In daily life
Cultures kiss on the cheek.
Cultures shake hands.
Though, there is one form of address
That is perfectly acceptable in all cultures.
A hand shake, and firm grasp on the shoulder.
Nothing is quite so loving as this gesture
Found throughout human civilization;
Westerners can interact with completely isolated tribes
With this gesture, and it is still understood.
Most likely because the shoulder and hand
Are the least vulnerable parts of the body.
A hand can fight
And a shoulder is like an armor plate.
A man who knows too much fighting might disagree
But I would recommend him to find any place
On the human body that is less vulnerable
Than the shoulder or hand.
It is why our war hand extends in hand shakes
And our hands touch shoulders.
Of course, in violent cultures
Anything you extend to your neighbor is vulnerable
Perhaps we should consider this
A warning, how shoulders are vulnerable
Only in a culture where we all feel vulnerable.
So, perhaps a culture that doesn’t even allow
Shoulders to be touched
Or a culture where shoulders cannot be touched
Is a culture that one can suspect ill or wrongdoing.
Gestures such as cupping a hand over another’s
Shaking hands, or shoulder touching
Are good, because it builds trust in a community.
Those who say, “Don’t touch me,”
Do not trust you.
Rather, they hate you
Because they themselves feel vulnerable to attack.
With that said, shoulder grasping and hand shakes
Are perfectly reasonable touching spots
In civilized society.
There is nothing more without sex than a shoulder
Being touched by a hand.
Nothing less offensive, for the gesture
Cannot be construed intimate
As, like I said, the shoulder is our least vulnerable place.
And frankly, America is a place where
It is inappropriate to touch shoulders.
It might be why I do not like it.