Friday, October 29, 2010

Put Your Back Into It...

I do not know why or when this happened, but to me, it seems that in the last decade or so, the etiquette of hugging has changed a lot. Perhaps it is my discomfort with hugging that has changed my memories but I near on certain things were not this way. Far as I remember, coming to a point where you hugged someone was a marker that your friendship had graduated to a new level and at such a point, where you have developed something of a relationship with someone, I have absolutely no issue with hugs. However, to me, it seems that nowadays, hugging is part of the normal social discourse and is expected from the outset. At times, it almost seems if you do not hug, you are to be looked at with an element of distrust, for you must be some sort of misanthrope destined to be the next Oklahoma bomber.

Being someone who hangs out with a fair number of ‘liberal types,’ an old friend of mine used to sneer, I run into more than my fair share of huggers. When engulfed in a warm embrace from someone whom you would have been more than happy to have given a mere handshake a lot of thoughts can run through your mind, sometimes, particularly when hugged by the creative, artistic type, the thought comes straight from my nose to my brain. But more often than not, the thought is one of, how did I end up in this situation, how is it that this person I don’t know, is holding me, clutching me, overpowering me with themselves?

As such, whilst there is not much I’m certain on when it comes to that great question, ‘who am I,’ this much I am certain of; despite all indications to the otherwise, I am a reserved person. BFF1 and BFF2 would attest to this, having had to poke, prod and prick until I revealed the most basic of details about myself. Thanks to them, and a few years of life experience, despite it being who I am, I have somewhat learnt how to navigate life without entirely coming off as an utter social dilettante. Living in an Oprah-fied world, where talking about feelings, expressing yourself, and finding “Eat, Pray, Love,” to be the greatest film of all time, and a book you swear to one day read, it is not easy being someone such as myself, someone who enjoys other people, but not too much of them.

Fighting off the last remnants of a hangover, lying on a bed, BFF3 next to me, when this guy walked in, I was certain I was to be spared a hug. Yes, I may have been fully dressed, yes, he may have known BFF3, but the facts remained; He was a stranger, I was in a bed, and failing that, BFF3 next to me would certainly act as a buffer in ensuring no hug was deployed my way. As he said his goodbyes, all of 20mins after I had met him, he threw hugs his hugs around the room, then came to BFF3 and hugged her, I breathed a sigh of relief, safe in the knowledge that there was no way that he would even try with me.

As he practically climbed over BFF3, lay atop of me and enveloped me with his arms saying, ‘put your back into it,’ much of what’s written here ran through my mind, was this what life was to be like forever? Even with the barrier of another human being, the awkward position of being on a bed, was a handshake, a goodbye wave not okay, was the hug still to be forced upon me, was it too much ask just to be left alone?


  1. This is so true and funny! We're all gonna have to resort to the 'Oprah hug block manoeuvre'...

  2. I know! I envy Oprah's ability to so deftly deploy that manoeuvre, in fact, I'm gonna watch Oprah to learn just how she does it!