Some say there are two types of people: the huggers and the non-huggers. I personally believe that there are three types: the super huggers, the when appropriate huggers and the non – I don’t touch people with a ten foot pole – huggers. I am the center hugger, aka the right/place, right/time hugger.
Family is an exception. I am constantly hugging my children, my mom (Crazy Pat), The Captain (especially when he is in the middle of doing something he really loves like washing the dishes) and my extended family. I also hug my close friends – even one who is a complete non-hugger. But I just don’t give hugs away. I don’t hug coworkers that aren’t in my wolf pack. I don’t hug my boss. I don’t hug my mailman. I don’t hug the Walmart greeter.
Lately, people have been hugging me. A lot. I don’t really know why – maybe I look open to some spicy, saucy hugs, maybe I seem a little extra fluffy, or maybe I am turning into Crazy Pat who has never met a stranger she didn’t want to hug. Who knows. But, one day, my boss’s boss, the big kahuna, the one who signs my paychecks, gave me a massive, extremely big hug directly after a staff meeting. I wasn’t expecting it at all, and it was just a little, teensy bit awkward to say the least.
I blame myself. I went over to him after the meeting to ask him a quick question. I had my left arm, the one that was closest to him, extended because I was going to touch his arm to get his attention (look, there are touchers and there are non-touchers, but that is another blog post for another day). Maybe he misunderstood, or maybe he just needed a warm hug from a non-threatening staff member. I am not sure. But everyone saw the hug. Everyone. Holy awkward, Batman.
After the meeting, my co-workers looked at me strangely. I felt the pressure of the hug bearing down on me all day. Everywhere I turned, eyes were looking my way, staring and judging me with anti-hug looks that say, “What the hell” and “Oh my God” and “What the hell!!!” It was almost as bad as a certain nightmare I had where I arrived at school without a bra on (darn you, gravity). It was that horrifying.
My dear friends told me not to worry about it. They said encouraging and supportive things like, “It was just a friendly gesture,” and “No one really noticed,” and “Maybe he just didn’t know if you were going in for the awkward handshake, but you didn’t react and so he went for the awkward hug instead.” Humph. None of these options could be of any real relief to me.
Of course, a little while after the hug of the century, things returned to normal. Hugs with huggie people continued. Hugs that were not good hugs continued. Life continued. The hug was forgotten by all, or so I thought. But really, it wasn’t. Someone mentioned the hug today as I was walking down the hallway. They said, “The big guy is in the building. Has he hugged you yet?” Damn! I thought it was dust the wind, smoke on the water, or left on a magic carpet ride. Impossible!
But, it all turned out all right. Today there was not a hug. I didn’t do any strange non-verbals that would even remotely demonstrate that I would be interested AT ALL in a hug. It was a friendly banter and nothing more. Relief. Hug me awkward no more. Although I could really use a hug right now.