My dad liked to tell this story about me as a young child: our family had a powder blue pickup truck that he’d drive everywhere. It was an old Ford, with a bench seat, and while we were bouncing over potholes and listening to “Turkey in the Straw” for the thousandth time, I would sit just close enough to my dad that I could reach out and touch him if I wanted to. But I never did.
I was not a physically demonstrative child. My dad used to pull me in and have to physically lift my arms and place them around his waist, then not let go until I squeezed, to get me to hug him properly. And I loved my dad. I absolutely dreaded being touched by relatives, strangers, even my friends. My friends and I did not hug. When I saw other girls hugging each other at school I was legitimately baffled.
I think being a little stand-offish physically is probably just part of my personality. But I also grew up female in this lovely world where having a vagina makes you public property, so by the time I was in college I had settled into the physical affection zone I’m in now, which is essentially “Handshake or bust, motherfucker.”