Nonsexual touch: TSA patdowns and the Human Carcass Wash

“I’ll take the patdown please.”

I was going to spend some time looking up the safety of the millimeter rays backscatter machine. How similar is it to stepping into a microwave oven? Milliwave oven? Hmm.

Then it occurred to me that without doing any research, there’s something I can be confident of: whether or not the machine is harmful or not, it’s definitely not good for me. Like it might be harmful, like an x-ray, or neutral, like a metal detector, but it’s not going to be good for my body. If it were, someone would be selling it as therapy.

But I have an option available that is good for my body: nonsexual touch.

“I’ll take the patdown please.”

I step over to the side area and start listening to the guy talk.

Back in January 2013, when I first moved to San Francisco and didn’t know anybody except my coworkers, I went several weeks experiencing almost no touch at all. A few handshakes, some high-fives, and some fist-bumps. Oh, and the patdown from the TSA agent on my way there.

“I’ll start with your back and shoulders. I’m going to touch you with the flat palms of my hands, and when I get to your crotch I’ll use the backs of my hands.”


“Okay, now I’m going to move my hands up your legs and stop just before I reach your groin.”

I know this.

“Alright, and now the other side.”

This is called safeporting. » read the rest of this entry »

A portrait of Malcolm Ocean

I'm Malcolm Ocean.

I'm developing scalable solutions to fractal coordination challenges (between parts of people as well as between people) based on non-naive trust and intentionality. More about me.

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