I must admit that if a total stranger came up to me on the street and offered me a hug, I would likely think that 1. They were on CRACK, 2. They were wanting to distract me so that they could pick my pocket, 3. They were freshly escaped from the asylum, or 4. I was being punked on camera.
Don’t get me wrong. I LIKE hugs. But I am also not one who hugs just anyone anytime anywhere. I do receive hugs well, and I give damn fine hugs as I have been told. But a total stranger just randomly coming up and wanting to paste their body against mine? Nope. Stay outa my bubble or suffer the consequences!
Did you know that at any given moment there are at least 30 ways in which you can die/be killed/be maimed on the spot? Most people would now, having read that sentence, be looking around their environment and discovering that there are maybe 3 or 4 ways that they can see and will completely disregard the statement altogether. Yup. Deerhorn is snortin’ crack again! Someday, if you happen to be one of the few who get to have tea with me, you will have to ask me how many ways there are to die in this moment. I will look around and find a good number of them. The other three ways out of the 30 are the ones that someone else thought of that I missed.
So when someone comes up to me on the street and offers to give me a hug, they are truly taking their life in their own hands if we have never before been introduced. There is social etiquette involved here, folks. And if you are doing a Sociological survey on the subject, you had better not assume that because I would give a firm “NO” it then means that I am not receptive in life. I pick and choose what I am receptive to. That is my right as a human being. I don’t have to receive something from you just because you want to give it to me. Your wanting to give it to me is YOUR issue, not mine. And please do not take your life into your own hands because, as forementioned, there are a number of ways to die at any given moment and I can activate many of them. Just kidding…sort of.
Case in point. I had someone who was moving offer me one of their wall masks. Now, it is a beautiful mask. I collect masks. I love masks. And under far different circumstances I would be tempted to say “yes” to this generous offer. But there are a few other factors involved with this. The first is that I was working really hard at simplifying things in my home, which requires some serious purging of “stuff”, so that when I moved I would not have to haul too much “stuff” with me. My most brutal measuring stick that helps me to determine how attached I am to anything is the question, “Do I really want to have to pack and haul this shit to the next house?” The answer is usually ‘NO’. So…off to Good Will it goes! The second factor in this offer is that her need to find a home for something that she did not want to haul is really not my problem. It might be hers, but it is not mine. So why should I say “yes” out of obligation to help out when I could say “no” as an act of liberation for myself? The third factor is that it was a kind and generous offer and one that, as I mentioned before, I would have been glad to receive. But then, when I don’t wish to receive it, how do I say “no thank you” with grace and courtesy? I did so by explaining the first factor and that, even though the mask was beautiful, I just don’t have room for it in my living space right now. She seemed to accept this. I hope it was heartfelt acceptance.
So when it comes to hugs, although they are not something that we see as having to store or display in our homes etc, there is an energy from a hug that lingers….sometimes for YEARS. This is why it is important to learn how to hug properly. Are you ready? Sit down and pour yourself a drink, this may take a moment. Here goes:
- The “Bridge Hug”. NEVER a good idea. The bridge hug is a hug wherein the participants lean way into each other and their hands basically go no further than touching the other participant’s shoulders, and their asses are stuck way out behind them. This essentially creates a bridge between each person with VAST space in between the two bodies. If someone is going to hug like THAT, then they might as well just shake hands.
- The “Grope Hug”. This is only appropriate if it is done in private between two people who are already intimate. There is nothing wrong in those circumstances with groping or fondling each other as a form of foreplay/after play/let’s play. But do it in public and you can get arrested. And do it with a total stranger or with someone who is related by blood and you will end up in jail for a long time. This hug is never to be used as a statement of intent for someone in whom you are interested but with whom you have not yet done anything intimate. Don’t even go there.
- The “French Hug”. Although this one seems a bit intimate, it is NOTHING if you are in Europe. So this hug has to do with placing your hands on a person’s shoulders and leaning in to touch cheeks, but at the very last second you plant a quick kiss on their cheek. Sometimes the sides of the face are then switched and the act is repeated. Kind of like a “rinse and repeat” cycle on your clothes washer. This is common between good friends and sometimes with people with whom you want to establish friendship. Rarely is it done with your grandfather.
- The “Socialite Hug”. This is a cheap knock off of the “French Hug”. Same actions, but the cheeks don’t get any closer than 4 inches of each other and you simply make the kissing sound rather than actually kiss each other. This hug says, “We all know who’s the biggest bitch on the block, so let’s just stop pretending and get to catty socialite business.”
- The “Assassin Hug”. This is an advancement on the Socialite Hug. Basically you actually embrace each other, but one of you holds a blade that swiftly enters the receiver’s body just below the left scapula. Thus, it gives a perfect puncture wound to the heart. One must remember to wear rubber gloves when performing this style of hug. Hiding the fact that you are wearing rubber gloves and bearing arms is the complicated part. Good luck with that! I only teach that to my friends and family members. Just kidding….or am I?
- The “Love Hug”. This is the genuine hug. When you do this hug, you are definitely within each other’s bubble. Your knees touch. Your chests touch. Your arms wrap all the way around each other and you squeeze each other GENTLY. This is not a “Let’s see if I can squeeze the air out of your body before you squeeze the air out of my body” competition! Hold for at least 10 seconds, no more than 20 seconds or it just gets weird. A variation on this may be that one or more partner also puts a hand behind the other partner’s head and gently cups their head as the cheeks are pressing into each other. It is a very endearing addition to the “Love Hug”.
- The “Rear Entry Hug”. This one is the same as the “Love Hug”, only done from behind. And it is important to make sure that you don’t end up combining it with the “Grope Hug” unless it is, once again, in private AND with someone with whom you are already intimate.
- The “Side Door Hug”. This is a hug that is done side by side and one-armed. You basically put your arm around a person’s shoulders and squeeze them into you. You may also lower the arm to around the recipient’s waist, but this can get overly intimate really quickly and may not give the appropriate message for which you were looking. Sometimes the “Side Door Hug” is used to declare territory. For example, it can say to a third party, “This one is mine. Back off.” There are all sorts of social innuendos of which one must become aware, I’ll tell ya! Also, gentlemen, be very careful if giving this hug to a woman. A man might feel your hand on the other side of his chest/torso and it means nothing. A woman will feel this as a sexual advance because the side of the chest/torso also has breast material there. So avoid a law suit! Keep the arm around her shoulders!
- The “Non-Hug Hug”. This is when one person hugs another person who does not reciprocate. It can be horribly awkward for both parties. Basically it demonstrates that one person is “not there yet” and that the other person “misread some signals or over assumed intimacy”. It is always ok to refrain from hugs. It is usually important, if having never hugged a person before, to ask, “Is it ok if I give you a hug?” Then it is important to know to respect whatever the person’s answer is without being offended if the person says “no” or overly enthusiastic if the person says “yes”, after all you would not want them to regret their decision!
This also leads us to the part where I speak about personal hygiene. You see, I have found myself, now and then, in a situation where a person has hugged me and, while they are hugging me, I am having to hold my breath so that I don’t expire from their body odor. A bar of soap does not cost that much! Neither does deodorant! Even the organic stuff! Just saying! After such experiences it takes me a very long time before I will ever hug that person again. I usually, upon encountering them after that, follow the cues my nose gives me from afar. If I catch an inkling of body odor from them from a distance I will definitely know that there is no way in hell that I will be hugging them. So I make no overtures toward such activity and make myself “disappear” into the woodwork if said person is going around a room hugging others. The best way to avoid conflict is to NOT BE THERE.
At the same time, one must be conscious of the fact that perfumes and colognes and even aromatherapy oils can be something to which someone, anyone, like myself, can have very adverse allergic reaction. So don’t bathe in that stuff and then expect me to hug you! I have nothing against the scents, per say, but I do not appreciate it when it is over-done. Scents are SUPPOSED TO BE SUBTLE!!! So for Christ’s sake! Keep them that way!
As was mentioned before, there is an energy that lingers after a hug. This energy will, hopefully, be a positive energy and will leave one feeling great. If there is toxic energy involved with the hug, it will leave a person feeling violated. There are things that can be done to alleviate those feelings of toxic energy in your energy field. For example, you can brush it off with a feather, then blow it off of the feather. You can wipe it off with your hands and then shake your hands out so that the toxic energy goes to the earth to be recycled into positive energy. You can also have a shower. Or you can step outside and allow the wind or breeze to cleanse you. You can also smudge yourself with sage smoke or incense smoke. You can also do an all over body shake out, like what dogs do in intermission during play time. The number of things that are possible for cleansing someone else’s icky energy from you are plentiful! In cleansing them off of your energy you are allowing them to be purified and, at the same time, allowing yourself to walk through your life free of their yucky stuff.