Intimate space: the superstar story

Reading time: 3 minutes

Once – it was Sunday morning to be precise – my mobile ringtone woke me up: when I answered, I recognised C.’s voice, a friend of mine, who asked me for a coffee. He wanted to tell me something no matter what. There was no need to be a CNV specialist to understand that it was about a woman: he had talked fast, and his tone of voice was high and excited.

So, half an hour later we were at a café near my home to drink coffee, and C. told me that the day before he had met a superstar, a stunning girl. He started to describe the woman in the way a man describes all wonderful women: she was reportedly beatiful, smart, nice, and then he used a funny adjective to describe her: she was aristocratic. I got curious about that word, and asked why he thought she was aristocratic. He answered that she was always decorous: she was well-dressed, had refined manners, sat straight up and was elegant even when she laughed.

After half an hour, I pointed my feet at the nearest exit: I wanted to go home and go back to bed (it was still 9 am on Sunday). At this point, he made the request: “What about going to the club she haunts? You’ll know her and then you’ll tell me what to do”. As usual, I responded that I am not Cupid, and that I was not interested. To talk him out of it, I added that he should have find another kind of woman, since he was a warm-hearted man from the South of Italy. In the end, he persuaded me to go with him.

The following Friday we got to this fancy-schmancy club, and we sat at this 8-place table, next to our diva. I’m not usually hasty, but in that situation few minutes were enough: never in a million years my friend would have conquered the diva.

20 minutes later he and I popped out for a smoke, and he started asking me for advice and how the thing was going on. I cut short: the woman’s intimate space was at least redoubled that other people’s one, due to her breeding and the social class she belonged to. He was puzzled. I explained him that each of us has a sort of “oval space” around himself, in which someone feels safe. Every person who interacts with us can stay more or less far away from us, whichever is the grade of intimacy we share. Therefore, if a stranger talking face to face is three feet away from me, a friend would be 0.5 feet away, whereas only an intimate can come even closer.

The intimate space we need is egg-shaped, if someone comes up sideways, we tolerate it most. That’s why my friend understood that it would have been impossible to seduce that woman: he came from the South of Italy, and he used to “physically invade” others’ intimate space. To comfort him, I told him that actually there were methods to increase intimacy and little by little conquer the space that woman had built around her after years of cold and merely formal relationships. But at this point my old friend had lost his interest in the diva, and concluded: “I want a loving woman who hugs and kisses me. I’ll watch divas only on TV!”. All’s well that ends well: C. went back home being aware of the fact that he didn’t necessarily have to find the most wonderful woman in the world, but just to find someone with whom he would have passed some fine moments.

Luca Brambilla