Life

A few Good Hugs

The embrace – an articulation of so many things.

Little known fact, I am not a kissing kinda` gal. Now before eyebrows shoot up all over blogland, it`s not that I don`t like kissing. I LOVE kissing. It`s one of my favourite things to do, as long as the lips or cheek on the other end of the kiss belongs to somebody I know really VERY well. My close friends and immediate family generally will get a kiss and if you`re my man, you best be believing there`s going to be a whole lotta` smooching happening all the time. *grin* . My Urban Family are really affectionate with each other and we will hug and kiss when we greet or say goodbye. We will hug randomly throughout our interactions as well (ok, for clarity…not the guys. Mostly the chicks. And whatever you`re thinking, get your mind out of the gutter, you freak!). I`ve known some people for years and have just recently started hugging them, as I now feel comfortable enough to do so.

Although, I have been noticing lately that people have been invading my personal space. Personal space is really important to me – especially in a corporate environment. I go bananas when somebody is all up in my grill as it were. Look, simple rule of thumb… If I stick my arm out and I hit you with it, you`re too close. If I`m feeling your hot breath on my neck, again you are way to close for my comfort. If I back up and step on your feet, you should have known better. Too close. Your fault (Now, if you look like Clive Owen or Wentworth Miller, I might be willing to make an exception!)

[Seriously, this is a pet peeve of mine. I hate the fact that there are people who have no concept of personal space. I feel like walking around with a huge hula-hoop around my waist as a barrier to these buggers. In the grocery stores and banks or anywhere you have to stand in line – just because you`re standing right on top of me, it does not make the line move any faster. Did you not notice that you were behind me? I still have to go first! Are you going to try and stand on my head next? I`m just saying. Give people room. When I can feel your breathe on the back of my neck, it`s just damn creepy ok. Keep this in mind please.]

Moving on…

I am (obviously) not the type of person to randomly kiss strangers, colleagues or acquaintances. You see, I see a kiss as an intimate act between two people. And, yes…it does sound soooo chaste and Jane Austin, but I honestly feel that a kiss is something special and you share it with people you know well.

Another little known fact, despite the fact that I am sceptical of strangers invading my private space, I do love hugging. There`s nothing as absolutely uplifting like a really good heartfelt hug. Granted, it needs to be from someone I know for more than a heartbeat.

Yesterday, Ingrid and I went to Baraza for lunch and cocktails. Somehow the conversation turned to hugging and the fact that some of our friends and ex-partners hugged like pro`s, while others should just not bother (and, as is typical for the two of us, any conversation topic this banal becomes quite the philosophical discussion!).

We concluded that a hug can articulate so many things and convey so many meanings.

It`s a skill, or maybe an art. Let’s face it, we all know someone who just hugs “wrong”. We’ve all had that awkward hug where one person was going for the hug and the other really wasn’t (I’ve been on both sides of this, it’s unpleasant either way.)

Fact of the matter is…an embrace isn`t just an embrace.

The Manly Hug

Ok, we all know that straight men are not supposed to hug each other. It goes against their primal, masculine nature to show affection to another member of their gender. If men hug, gasp, people might think they are gay! Oh no! So, men have developed a type of hug to express their solidarity without compromising their sexuality. You know the one. They tightly grasp each other for half a second and deliver one solid, resounding slap on to each other’s back. Then they quickly detach themselves and act like it never happened. Quite amusing to watch, especially to a woman.

The I like you okay, but… hug

My friend reminded me of this hug when he was telling me about one of his dates. They had an okay time, nothing spectacular. No fireworks, so to speak. At the end of the date, she tried to give him a hug and he gave her the side embrace. You know the one. You just kind of reach out with one arm and slightly press your side to the person rather than initiating full body contact. If anyone ever gives you this hug in a romantic context, it means they like you okay…but that is it. Don’t get your hopes up for the second date.

The arse in the air hug

This is one favored by women friends. They will reach out and embrace, but only use the top half of their bodies. Their abdomens remain separate and the arse generally sticks up in the air. This is a sweet, yet non-committal hug. It means, hey I like you but not enough for you to get too close enough for full body contact.

The loooooong embrace

I like this one. This hug usually occurs when you are not going to see someone for a while or see him or her for the first time after a long period of time. Maybe it is a new love you are sad to be leaving, even for a day. This hug always entails full body contact and a firm grip. However, it generally lasts for quite awhile. Sometimes you will rock from side to side. Sometimes you will whisper things in each other’s ear. Sometimes you will cry. This type of hug is bittersweet. It feels safe. You feel enfolded. Ingrid called it the Full Body Hug.

Ok…so, not content to let it just go I did a quick survey of the male opinion on hugging (granted the ONE male friend I surveyed is perhaps not the best choice as a) Like me, he has a thing about personal space and physical contact with strangers. Well, he might be a bit more adamant about it than I am :p and b) I surveyed ONE person.

Nevertheless. It`s a male opinion and he hasn`t steered me wrong yet.

In all his Mars simplicity *grin* he simply catagorised the embrace in three different classes, The Good hug, The Bad hug and the More than a Hug (ok, I gave him the categories, but he REALLY stuck to it, huh?)

This was the general consensus from my in-depth research and analysis of the male opinion on The Hug:

(And this is verbatim, so to speak)

A Good Hug is a full embrace, brief, with arms folded around the back, hands towards shoulders, no pelvis touching

A Bad Hug is where the pelvis is miles back, stiff arms, patting on back while hugging, head to the side

A ‘More than a Hug` is when the pelvis is tight against the other person, mouth resting on neck of other person, arm running up and down person back…or on arm on top of back and the other on lower back pushing in….lastly…not such a brief hug…and you will find if you listen closely, you can hear the man trying to smell woman`s hair.

Note on the above: I reserve giving or receiving this type of embrace for a romantic interest. I want to be fully consumed and short of breath.

So, hugs are comforting and reassuring and enveloping and can be very very sexy. It can convey sympathy, hope and a sense of I understand and I am here for you.

It can also be really effective as a weapon of Mass Seduction. Oh, and should I ever meet any of you, and you are hugged consider yourself friend.

And if I don`t….well, sometimes it take a while.

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