Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hugs and Kisses

In the New York Times on September 26, 2014, Henry Alford wrote a column about the bro hug, how it’s becoming pervasive, and how anything less is considered unfriendly. President Obama, who notoriously keeps a cool distance in personal relationships outside his immediate circle, is a persistent bro hugger. I count myself among the hug resistant.
BuzzFeedNews May 30, 2014

In the column, Aisha Tyler, whom I love on “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” says she hugs contextually inappropriately. “I’m very slutty. They should hire me to go to death row to hug inmates because I’ll hug anyone, regardless of what they’ve done.”

I love Aisha Tyler's comments (I generally love Aisha). Some years ago, I decided, when I go to early intervention conferences, to hug anyone I know. It seems to be the accepted thing, because the hand-shake seems too formal. That means I'm hugging people I see at most once a year and, sometimes, haven't seen in years. Then, the excuse, if needed, is exactly that. The whole thing makes me uncomfortable on the one hand (I hate hugging) but comfortable on the other (I have a default greeting so I don't have to overthink what to do). Similarly, in Portugal and Spain, every woman gets a double air kiss. I have to remember that the Latin Americans, on the other hand, do only a single air kiss; if I forget, there's a whole awkward thing where I'm bobbing around in the other person's facial space trying to get to the other cheek, when they think the ritual is over.
examiner.com July 30, 2013

This article doesn't get right down to the nitty gritty of the bro-hugs. With some guys, it's a hand shake with the right hand and a sort of hug with the left, with the unfortunate result of the clasped right hands being around private-parts level. With others it's a thumb grab, like we used to do in the 70s, with the right hand and a hug with the left. With others, it's a full-on two-handed hug, meaning no barrier between our torsos. OK, why would we want to be doing that?

Anyone remember when the handshake with the left-hand clasped over the hands was an accepted indication of bro-love? Maybe a grasp of the person's biceps? The latter had the added advantage of checking out how strong the other person was, which therefore made me uncomfortable but loved.

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