There are very few moments in my life that I can remember anyone ever touching my face. (Very small children will do so but, after a certain age we just stop touching other’s faces, except for the faces of small children.)
I remember even my mother only ever slapped my face on those rare occasions that I truly offended her with my mouth. Swearing did not even earn that particular punishment, only the very worst offence of “talking back”.
I like touching the faces of those I love. I touch the faces of the babies in my family instinctively. I sometimes touch the faces of my grown children, though I will admit I do so very seldom, sometimes I cannot help myself. And I enjoy touching the faces of my beloveds, of my lovers and my very dearest ones.
I remember one or two lovers who have touched my face in a moment of intimacy, but it was an extremely rare occurrence. As if it was too personal, too intimate, as soon as they realized that they had done so, they looked away and withdrew their hand.
My friend touches my face sometimes. He will put his fingers into my mouth to silence me or he will turn my face in the direction he wants me to look. He even touches my tears and plays with them after I am done sobbing. He has never slapped my face. I asked him about it and he said that was something that one only does to property or to humiliate another. (Neither of us is interested in humiliation nor the dynamic of ownership, and even if we were, it would not be with each other).
There have been moments when he has touched my face and in those moments, I am torn open in extreme disproportion to the act itself. In those moments, I am seen. In those moments he touches something so deep inside me that I cannot ignore it. It is an experience and a response that I wish to explore further.