Hugging

I haven’t really been able to sit down and write lately, not for a lack of time or ideas, but simply because the idea of doing so seems strenuous to me. So, tonight, I’m going to sit down for the next 15 – 20 minutes and write about hugging.

I’ve been doing a lot more hugging in the last two weeks than I’m used to. This would be fine if I weren’t somewhat uncomfortable with hugging. I think that I’m not a very good hugger. You know how some people are good huggers? Yeah, I’m not one of them. I get self-conscious when I go in for a hug.

My palms are always slightly moist. This wreaks havoc on papers that I need to carry, on touch screens, and writing with a pen takes some conviction. Hugging women with long hair draped over the top of their backs makes me incredibly nervous, because there is a great, and real, risk of pulling away some of that hair as the hug breaks.

I get nostalgic for British negativity. There is an inherent hope and positive drive to New Yorkers. When you go back to Britain, everybody is just running everything down. It’s like whatever the opposite of a hug is.
–John Oliver

I’m always conscious of how I smell. From what I can tell, my scent is slightly pungent, due to lifestyle choices and the absence of underarm deodorant (I stopped using antiperspirant or deodorant in 2001, and, to be honest, I prefer the liberated perspiring pores). I’m not a big fan of wearing cologne because it ends up being all that I can smell for the better half of the day. Hugging brings someone’s nose in close proximity to the odor causing agent that is my body.

Hugging requires some touching. Because I spend most of my time in my own personal bubble, I have put up pictures and arranged it just the way I like it. This is a process that started back in 2001 (it was a big year for me) when I decided that physiotherapy would not be a good profession for me because I don’t like touching people. Hugging brings someone else close to you, and you’re meant to — encouraged, even — to bring the person you are hugging closer to you, figuratively (because how can they get any closer if you’re already touching?), by wrapping your arms around and pulling him/her toward your person.

I’m bony. There are a lot of high-risk areas scattered around my body for those afraid of running into sharp objects. There are reasons we watch out for table corners and step back as we open doors.

Anyway, hugging makes me self-conscious. Do I go up or down? Are we going to alternate arms? Which arms? Is there a bisou included with this hug? How long are we meant to hug for? Why do I get the urge to hold your hips as the hug ends?

So, why, you may be wondering, have I been hugging more than normal? Well, it has everything to do with the students that I have been teaching. (I can’t seem to break away from thinking about teaching, and the students I teach, as of late.) I’ve been teaching younger students over the last couple of weeks, and they express themselves, quite freely, through hugs. There have been individual hugs, groups hugs, and entire class hugs.

Once, and it was really endearing, a class of kindergarten students decided that they were going to eat me while they were pretending to be their favourite animal. Most of them ended up hanging onto my legs or arms while chomping their teeth.

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