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GIMME A HUG
10 July 2007
One of my fun things each morning is visiting That's My Answer, which used to be The Question of the Day. There are usually fun questions that sometimes set you to thinking. (This morning one of them was If you could, for one day, step into the body of one person but retain your mind, to experience their life, who would you choose? I chose GWB, because I said I wanted to find out what exactly he was thinking and if he is really as dumb as he seems.
But another question this morning (there are usually 3 or more questions) was Are you a hugger? You know, someone who hugs people when you see them? Or what about when people come to give you a hug, what do you do?
I think, as a general rule, Americans are not naturally "huggers," at least we weren't back in the 1980s when Brasilians came into our lives. Brasilians are huggers. It's like a requirement. If one Brasilian meets another Brasilian, it's a law that they must hug, I think.
When our first Brasilian group came to Davis, it seemed a strange custom, all this hugging (and kissing--don't forget the kissing. One kiss on each cheek). But through that three week period, we got used to greeting each person with a hug and the accompanying kisses. We came to enjoy it. And we had so many visitors from Latin American countries that hugging just became "how we lived." It was a requirement for us, too, to hug and to kiss.
It was fun, during the Lawsuit years, to watch hugging become part of the band dynamic. That was the huggiest, kissingest band ever. I think part of it was perhaps the shock value -- these straight guys hugging and kissing each other. But the hugging tradition that we had learned from and enjoyed with the Brasilians was spilling over into our friends as well.
Some people are really good huggers. My friend Steve hugs anybody and everybody. Friends, strangers, enemies. He doesn't care. If you're there, he'll hug you.
There's something very nice about being swept up in those longer-than-normal arms and hugged close.
My kids grew up to be great huggers. My last memory of David was standing by the kitchen door while gave me a big hug and told me he'd see us when we got home from New York (he died while we were in New York). I can still feel the leather of his jacket. It's a nice last memory to have.
Some people aren't good huggers. They are uncomfortable. I have friends who "hug" but, if it's possible, they hug at a distance. They open arms as if to hug and then keep their body as far away from yours as possible, while patting you gingerly on your back with the very tips of their fingers, as if they are afraid of touching you. The not-quite-hug comes with a Hollywood style "air kiss." It's very awkward. But I give them an E for effort.
I've noticed that hugging seems to be in vogue at the moment. You watch television and everybody hugs everybody. Men hug women, women hug women, men hug men. You certainly would never have found Archie Bunker hugging another man (and rarely even Edith, as I recall). Archie was of the era when hugging was just not done.
I have to admit that I prefer the "hugging era" over the "no-hugging era." There is a bond that is created in that one brief moment of hugging that is very special. There is something about being swept up in someone's arms for a greeting and held close briefly that makes all the cares of the world vanish in that one brief moment.
It's very nice.
So if we ever meet in person, be forewarned -- I will hug you!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Terribly sacreligious, but funny.
This is entry #2660