Thursday, May 28, 2009


I saw a funny article today in NYTms that I am sure you saw too. It's about hugging, a standard two arm maneuver when both participants, or 'huggers', wrap their upper appendages around each other's upper torsoes for about 3 seconds. It's a very interesting subject because I think about it every time I have to greet someone who occupies the interpersonal status between friend and aquaintence, that awkward nether-zone between knowing them and not knowing them at all. They comprise most of my social landscape and in navigating it I am constantly having to process within a second of seeing a, for lack of a better term, a friend-in-becoming, whether it would be prudent to hug. More often than not, when I decide to physically greet someone, which I guesstimate to be around 35% of the time, I reserve the peck on the cheek cum one arm embrace for the females, and an awkward 'bro-style' handshake for males. I feel more comfortable in the greeting of the fairer sex, yet I still wonder if I overstepped the fuzzy boundary of propriety. With the men I usually feel like a grandfather trying to be down with the kids because even at the age of 32 this man-shake is hardly committed to muscle-memory.

A friend recently told me that I wasn't a "hugger". I cannot disagree what with all the wrangling that takes place about this subject in my mind. I usually abstain from the ritual of hugging altogether, even if I worry that I come off a bit cool to my friends-in-becoming. There are, of course, exceptions. I have no qualms about hugging and/or kissing some people. We both understand each other on a primal hugging level, like two dogs at the park sniffing each other's butt without incident. Moments with these people are always easy, which is in stark contrast to the slight whiff of guilt that comes over me when I abstain from hugging when the friend-in-becoming has departed. I guess I'd rather be damned if I don't...hug.

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