So a woman rests her hand on my back at Mass yesterday. What's a guy to do?

As usual, I try to sit with enough distance between me and others (I attend Mass alone) to subtly preclude anybody from trying to hold my hand during the Our Father. Of course, I would take someone’s hand if offered to me, out of courtesy, but I’d rather avoid the situation to begin with. I dislike this incongruous practice in the Mass.

Yesterday, I was the only one sitting in my particular pew, on purpose. During the Our Father, as is my practice, I clasped my hands, closed my eyes, and bowed my head…then I felt a hand resting on my back! :bigyikes: The woman sitting behind me must’ve felt that I was terribly lonely or something because she just went and placed her hand on my back between my shoulders, right below the neck, and she kept it there right through the prayer! This had never happened to me before. :o

I didn’t know whether to laugh or take offense. She was apparently so intent on holding hands that my back would have to suffice.

What’s a guy to do? :confused:

I recommend laugh, I don’t think she intended any offense.

Nothing, forget about it…unless of course she planted a “kick me” sign.

Let it go—but honestly—this hand holding mania is getting out of hand when someone goes to those lengths.

No kidding! :smiley:

Accept the gesture gracefully and get through it for the few seconds that it’s there. And just hope that this isn’t something out of the Adams Family.

she probably figured that you were clasping your hands out of necessity since you were alone in the pew, not that it was actually your choice. It might be easier to just sit with others but bow your head and clasp your hands before they have a chance to grab your hand to hold, then it is more obviously your choice. Personally I tend to do other things that not everyone else does like gesture toward the priest when returning his blessing of peace and bowing during the creed at the appropriate time, so by the time the hand holding starts they already think I am a weirdo and leave me alone.
seriously tho, no one has ever been put off by anything I have done, including my veil. I think I would ask someone why if they did show offense. Call them out.

I don’t see what all the fuss is about. I’m sure the woman in question here had nothing but the most Christian and loving intentions for you. No need to laugh or take offense. I’m certain she was praying for you during that our father.

It wasn’t me, but can I guess a tall skinny woman at Sacred Heart? I know of someone who does that kind of thing.

While I am fine with hand holding I always check to see first if it is fine with others too. My husband hates the practice. I tolerate it a lot better than he does.

I don’t know what to tell you. It is strange that some people think it is okay to touch another without receiving consent.

The really funny thing is, that after it sank in that there actually was a hand resting on my back (it took several seconds to register), I leaned slightly forward to give her the hint. No such luck – the palm was firmly planted. :o

Pretty bizarre experience. Maybe next time I’ll get a massage? :smiley:


I can take or leave hand-holding, but that is really going too far, and I would address it.

Perhaps either shrug it off (like a bug) or move out of her reach. I think I would turn and smile, and move away. If you allow it, she may think this is ok.


I second shrugging it off. I think this unsolicited touching is over the line. People should be concentrating on their own praying instead of wondering if someone feels left out over a practice that isn’t supposed to be part of the Mass anyway.

She was probably a Protestant that thought you needed deliverance from your Catholic faith.:rotfl:

I agree with some of the other PP, we should respect other’s space and not touch someone thinking it’s just o.k. geeez:rolleyes:

Sigh. I’m not a handholder. I don’t like it. That’s not to say I don’t like you, or that I am unfriendly - I just don’t like holding hands at Mass. It’s as simple as that.

I’d probably shrug, and step aside.

You know, if someone tried this where I work, they’d be charged with sexual harrassment.:rolleyes:

You know, if someone tried this where I work, they’d be charged with sexual harrassment

Excellant point—perhaps that could be a good response:newidea:


another tactic that might work to avoid hand-holding, snuffle loudly and ostentatiously into a kleenex right before the OF, then stuff it in your pocket with an apologetic look at your neighbor as you keep your hands in your pocket. or my brother’s idea, two long bamboo back-scratchers, one for each hand, to extend at that time.

For just a second, let this thought sink into your mind. There are Catholics out there who love Christ and the Church who were taught that they are supposed to hold hands during the Our Father. I know, it is crazy talk - but, believe me - I have actually seen some (in fact, I was one). Not everyone spends time on-line, reading forura and Church documents.

Give the person the benefit of the doubt, pray for them and maybe try to be the least bit forgiving of those who are not as educated in things liturgical.

I dunno Annie, this may give our stroking friend an unneeded confirmation that a hand on the back is the way to go.:confused:


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