms in hotels and motels had walk-in showers, etc. Statistically, there are more and more seniors with disposable income, and often they just need to have the products designed for them. — Senior Appreciative of Grab Bars
Dear SAGB: I hear you loud and clear, and I hope the hospitality industry does, too. You might find this website, which another reader suggested to me, useful: http://wheelchairtraveling.com. Wishing you safe and happy travels.
Dear Annie is written by Annie Lane, a young, married mother of two. Send questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.