I am apparently the only human being left in the United States of America who doesn’t like to press her body against complete strangers. You can add semi-strangers, most co-workers, and people I don’t like
to that list. This can make hosting and being hosted awkward at times.
Here’s the scenario. You’re introduced to someone in a social situation and offer your hand. Before you can say, “Get the hell away from me!” the person has pulled you into a bear hug with the oft heard phrase “I’M A HUGGER!” Well guess what? I’m NOT A HUGGER SO DON’T DO IT! I find someone I don’t know taking that kind of intimate physical liberty with me extremely off putting. But what’s a person to do? It all happens so fast. I suppose I could jump back and say, “Sorry, having a nasty flare up,” but not say what I’ve got. Then offer them a lovely snack I’ve made.
And what message does all this stranger hugging send to our kids? We spend every teachable moment telling them people they don’t know are horrible beasts who would kidnap them at the drop of a hat. Then parents demand their children hug and/or kiss perfect strangers on first reference. Words like “Aunt Beatrice” or “Uncle Chuck” don’t mean squat to a toddler. Just once I’d like to hear a little fellow say, “If you like that creepy old lady so much, YOU hug her!”
I have instituted a new tradition with my little friends. When the inevitable instruction to “Give Aunt Kiki a hug” comes, I explain to the parents that I’m against forced hugging. After I’ve gotten to know the little person—and if they’re not covered in some bodily fluid or God awful rash—I give them the choice of a handshake or a hug. I was extremely gratified last Thanksgiving when one of my favorite 5-year- old guests said he’d like both.
Now before you start calling me “cold” or “stand offish” (like my relatives do), I want you to know that I enjoy hugging as much as the next guy. But I consider it a physically intimate gesture best saved for loved ones. Is that really so bad?
Any way. I would seriously like to hear what my readers think and some suggestions from you experienced hosts and hostesses.
Thank you for visiting.