So, as I waited for the guitar concert to start at Instituto Luis Vives last night, I observed something that got me thinking. A woman got up from her seat to greet several friends who had just seated themselves in the row in front of me. The friends, 2 men and a woman, got up from their seats and there was much cheek kissing and hugging. For the length of the conversation that ensued, the two women held on to each other’s hands. It occurred to me this was a very common interaction here in Valencia. This led to the question, “How does all this touching reflect the basic nature of the culture, or does the basic nature of the culture result in all this touching. This then led to a conversation later in the evening with Marty. My point of view was that the kind of contact I had observed was very positive and nurturing. It made people feel good, at least here in Valencia. I do not think that is the case everywhere or for everyone. This morning Marty researched the topic. There is not a great deal of scientific research on the subject, but what there is was very interesting. The article he found points out the Human need for physical contact and that environments where this is more the norm are more peaceful societies and those where physical contact is less prevalent, frowned upon or less acceptable, tend to be more aggressive. Here is the link, and while the article is titled Touch and Sexuality, Sexuality is not the main point of the article at all.
Earlier during our stay in Valencia, Marty and I had talked of how “connected” we feel here. Our observation was as we were no longer arriving in our destinations by car, but walking, we were much closer to our environment and the people in it. People greet us in the street as we pass, stores often have their doors open and proprietors wave or say hello. The abundance of besitos and abrazos ( kisses and hugs) from old friends, but also from people we meet for the first time has definitely contributed to my sense of connectedness as well. I must admit, I really love it.