Defying the “Do Not Touch” Sign. Why Do We Do It?

Ever wanted to touch art even when there’s a ‘Do Not Touch’ sign? Dive into why we can’t resist and the funny side of our urges!

Michael Boyd
4 min readSep 17
Sign reading ‘Do Not Touch the Exhibits’
Resist the urge! The art’s allure lies in looking, not touching. 🚫🖐️ (Photo by Erik Mclean / Pexels.)

I once found myself in a chic, minimalist art gallery, staring at a piece that looked suspiciously like a giant button. Next to it, in bold letters, was a sign: “DO NOT TOUCH.” Now, I’m a civilized guy with more than half a century of life experience. I should know better. But that sign, those all caps, it was like an itch. And what do we do with itches? We scratch.

I won’t lie, my finger twitched. The audacity of that sign, daring me, challenging me. It was as if it whispered, “I dare you to press me.” I resisted, but I swear I felt a cosmic bond with that button.

But why? Why do we have this almost gravitational pull towards things we’re explicitly told not to touch?

The Forbidden Fruit Syndrome

Remember the story of Adam, Eve, and the forbidden apple? There’s something inherently appealing about the things we’re told to keep our hands off. It’s not just the apple; it’s the fact that it was forbidden.

Art exhibit displayed behind a rope barrier.
Beauty behind boundaries. A masterpiece meant for eyes only. 🎨🚫 (Photo by 冬城 on Unsplash)

Objects behind ropes, under glass, or beside a “DO NOT TOUCH” sign become instant celebrities. And like starstruck fans, our fingers itch to get a selfie. Or in this case, a touch-ie.

A Hands-On Experience

We are inherently tactile beings. From birth, we use our hands to explore and understand the world, experiencing different textures, temperatures, and forms. So when we encounter an interesting object, our instinct is to touch it, driven by either scientific reasoning or simple curiosity.

Touch as Validation

Have you ever been deceived by the appearance of an object? A vase might seem smooth from afar, but up close, it could have a different texture. This is where touch comes into its own.



Michael Boyd

Co-owner of Battle Born Grooming Co., sharing my insights on entrepreneurship, personal growth, and fighting against Goliaths. https://battleborngrooming.com