You’ve Been A Little Handsy, Uncle Joe

Stephanie Renée
4 min readApr 1, 2019

Teaching people about personal boundaries and respecting yours

America, can we be honest for a sec?

The actions that Lucy Flores has spoken up about, in relation to will-he-or-won’t-he former Vice President Joe Biden, are commonplace in our society. In our workplaces, in our churches, in places where we gather socially. And yes, even in our families. And it’s high time we talked about it openly. Frequently. Meaningfully.

I come from a family of lip kissers.

As a matter of practice in greeting one another, regardless of gender, my family often kisses one another on the mouth. And, if I’m honest, I’ve never liked it. As a child, it was learned behavior and I just went along with the program. But somewhere around 8 or 9, whether we were partying for the holidays or at Sunday service, I really did not want to smooch every single member of my family. A hearty hug or a vigorous wave goodbye was plenty.

And my feelings had nothing to do with some unnamed trauma or similar violation. I just didn’t want to kiss everybody anymore. Would rather save my kisses for when I really meant it: familial or more intimate. The boy I was crushing on at the time had braces, so kissing required preparation and strategy to avoid contusions and other discomfort. And even he got a no if I wasn’t so inclined in that moment. My kisses should not be considered a given, for anyone.

Joe Biden seems to be a fairly demonstrative dude. His bromance with Obama inspired some pretty hilarious memes. I do not believe that he intended for his actions with Lucy Flores to be interpreted as anything but affectionate. But he did not do a litmus test to see if she was someone with whom he could take such liberties.

And that’s wrong.

If we consider the campaign trail to be a professional environment, by what measure should Biden think that shoulder massages and hair kisses are an acceptable means of communication?

I feel like I should sit him down and make him watch the movie “The Best Man.” Those characters almost ended a…

Stephanie Renée

Artsy chick. Certified nerd girl. Navigating the spaces of Black Excellence and global relevance. Support my other creative endeavors at