Hugging, Harassment, & Stupidity


Screen shot 2013-12-21 at 8.45.02 AMThe other day I saw a piece on the news about a high school senior in Duluth, Georgia, being suspended for his entire senior year because he thought a teacher needed a hug.  She said it was sexual harassment.  The ‘hug’ is on tape.  If it was sexual harassment, I’m the Easter Bunny.  This is not a discussion about sexual harassment, or zero tolerance in schools.  This is a rant about hugging.

First, the guy, who now has his future ruined, including a major lacrosse scholarship (that’s perverted in itself) thought the woman needed a hug. He thought she looked like she needed a hug.  Was he so narcissistic that he thought he could administer a feel good hug?  He comes from a family who hugs. That’s nice. I hate hugs.

That’s right, I hate  hugs. I don’t like them.  It is an affront to my personal space.  A hug is something personal.  Why would I want someone I can barely tolerate to hug me?  If I were to want a hug, it would be from someone who certainly wouldn’t want to administer one to me, and it would not be a hug, but more like an embrace.  Right now, in my life, there is no one I currently want to administer one.

Go ahead and call me a Scrooge.  I don’t care.  I come from a family where we are formal enough that we don’t hug. We don’t embrace.  We don’t even shake hands.  Physical contact is something reserved for a hug of a little kid, and that’s about it.  I defy anyone to say that my family lacked love and affection.  It was very much there.  We just didn’t do frivolous hugging.

I like my personal space.  Ironically, it was defined during the era of the hoop skirt, something akin to 4 to 8 feet, or the distance a man would need to stand from a woman, and not assault her by having his shoes up under the hem of her skirt. Intimate distance is considered 18 inches, and is reserved for close friends, family, etc.  I don’t even like shaking hands, but for other reasons.

According to proper etiquette, a woman is to initiate a hand shake.  I do not shake hands with a man who is so lacking in manners that he initiates the handshake.  It tells me something about him.  People like to think that a handshake should involve this strong, masculine grip, a ‘strong handshake’.  That is cultural nonsense.  A proper, mannerly handshake is a touching that has nothing to do with intimacy.  One should not pump the hand and arm, and not try to break a person’s fingers.  Personally, I think the Queen and the DAR have the right idea – wear gloves.

When in a situation where handshaking is required, I use my left hand.  There’s a reason.  Eight years ago I ruined my right elbow.  The physical movement required for a handshake, and stupid people who want to do this ‘manly’ shake, can inflict enough pain to literally pill my elbow out of joint.  I’ve had it happen several times.  It is painful.

Different cultures do different things. In this country, the Navajo dislike shaking hands.  Anyone who knows anything about their culture knows that you don’t promote one. Personally, I like the Russian version, where men rarely shake a woman’s hand, but kiss it.  (Sigh)  When one considers the possibility of that sort of greeting from my favorite baritone, well, yep, let’s go with the flow.  (sigh)

I just don’t get the hugging culture. Maybe I’m that much of a cold fish, but please, deliver me from it.  When at church, I cringe during the peace, when everyone wants to hug.  Well, I don’t.  I hate it.  I don’t want their germs.  I don’t want the intimacy.  It’s not that I don’t care about people, but I don’t want to be hugged.  I don’t want it inflicted on me.

According to sociologists, hugging is now a form of greeting for high school students.  There are some who claim it lowers blood pressure.  Well, not for me.  It raises mine.  Why do people have the narcissistic right to think that a hug from them is what I need?   Back off, I don’t want one.

A person has a right to protect their personal space.  I cringe at the thought of a massage, but then, as you can see, I don’t like being touched. The very process of it is painful, physically.  Hugs physically hurt.  Part of the problem is our culture assumes we want and need a hug.

As far as I’m concerned, back off!  I neither want a hug, nor need one.