And it wasn’t just the men. Physicality was a trait of politicians no matter what their gender. Geraldine Ferraro was a toucher. Lindy Boggs was a hand-holder. You might get a kiss from Millicent Fenwick. Nancy Pelosi is also a very hands-on person. There is a very distinct line between a public display of support, sympathy or affection and a transgressive physical invasion of a person’s body, or at least there ought to be.
I am now often hugged by other men. I don’t think they are coming on to me. It’s not something that I grew up with it but I’ve become used to it and I find nothing transgressive about it. We hug at wedding and at funerals. Physical contact between humans can be congratulatory, convey solace, or express the simple pleasure of being in the company of an old friend, but it has come to be seen by some as crossing a red line beyond which inevitably lies sexual aggression.
I believe that Rep. Flores has misconstrued the actions of Vice President Biden. His gesture was not a prelude to seduction or a cheap thrill. It was gesture by a man whose humanity happens to express itself in innocent physical contact.