See, I know Four just loves the feel of Tris’ face skin because I started taking note of every time it happened while reading. Whether going in for a kiss or just having a conversation, his hand was like a magnet straight to her face. I actually texted my friend after reading to ask if face touching was a thing that everyone except me had been doing. Never once has my boyfriend touched my face, but perhaps it is because I don’t have a Shailene Woodley face. In any case, #FOMO.
Quick sidebar: if you and your partner are into the touching of faces when interacting, go for it! To each their own! My big problem is that when I read something along the lines of “person X touched person Y’s face,” here is the exact type of behavior I start to picture no matter the context:
In case this didn’t stand out to you as a reader, come take a walk in my shoes and relive a selection of moments I’ve curated where Four partakes in his favorite pastime.
“For a second his dark eyes are on mine, and he’s quiet. Then he touches my face and leans in close, brushing my lips with his.” -Chapter 26
While not the first face touch I found in the book, let’s begin here to prove I’m not a monster. I get that this can be a romantic gesture of closeness. In fact, here I was caught up in the excitement of the first kiss that the face touch went unnoticed. However, numerous kisses after #1 seemed to involve a face touch just shoehorned into the moment like a how-to manual. Maybe they were magnetic robots after all.
“‘Are you all right?’ A crease appears between his eyebrows, and he touches my cheek gently. I bat his hand away.” -Chapter 28
Even Tris is like, “Dude, can we just talk without you constantly touching my face?” I’m ready to rest my case! Just kidding. It is still early in our journey.
“He presses his palms to my face, his index fingers sliding behind my ears, and pulls my mouth to his.” -Chapter 28
Maybe it’s the word “pressed, but does that not make you think of squishing together someone’s cheeks so their mouth morphs into that fishy kiss look? That seems uncomfortable. And then, just one paperback page later…
“He touches my cheek. ‘I hate to say this,’ he says, ‘but we have to get up now.’” -Chapter 28
What if in the Divergent world, the announcement of all mundane, daily activities must be prefaced with hand meeting face? Is that so far-fetched in a dystopia? I am more nervous about this kind of future than one that requires faction selection (Amity, duh).
“He sets me down and stares at me, his fingers brushing over my forehead, my eyebrows, my cheeks, my lips.” -Chapter 39
Maybe I am the worst because society is crumbling around them and he is reacting to them having both just endured a very traumatic moment together, but all I could envision was him just like aimlessly wandering his fingers around her face while she just stands there. I guess all his previous face touching left me jaded. Like I said, I’m terrible. But unfortunately, this isn’t the only time that the book’s face touch preoccupation completely took me out of what should have been a very serious moment. It felt like a disservice to the characters, but perhaps I only have myself to blame.
There are more examples in the text, but I’ll let you discover them for yourself and keep the printed book alive and well. For those of you never planning on reading it, I must warn you that despite my keen eye finding these moments in the book, Four touching Tris’s face actually doesn’t happen all that often in the film version. However, you can see movie Tris kind of stick her fingers in movie Four’s mouth, which didn’t seem to make it’s way in the book… but that is a post for another day.