Thursday, May 20, 2010

Prom Date & Physical Touch

I'm thinking about a post by Genie a few days ago about her son's prom date, who was a tad overweight, yet wore the most skimpy, revealing dress imaginable. As I read the post I felt a wave of sadness for the girl.

Why did she dress like that? How could it be anything except that she wants to be loved? She wants to be loved and through lack of training and modern media/advertising she mistakenly equates sex with love. Does she think if she gets laid, she will feel loved? Does she think if she advertises her sexuality, she will attract love? How sad!

Recently my husband and I read The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman out loud to each other. The languages of love are:

Giving gifts
Quality time
Physical touch
Words of affirmation
Acts of service

Chapman's theory is that every person has one primary language of love and when spoken to in that language, they get it. Their love tank fills. But when love is given to them in the other languages, they don't get it as well (or may not get it at all) and don't feel loved. Chapman provides exercises and discussion suggestions that help the reader to identify their primary love language.

At first, reading his introduction, I thought mine was quality time. After finishing the book, I am convinced that my primary language of love is physical touch.

Now, as I look back at my youth, like prom age and a couple of decades after that, I can better understand and appreciate my behaviours, which until recently were a constant source of self-criticism. I used to have HUGE crushes... I'm not going into the embarrassing details of what I did when I'd get a crush on someone. But I will say that when I get around to making amends (Steps 8 & 9) in my OA program, I will need to admit to several men that I made some big mistakes and ask for forgiveness.

But now that I understand how important physical touch is to my sense of well-being, to knowing that I am loved, it's not so surprising that I sought "love" so desperately. Now I have more compassion for myself and certainly for Genie's son's date. Maybe her primary love language is also physical touch. Maybe, like me, she doesn't get hugged and touched very often by her family. And maybe, like me for many years, she tries to find somebody to fill her love tank by desperately seeking romance and/or sex.

I feel very sad thinking about this.


  1. Okay, this is yet another of you posts that really makes me think. When you talked about the book and languages after I wrote about baking for my son, I thought about it in context of me expressing love as a mother. I never took it further to me as a wife, mate, partner to my husband. But it intrigues me because I think my hubby and I have different languages of love. And we give the way we want to get, instead of giving what the other wants to receive!

  2. Hey, Peaceful, it's me!

    Not to minimize your post, but it wasn't really the most skimpy, revealing dress imaginable. I've seen worse. Sorry if it seems that I over-exaggerated.

    In defense of the girl, and some of her 16-year-old sisters, I don't think they truly grasp the messages that the skimpy clothes send. They are following the "styles" and what their friends wear and what celebrities wear (or fail to wear). Definitely looking for attention, but I don't think necessarily looking for sex and/or love in all cases.

    High school girls seem to be a lot different "these days" than when I was one. In my generation, it seemed like the boys had all the power, but today, it's the girls! They don't wait around for boys to take them out and define their social lives; they get out there and have their own fun. "Oh, oh, oh!" as Shania Twain would warble, in "Feel Like a Woman".

    I don't think it's all bad. And, I'm not naively thinking that there aren't girls out there that know exactly what they're doing by dressing scantily. If that makes any sense.

    You do have a way with the thought-provacation. Keep it up! If we all thought the same and agreed 100%, it would be so boring!

  3. To Karen ~ Yes, my husband and I have different languages of love. It's been a very big problem for us. He kept trying to give me gifts, which is the bottom of my list and make me feel beholden rather than loved. I kept trying to touch him (giving the way I want to get as you say), which he doesn't particularly like. Now we're both making an effort to give our love in the other's primary language. It isn't always easy, but it sure is improving our relationship.

  4. To Genie ~ Ooops, sorry. I exaggerated some too. Since I'm 2.5 generations removed from current teen experience, I bow to your observations about their social lives. And yes, I love it that we make each other think more because of our differences! Thanks for taking the time to share your point of view about this!!!


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