Ever-Changing Reflection

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding... It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility.
~ Kahlil Gibran

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hugging Taboo?

Hugging: a physical display of affection, romantic or platonic. According to Wikipedia: A hug is a form of physical intimacy that usually involves closing or holding the arms around another person or group of persons. The hug is one of the most common human signs of love and affection, along with kissing. Unlike some other forms of physical intimacy, it is practiced publicly and privately without stigma in many countries, religions and cultures, within families, and also across age and gender lines.

It's simple and uncomplicated!

Well, not according to this report by Sarah Kershaw in the NYT on May 27, 2009 -- yes, a little old in terms of news, but I just stumbled across this previously unknown issue to me while reading one of my fav blogs, Chelsea Gwynne.

In this harshly PC world (I am not a PC subscriber), I can see how schools are concerned about students of both genders embracing in the hall between class. But, stepping outside our paranoid perspective, I admire these students. They have actually made hugging cool. Someone, at some time, decided to hell with social standards and hugged his best friend before school, and no, he was not gay. Whoa! Revolutionary. To the principals who have banned hugging, get your mind out of the gutter! You should be glad your students are hugging, not fighting.

I always hugged my friends in high school. Publicly. I was never reprimanded for it. Granted, I went to a parochial high school where love was always the word of the day, but isn't that the way it should be? I am all for expressing feelings, I think it's healthy, modestly of course, not going to advocate French-kissing in the halls.

Hugging of acquaintances is a bit different, although I still don't discourage it. Who doesn't want a hug from someone they know? I, personally, find it a bit awkward these days though. When greeting a friend of a friend, or a friend I haven't interacted with in a while, do I hug them? Are they going to hug me? I think in these instances, I go with my gut, which usually turns into, as Kershaw describes, a "dap," a handshake of sorts that segues to an embrace of some sort.

So, in my opinion, hug away! Young, old, guys, girls, at school, at work, on the street!

Am I wrong? Should hugging be allowed in school? Is it the greeting of the 21st century?

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