I Had a Great Idea
for a Humans are Weird story.
So human babies REALLY need to be touched. Its totally critical for development. Small babies can literally die if you don’t cuddle them enough.
But imagine that the aliens are more like reptiles, in that they just sort of hatch and their parents feed them or stay around (and presumably, like, educate them, since they’re intelligent aliens), but don’t carry them around or cuddle in the same way.
So one of them gets stuck with a human baby that they’re responsible for and of course, they go ask a xenobiologist or someone ‘what do you do for a human baby, they’re all weird and squishy’.
And the scientist says: well, you have to stroke them. Like actually pick them up and stroke their skin.
Why, says the alien, what could that possibly accomplish. Does it make their skin tougher. Will they grow proper scales.
No, no, that’s just what human skin is like, you just… you have stroke them or they won’t grow right. They get a stroking-deficiency and can die.
Suddenly our obsession with petting everything makes sense to them.
“Why do they ask to pet our fur? Why do they touch every animal we find? Humans are so strange!”
“No, no, Pod Leader, we have discovered the reason for this. Humans require tactile contact for health. Their young will actually die without frequent touchings of skin, Even as adults, their health deteriorates if they are isolated from touch. Human Technical Adjunct Rupert is trying to nurture us and preserve our healthfulness with this touching they offer.”
“… they actually believe that touching our fur with their grubby paws is healthful?”
“For humans, Pod Leader, it is.A little unsanitary, we are understanding the reservations, but it is kindly meant. We think it is actually very nice of Human Technical Adjunct Rupert to be so concerned with our healthfulness.”
“We are still not sure we believe this. That sounds like a weak attempt at deceit to us.”
“Let us show you this vid of humans nurturing their young, it is very instructive.”
Some time later, Human Technical Adjunct Rupert is bewildered but pleased to find that fur-petting is now encouraged provided they have washed their paws. This seems reasonable to Human Technical Adjunct Rupert.
I LOVE THIS ADDITION SO MUCH!