5 August 2016

Hugging

Of course, people from different cultures have different methods of greeting each other or saying goodbye. Here in northern England I grew up believing that the correct way to greet another man was simply to shake hands and say, "How do you do." It was the same when parting, you just shook hands and took leave of one another: "See you before too long".

So when did the hugging start and where did we get it from? Nowadays it seems almost de rigeur for male friends to greet each other with a manly hug and to do the same when they part. This was once something that only foreigners did - like the morally suspect French or those lusty Italians. In England, we liked to keep a polite and proper distance.

I must admit that I still feel very uncomfortable about hugging anybody other than my wife and daughter. Even with our son Ian, it is my habit to just shake hands when we meet and to do the same when we part.

Another thing I am not too happy about is kissing. I am very happy about kissing my wife and the affectionate pecks on my daughter's cheeks are the same as the kisses I reserved for my dear departed mother. However, kissing female friends and acquaintances usually feels most uncomfortable. Sometimes the recipients expect two kisses - one on either cheek - and I am never sure if my lips are meant to make contact. Should I moisten them before the coming together of faces? Or am I just meant to feign my kisses?

Again, such quandaries didn't exist in the past. It would be so much easier if I could greet female friends with a subtle  bow of the head, met of course with a dainty curtsy and the offering of a gloved hand. None of this awkward cheek kissing baloney.  

Nonetheless, I guess that as more years pass by, we may reach a point where a man is expected to greet a female friend or acquaintance with a warm embrace involving the squeezing of buttocks and a full-bodied kiss on the lips including the intertwining of slurping tongues. This might prove awkward at first but with practice I believe I could learn to adapt.

35 comments:

  1. I agree. It took me years to accept my space being invaded by French, Spanish and Mexican people. The kissing of ladies is fraught with danger, they Spanish call it bussing and even now I have no idea which cheek to kiss first or just miss first. I usually go straight for the lips with nubile ones They are not expecting a love bite on the cheek in a bar nor are they after a good snog apparently. It's very confusing and being that close to perfume makes me sneeze.
    Are Reet Lass and a gentle slap on the bum should suffice anywhere in the world. As for kissing men they can just mince off and go on a gay pride totter; I don't have high standards but the ones I do have I do my best to maintain.

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    1. As you re a former sailor (seaman) I imagined that you would be in the habit of hugging other men. Life can get lonesome on board a ship.

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    3. I got it muddled up. The merchant marine does not tolerate any substance abuse or abuse of labour. (Not like shore side in the UK) I had several female crew but lionesses, I mean liasons, between them and the male ones were forbidden by law as were shirt lifters getting together. It would be no bad thing if Merchant shipping law was applied to her magesty's navy. (how do you spell magesty?) They could bury their own dead. Marry folk and shoot the bad blighters.

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  2. I am so used to hugging and kissing my friends (male and female) that I do not even think about it. With my parents, it is hugs and kisses usually only when I know I won't be seeing them for a while (such as the last time we meet before I go on holiday) or the first meeting after having been away.
    The only time I really think about it is when I know someone privately (maybe even intimately) and then meet the same person in a professional environment. In those circumstances, we limit ourselves to handshakes.

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    1. My daughter and son have also adopted this new fashion - hugs and kisses. Maybe it's a good thing but it is not how my generation were raised and it rather goes against the grain.

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    2. Not exactly "new" to me; we've been doing that since I was in my teena, which was in the 1980s. What Weaver said further down made me think of my parents: They have always been affectionate with each other in front of us, we were used to seeing them hugging and kissing from the start. They married in 1965 and we were born in 1967 and 1968 - summers of love and all that hippie stuff :-D

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    3. Hippie sisters! I am surprised that your parents didn't name you Everlasting Joy and Summer Petals.

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  3. In my circle of family and friends, we hug everyone. In the Mexican households, everyone, including the children, go around and shake hands with all the people there, it's delightful. I have an 89-year old friend who insists on kissing women on the lips, and he gets away with it.

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    1. I may never reach the age of 89 so perhaps I should start aiming for the lips right now, hoping not to get a slap for my trouble.

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  4. Isn't it funny - I feel the same really. To be honest I can't say I ever remember my father kissing my mother in front of me. The farmer and I - and my previous husband too - will kiss in public, although I am pretty sure I always instigate it. As to me son and I - I have to ask for a kiss - then he gives me a kiss and a prefunctory hug. Can't change the habits of a lifetime - wish I could.

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  5. Sorry YP can spell perfunctory!

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    1. As you have been ill I forgive you for your perfunctory spelling Mrs Weaver... and it is hard to argue with what has been bred into us - it runs too deep.

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    1. I see no wrong in hugging. I think it's a lovely way to greet someone you know and care about...a friend etc. I enjoy receiving and giving hugs. I don't go around hugging everyone willy-nilly...but upon meeting and farewelling...there is no harm in people hugging, in my opinion. And there are other times a hug is warranted or welcomed, too.

      I see no harm in hugging at all. Some people aren't huggers. Some people stiffen up if hugged. My landlady is one of those folk. I think she was never hugged as a child. I think it's a shame. Over the 14 years since I’ve lived here there have been a few occasions when a hug has been necessary to my way of thinking...she’s not as much the Ice Queen now as she once was. A mutual friend and I have helped melt her....purposely...Sisters in Arms...as it were!

      As for kissing...a kiss on the cheek is fine...a kiss on either cheek is fine with me...but a kiss on the lips is definitely not okay as far as I’m concerned (unless, of course, it's from one's partner).

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    2. You have melted your landlady! What did you use? A bunsen burner?

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  7. Tut, tut, YP - we're British don't you know - stiff upper lip and a firm hand shake is enough! None of this foreign hugging and kissing carry-on malarkey around these shores !
    Personally I blame the footballers...

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    1. I am glad you are as old-fashioned as I am about this matter milady. In past times footballers never hugged when they scored. They just shook hands and got on with the game.

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  8. Is it a Yorkshire thing, maybe?

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    1. Maybe a need a good counsellor Jenny. Do you know any?

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  9. I am not a leader in this activity. I'm like you a hand shake. Now Greeting females with a hug is fine and I'm comfortable with it.

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    1. Yes. I bet you are very comfortable hugging females Red!

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  10. Maybe it's a Yorkshire thing, but I just don't do hugs between blokes. I recently met up with an old schoolfriend who I haven't seen for 20 years and the first thing we both said was "Are we supposed to hug now?" and burst out laughing and shook hands. As for kissing, OK with my girl friends (not girlfriends) in the office etc, but it's insincere and awkward 'mwah mwah' with strangers.

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    1. "Mwah Mwah"? I thought that was a tribe of cannibalistic pygmies... So if you don't kiss your "girlfriends" how do you greet them? The mind boggles.

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  11. I agree with you, the hugging thing always feels awkward to me. I'm never sure how my male friend is planning to greet me; I even feel awkward shaking hands sometimes. I had no problem hugging female friends in high school, but kissing them on the cheek would be odd to me as well.

    The Pedestrian Writer

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    1. One has to go with the flow. It is very difficult to say "Keep Off!" when someone prepares to hug.

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  12. Should your prediction turn out true, I will mail you a postcard from Mars, because I will be done with Earth. :P

    Hugging seems to be natural to some people. I never know whether it's to be a one-arm or side hug, which arm to raise, how firmly to embrace, etc. Hugs seem to turn into "awkward, friendly collisions" instead.

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    1. If my prediction comes true I shall be waiting at the rocketdrome on Mars to greet you Jen! I shall prepare my lips with a liberal application of goose fat.

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  13. I first learn't to hug about forty years ago when living in Glastonbury, Somerset and it is a practice which I carry on regardless of gender. It being now a warm and sociable habit of mine.

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    1. Well if you meet me in real life please resist the urge to hug or you may end up on the floor nursing a sore jaw.

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  14. All my family and friends know that I am a very demonstrative person. Hugging is something that I like to do. But, early on in the process of giving a hug, one can feel it the recipient of said hug is receptive to it or not. If not, I will not proceed with said hug. As for you, Mr. Pudding....you should never do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable in any way.

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    1. I would be okay about hugging you Mama Bear but Big Bear might not like it.

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  15. Very amusing. I care very little for what 'society' expects. We hug our friends & family. I reserve my kisses for my hubby. Some things are nicest only between loved ones.

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    1. What "society expects" can sometimes force us into behaviours we don't really like. It can be hard to resist.

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  16. I loved hugs and kisses , with few :) when I was small I used to wash my face if someone kisses . Lol

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