My freshman year of college, there was this guy in the same dorm as me who insisted, anytime we passed each other in the halls, that we hug. He did it to everybody — I’d constantly see him stretching his arms out in a wide embrace, offering hugs to uneasy classmates scurrying by. He was a sweet guy, but his hugs were suffocating, and he often smelled like unwashed boy. I took to crossing the street whenever I saw him coming, dreading those 5 seconds I was forced to be engulfed in his clammy embrace.
Since then, hugging has changed for me. I’m the person who pauses right in that moment that follows the initial “hello,” when a lingering hug is ripe in the air. “Let’s not hug,” I try to communicate with my eyes. And most of the time it works– but then something kind of unfortunate happens: I establish distance from that person. I become prickly, even though I’m generally warm. The message is clear, and that kind of sucks, because usually I am really happy to see that person, I just don’t want to hug them. Of course, I love hugging my boyfriend, close friends and family, but I really don’t like that this culture’s “hi, I haven’t seen you in awhile” greeting is a hug. I’d much rather it be a kiss on the cheek, which is brief, and not so physical.
Anyone with me on this one? Or do you hug with abandon?
Image source: Crazy Frankenstein