Today is National Hugging Day, which seems like the perfect time to request that we stop hugging each other so much. It’s gotten out of hand, all this embracing and invading each other’s personal space. It’s not enough that we hug each other ‘hello,’ we have to hug out our “good-byes,” and our “congratulations,” and “so sorry you’ve lost your job.” I even had someone hug me recently when she found a great pair of boots on sale. Enough already! We don’t even stop at hugging good friends and family anymore. These days we hug acquaintances, co-workers, salespeople, even the pilots that fly our planes get hugs now. Whatever happened to a good handshake? It’s polite, it’s warm, it’s respectful, it doesn’t invade anyone’s personal space too much, and there are all sorts of variations in the handshake to convey different feelings and intentions. There’s the two-handed version, the loose finger-grasp, the tight finger grasp, the finger-palm clasp, the knuckle grip, the firm-solid hold, and you can always vary the pumping, too. You can pump one time, two times, I’ve even seen people pump three or four times when they’re feeling pretty wired. Five’s a bit weird, though. Best to keep it under four.
I’m also a big fan of the wave. The wave is so under-rated and I’d like to see it make a comeback. There’s no touching involved —none at all. And talk about variations in execution! My god, the handshake has nothing on the wave. The wave is a chock-full of untapped possibility! Just thinking about it makes me dizzy. There’s Michelle Obama’s windshield wiper wave, the classic beauty queen wave, the one-hand clap wave, and the always-popular finger wiggle. Why aren’t more people waving? I say let’s have more waving, less hugging! If nothing else, we’ll cut down on contagious diseases.
I’ll admit that my stance on hugs may not be a popular one. I blame my Protestant upbringing on my dislike of anyone getting too close. Protestants, you know, don’t even like people touching when they procreate. So, because I know some of you may not be as excited at the prospect of retiring the hug completely, I propose a few occasions that remain totally hug appropriate.
When It’s Okay to Hug:
1. After winning an Oscar, Grammy, Superbowl title, Olympic gold medal, or a Free Ticket on an instant scratch-off
2. During a 13-shot tequila bender
3. After your guy (or gal) wins the Presidential election
4. On your wedding day
5. When your child begs for one
And to prove I’m not completely heartless, I’ll even go so far as to say that we can use National Hugging Day as a sort of “golden pass.” On this day if you really feel the urge, you may hug up to three people. But! These three people need to be related to you or need to have seen you naked at least once to qualify. So go ahead, go hug crazy…but just for today, please.