Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hug It Out

So here’s another reason for me to hate the youth of America.

I was totally prepared to ask my readers this morning the question, what is up with hugging?

See, last night I was at a fundraiser for a former co-worker that is running for office in a Delaware County. It should go without saying that there were a lot of former co-workers there, most of whom I haven’t spoken to since I was given the boot.

That didn’t stop them from approaching me with a big hello and an even bigger hug. The first time it was awkward. I am not even sure I hugged back. By the fourth time, I still wasn’t really hugging back, but I was at least prepared with a polite back tap.

Then this morning, as I was sipping my tea and gathering my thoughts in my head, the Today Show, in conjunction with The New York Times did an in-depth story on Generation H (for hug).

Apparently hugging is the new fist bump.

And just like the way we adults took the pound and made it our own, much to my chagrin -- I cringe and then often refuse when ever anyone says to me, “give me a pound.” At the same time, I do find it adorable when our President and First Lady do it. So now, it seems we are now adopting hugging as a greeting.

The thing is, I am not a hugger. I come from a long line of non-huggers (though my father, brother and sister all seem to have the bug). I am not really a fan of touch in general. I don’t hug my friends (unless the occasion calls for it, like when they are really sad) with the one recent exception of Marie, who knows I don’t like to hug but does it anyway.

Which was really funny at this fundraiser. I was there with two friends, Marie and Theresa, neither of whom hugged me hello (Marie managed to restrain herself). But then they both watched as almost-stranger after almost-stranger embraced me (and then them).

Why is this okay? I would almost prefer the kiss-on-the-cheek hello as those are short and actually require less body contact. But, what was wrong with the firm-handshake hello? Or the bright-smile hello? Worse, what comes next, open-mouth-kissing hello?

Personally, I think its time to bring back the curtsy as I am excellent at the curtsy.


Cielo said...

I followed T-Lo's advice and started reading your blog a couple of months ago. Who knew that a post on hugging would prompt me to make my first comment?

Its been a long time since I was in high school, but we certainly hugged hello a lot back then. Then again, I'm from a city that is 80% Hispanic... specifically Mexican-American. As such, we tend to shake hands, hug, and kiss on the cheek all at the same time to say hello and goodbye so, to many of us, a simple hug is barely a greeting at all.

I'm not going to give the growing Hispanic population in the US credit for the current hug craze, but perhaps its finally catching on with everyone else.

Raised by Republicans said...

Oh God, I'm so glad I'm not alone in this. I didn't hug any of my friends up until high school, and even then, I was definitely a hesitant hugger. It was an all girls school, though, so I just kind of dealt with it and pathetically tapped people on the back when they hugged me. One of my friends even attempted to give me lessons in hugs for a while, and then eventually gave up and teased my personal space bubble. But seriously. I hug my family and stuff when the occasion calls. But to hug someone you don't know that well? It weirds me out. Unless they're hot. But even then--still weird.

I feel like there should be a regulation--your friendship must have lasted for a certain amount of time and have a certain sustenance to warrant a hug.

Anonymous said...

I didn't think I was weird about hugging until I hugged a sad roommate--who had a hilarious "um, okay" reaction, despite the fact that we'd lived together a year and seen each other naked. Apparently I'm not that effusive and it freaked her out. Now if the situation calls for a hug, I approach her slowly and state "I'm going to hug you now," which seems to go easier. Maybe I'm doing it wrong?

That said, I think coworker hugging should be a different kind of hug--like the cheek kiss is a "different" kind of kiss. A back-patty half-hug, if you will. No body contact below the waist, no bear-hugging, etc.

Wait 'til a coworker or boss gives you the cheek-kiss--you will reconsider. [shudder]

Anonymous said...

It's Theresa, and I love this entry! That night I almost went in for the hug, but I quickly remembered that my friend Tati no likey the hugs! I only hug you when we've both had more than our share of cocktails because I'm pretty sure you won't remember that I did it :)

Tina Marina said...

Oh my god... Irony! I was at a family thing this weekend and all of my extended family's aquaintences seemed to think that hugging was an appropriate way of saying "nice to meet you."

Not to mention the fact that they are all Munchkin-sized, so I ran the risk of snapping the toothpick people in half.

I much prefer the classy fist bump instead.

Tatiana said...

Tina Marina, as a giant myself, I find hugging short people even more awkward than hugging in general. There is that whole lean down, butt out, back arched position that almost hurts. On the plus side, there is a lot less body contact.