What’s with all this HUGGING???

 Why does everyone feel compelled to invade the private space of others?

I can hardly go to the local dollar store without some acquaintance spontaneously throwing their arms around me.  Then, still in this very close proximity, the acquaintance recounts a plethora of ailments a plethora of doctors have diagnosed. No wonder the person HUGGED me.  The poor thing was probably too ill to go on and latched on to me for physical support while racked with a deep cough.  At least, the head was turned, just a little sputum on my lapel.

 Then there’s the man who is a bit rotund.  Even though I’ve changed aisles, I cannot avoid meeting this fellow face-to-face in the narrowest of passages.    His enthusiastic bear hug invariably includes my breast being crushed and rubbed against his chest.  Somebody needs to tell him his arms are just too short for this modern, socially-acceptable activity.  One day he’s gonna pop somebody’s silicone.

 Shortly after I moved back to my rural roots, I was helping my cousin with a garage sale. Some lady (?), whom I’d never laid eyes on before, came up and said “I’m Melba Beard and I give hugs.”  This hugging thing was new to me then;   backing away, I replied, “I’m Twila and I don’t.”  The lady was undeterred and proceeded to virtually attack me with her overzealous display of assumed affection.  I was to learn this was her normal and neither man, woman or child was safe from her”HUGS.”

 “Then there’s the “You need a HUG,”  “She/He looks like she/he needs a HUG,” and being put in the position of seeming to be a cold, unfeeling person if one doesn’t comply when told “I NEED A HUG.”  I guess that would be okay were it George Clooney.

 Growing up, shaking hands was considered the proper adult greeting.  Even then, most ladies wore gloves.  Casual “Hugging” was a greeting reserved for children when the elderly relatives were visiting.

 “Keep your hands to yourself” was one of the hard fast rules that my mother taught me and lived by.  A parent might hug a child, but it was not okay for the child to thrust themselves into the arms of friends and neighbors.  We went to church, shopping, family reunions and any number of social occasions without embracing anybody; much less acquaintances or even strangers.  Casual physical contact was just not done.

  People did not “lay hands” on each other.  Their space was respected, and they extended the same courtesy.  We didn’t touch them, fiddle with their clothing, let alone do the cheek to cheek, arm-entangling-germ exchange.  

 Mama would never have adjusted to today’s social moiré of so much casual physical contact, especially “HUGGING.”

 So in a time of more and more mutating diseases, antibiotic-resistant bacteria,  incurable viruses, staph and strep that require long hospital stays and thousands of dollars to cure,  mersa, recurrence of diseases long thought dead such as TB and whooping-cough, WHY ARE WE HUGGING????

In the name of disease prevention, practice regular hand-washing, coughing and/or sneezing into a disposable tissue, keeping your nose clean, and at all costs, AVOID  THE HUG.”


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