The art of hugging
I once read somewhere that for a well-balanced psyche, we should each get eight hugs a day. I’ll admit I generally operate in a deficit in that area, but when I get them, I want them done right.
“Right,” I know, is subjective. I’ve never seen instructions on how to hug. All I know is that I really (read that word slowly with emphasis) enjoy a hug done the right way.
Over the years, I’ve taught my relatives and some friends how I prefer to be hugged. It’s the type of hug that involves a strong embrace (almost a squeeze). It’s never the hug that includes a pat.
Pats seem insincere.
Pats with hugs, in my opinion, generally are reserved for people you feel compelled to hug but don’t really feel close to. Like that woman you hug at family reunion who says she’s your cousin but whose name and face you can’t seem to recall. Or, that person who’s overly affectionate and insists on hugging you, making you feel obliged to return the embrace in some form.
Hug. Pat. Release. Quickly.
Yes, that’s how I feel when someone pats me. Like a baby having sucked down too much milk too quickly and being patted on the back until the bubbles come up as burps.
Actually, that’s not how I feel, but it’s what I always tell the person I’m feeling at the moment to discourage a repeat performance.
Then, there’s the guy hug. Shake hands and hold the handshake at the belly or chest, and then, with the other hand, reach around for a this-can-only-last-for-a-second embrace. Guys seem to hug this way only with men they know very well. If they don’t know each other well, they don’t hug at all. They stop at the handshake.
A niece and nephew seem to have invented a new type of hug. The sideways hug. It’s almost like walking beside someone you’re intimate with, while your arms are around each others’ waists. Except you’re not walking.
I really hate the sideways hug. I’m told they get it from their father. Their father told me that himself, so I guess they didn’t invent it, but they sure have mastered it.
Maybe I’m being selfish, but a hug should involve both arms. It should not involve pats. It should make you feel special. It should be sincere.
Sure, my inside voice complains when I get a hug with pats, the sideways hug or any hug that seems insincere, but I would prefer a bad hug over no hug.
Even a bad hug makes me feel good.