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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

239

A Touchy Subject

"I would like you to hug Grandma, but I won't make you do it," I told her recently.

"I don't have to?" she asked, cuddling up to me at bedtime, confirming the facts to be sure.

No, she doesn't have to. And just to be clear, there is no passive-aggressive, conditional, manipulative nonsense behind my statement. I mean what I say. She doesn't have to hug or kiss anyone just because I say so, not even me.

Where was this lady when we were kids? Oh, right, probably also being a kid forced to hug creepy people. Nicole, your stance? Here's Brak's.



239 Comments / Post A Comment

sarah girl

AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH I LOVE YOU BRAK

travelmugs

@Sarah H. If there's anything the Hairpin needs, it's MORE BRAK.

punkahontas

@travelmugs My husband and I quote Brak several times a week.

"TOAST?!?! YOU KNOW I DON'T LIKE TOAST!"

We also played "Soup on A Stick" at our wedding. hahha. I forgot about that.

frigwiggin

@Sarah H. Space Ghost could stand to work on his beatboxing a little.

Jane Marie

@punkahontas "They'll be feet there and feet. And don't forget the feet!"

sarah girl

@punkahontas

Love is a happy time all throughout the Universe. It's when a male part of the species goes to the female part of the species and says, "Hey, do you wanna go on a date?" And then she would say, "Why, yes, I'd like to go on a date," if you're lucky. And then, they'd go to a restaurant, and she gets something called a salad, and then he gets a big piece of beef that he eats. And that, to me, ladies and gentlemen... is love. Kinda makes you cry, doesn't it?

punkahontas

@Jane Marie "This song comes from the heart of my bottom."

Jane Marie

@punkahontas "Like I said, I hate you jerks. What a bunch of stu-pid jerks." It's a Zorak song, OBVIOUSLY, but it's still great.

punkahontas

@Jane Marie He has some good ones too! "I like squash. I just like the name. Squash. Squash! SQUASH!!!"

JadedStone

@punkahontas Every year I leave my fish with my dad. And every year I sing THREE HAMS WILL KILL HIMMMMM!!! THREE HAMS WILL KILL HIM! THREE HAMS WILL KILL HIM! THRREEEEE HAMMMMSSSSS!
And every year my dad is totally baffled.

remargaret

@Sarah H. I dated a boy for like a year in high school because of Space Ghost. He painted me a mug with Brak on it, and painted "Eek Eek" in the bottom of the mug, and I keep my makeup stuff in it on my bathroom counter, 10 years later.

sarah girl

@Jade I think you meant THREE HAMS WILL THRIIIIIILL HIM

H.E. Ladypants

@Sarah H. Every time the boy and I go to a steakhouse (I'm a veg, he loves steak) I have to say that bit.

GoToaster

@H.E. Ladypants I love you so much for that. Also Jane Marie for invoking Brak in the first place.

superjen

@H.E. Ladypants It started when my son was in middle school, and he's college age now so I don't see it stopping ever. When the internet is acting flaky, you unplug the router and sing 'I'm a Cucumber', then you plug it back in. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8KI7TLTYi8

sarah girl

@superjen Please don't take me to the pickle farm!!

jhonsons

I love that look :3@j

area@twitter

"'Y'all'? Where'd you learn to talk like that?"
"Hattiesburg."
"What were you doing in Hattiesburg?"
"Kickin' it."

leonstj

@area@twitter AHHHHHHHH "Knifin' Around" is the single greatest thing to ever air on TV in the history of time.

remargaret

@leon.saintjean cut-cut-cut-cut

frigwiggin

Yes! Teaching bodily autonomy to a child is good! I actually feel guilty when I take away my cat's bodily autonomy too frequently. Just because I'm bigger and want to cuddle her all the time doesn't mean I should take away her agency to do so. (Yes, I did take Animal Theory in college, and it did change the way I think forever.)

Anyway, it's like Will Smith talking about Willow cutting her hair: "We let Willow cut her hair. When you have a little girl, it’s like how can you teach her that you're in control of her body? If I teach her that I'm in charge of whether or not she can touch her hair, she's going to replace me with some other man when she goes out in the world. She can’t cut my hair but that’s her hair. She has got to have command of her body. So when she goes out into the world, she’s going out with a command that it is hers. She is used to making those decisions herself."

frigwiggin

@frigwiggin Not to mention she looks awesome.

lisma

@frigwiggin Will Smith actually said that? That's beautiful.

OhShesArtsy

@frigwiggin YES. THIS.

Ophelia

@frigwiggin Don't tell Suri.

TheUnchosenOne

@frigwiggin I feel the same way about my cat. I thought I was weird!

give cheese some pants

@frigwiggin whoa, when I read this post I did not anticipate that the end result would be an urgent desire to high five Will Smith...

PistolPackinMama

@give cheese some pants Right?

And yes, exactly.

meetapossum

@frigwiggin I would feel worse about my cat if he didn't take away my bodily autonomy all the time (especially when I'm trying to work on the computer).

KeLynn

@frigwiggin My dog recently passed away, and in the last few weeks there were a lot of unpleasant medications that she needed. Obviously I couldn't explain to her WHY I was shoving pills in her face and spraying her with medicines that stung, but obviously I had to keep doing it. Whenever she would see me pick up the bottle, she'd run the other way and my boyfriend and I would have to chase her down, basically pin her down, and force the medicine on her.

Every time, all I could think is that she must think I was a MONSTER and even though I knew that I was doing what was best for her, I felt so guilty every time. It's not like I was force-feeding her vegetables. I was causing her pain (mild pain I think, but still). I almost felt like I shouldn't be allowed to force her into it.

trappedinabay

@frigwiggin - After my cat walks across my face at 4 a.m., I'm not above purposefully interrupting her 4 p.m. nap. "OH! Oh, I'm sorry! Were you trying to SLEEP, fuzzylumpkins?"

Ophelia

@KeLynn This, right there, is why I just don't support things like chemotherapy for animals. I KNOW you love your snookums, but s/he doesn't understand what's happening, and DOES hurt from the treatment. (incidentally, on the pet front, I'm more willing to consider surgeries with high success rates that dramatically increase quality of life, since the pain/recovery would be far more brief).

frigwiggin

@KeLynn @Ophelia I'm so sad to hear about your dog, Kelynn. It's so hard when they don't understand! This is why my boyfriend and I have been hemming and hawing over whether to get our little cat's half-a-leg amputated. She hits the stump of the leg on things and screams from the pain pretty frequently, and as time goes on the weight of the dangling leg will affect her back (she's already going to have arthritis trouble as it is), but at the same time, the recovery process will probably be weird and painful for her and she won't understand what's going on. But I keep telling myself it WILL increase her quality of life in the long run (if the stump isn't there she can't hurt it), so I think we're going to go for it before she gets any older or bigger.

(Incidentally, Flat Tire HATES the vet and turns into a screaming, fighting, terrified and angry little monster, and it makes me feel so awful and distressed to know that I'm making her so unhappy every time we go to the vet. Like, it's not just a little hissing and moaning, she acts like she's fighting for her life. I hate having to put her through that. :( Especially since it takes her four or five days to recover emotionally and go back to normal.)

Ophelia

@frigwiggin Have you tried "composure"? It's basically an herbal refreshment (heh) for animals for stressful situations. We gave it to my dog when he had to fly to California - it doesn't dope them up, but it does lower their anxiety levels. Probably wouldn't be recommended before anesthesia, but my vet recommended it for general stressful stuff, and I imagine a routine vet visit might count for that? (my dog has been afraid of, in no particular order, subway grates, suitcases, men in hats, those metal plates that cover construction in the road, umbrellas, mail carts, other dogs, and balloons).

Ophelia

@KeLynn Oh, jeez, also, I just re-read my comment, and realized that it sounded like I was yelling at YOU about YOUR dog?? I totally wasn't! I think you probably were doing just what she needed, and if there's some sort of doggie afterlife, she's probably bragging to everyone else about you.

frigwiggin

@Ophelia No, I've never heard of that! Honestly, our current vet hasn't been so hot about Flat Tire's anxiety--like, everyone in the office just kind of stares at her and me like they've never dealt with such an upset animal before, when really, they must have, right? The vet wouldn't even examine her when I took her in for the amputation consultation, which meant that bringing her along turned out to be a needless stress. I should have asked her point-blank about anxiety management...but I'll check composure out, I'd like to try anything out. (Flat Tire hates pretty much everyone and everything besides me, my boyfriend, cooked broccoli, and lunchmeat, despite my attempts to socialize her. Ag.)

KeLynn

@Ophelia Don't worry, I didn't think you were attacking me at all! I totally agree about chemo (or other invasive/painful procedures that don't have a really good chance of working out in the end). For a living thing that a) doesn't understand cancer and looming death to begin with and b) didn't make the choice to put themselves through chemo and doesn't understand why they are going through that torture, I think the most loving thing to do is not put them through it. Quantity vs quality of life, you know? If an animal doesn't know she's going to die from cancer soon, then why not make the time they do have happier by keeping all that unnecessary pain out of it?

@frigwiggin - awwww poor Flat Tire! I know you weren't asking for input, but if it's a case like that where there would (I assume) be a pretty good chance of a healthy recovery and happy life afterward, I'd do it. With my dog, I put her through all that because no one at all expected that it was going to escalate and she would have to be put down. So I thought we'd get through it, get over it, and move on. If I had known it was the end, I wouldn't have put her through that. It doesn't sound like an amputation would be unnecessarily risky or cruel for Flat Tire, it sounds like something that would, in the end, save her from even more pain.

ETA: just saw your comment about the vet. WTF? Your vet sounds....unhelpful.

misskaz

@frigwiggin @KeLynn The way chemo was described as an option for my dog when she was diagnosed with lymphoma is that they don't give as high doses as they do for humans, precisely because dogs can't understand why they are suffering. So the goal is less "remission" and more "let's get a few more high quality of life years with as little suffering as possible". Not that the vet visits and such aren't stressful, but they aren't going super heavy with the toxic, bad-side-effect chemo drugs.

THAT SAID, I did not choose chemo for my 11.5-yr-old pooch and just managed her situation with milder drugs until it was time to say goodbye. Still the hardest thing that has ever happened in my admittedly sheltered life. Beans, you were the Queen. <3

LilyMarlene

@frigwiggin First, I love the name Flat Tire for a three-legged kitty, hahahaha. Second, Xanax for kitties, for real! Your vet may be able to prescribe a kitty-appropriate dose of Xanax she can take before doctor visits, which can cut down the drama enormously. I flew across the planet with my kitty peacefully wasted on Xanax the entire time, and my sister's cat (who freaks at the mere sight of his carrier, due to a traumatic surgical experience) becomes marginally manageable with a wee dot of the good stuff as well.

They make these little meat-flavoured pocket things you can tuck the pills into, which turns it into a double delight for kitty. And, if your vet doesn't have an on-site pharmacy, you can fill the prescription at your local human pharmacy, and hilarity will ensue. "Order for Fluffy Snugglemuffins McPrettyPants [yourlastname]?" "Yep, that's me."

Disclaimer: Much like in humans, Xanax can have a reverse effect and cause a cat to spaz out completely. We gave our other kitty the exact same dose of Xanax that maxed and relaxed International Jet-Setter Kitty before his most recent vet visit, and ended up having to cancel because we couldn't peel him off the ceiling in a timely fashion. So, YMMV, Ask Your Vet, etc.

MilesofMountains

@misskaz My parents had to make a similar choice about the family dog recently. They chose to go with the low side-effect chemo (Accutane, apparently) over radiation, and they took her to get put down as soon as she seemed to be in fairly continous, if low-level pain. They got a card from the vet afterwards, thanking them for being willing to put the dog's quality of life and prevention of suffering in front of wanting to keep her around longer. Maybe it sounds weird, but even though I wasn't able to say good bye to her, I get a lot of comfort that she apparently jumped into the car for her last trip, excited to go to the vet instead of in too much pain to be happy.

frigwiggin

@KeLynn I honestly DO appreciate the input, because although I feel pretty strongly that this is a good thing for her, I sometimes can't see past the parts that will cause her pain and want to chicken out. So it's nice to hear someone else say that it's the right thing to do!

@misskaz I had no idea about how you deal with pet cancer--this is really good information to have. Pourin' one out for Beans.

@LilyMarlene Cat Xanax??? Why did nobody tell me about this before? I bought some pill pockets a while back when we first adopted her and were giving her worm pills, and she snarfles those down but quick.

Other question to all in general: how do you change vets? I mean, I do like a lot of aspects of our current vet office, but I'm just not sure they're right for me (and Flat Tire). I don't know if I just stop making appointments, or if I need to, like, let them know? The protocol, I don't know the protocol for this! What do Real Adults do?

Ophelia

@frigwiggin I think you don't HAVE to tell them - you can make an appointment with a different vet, and just as New Vet to have Old Vet fax over the records. If they ask, you can just say that you were looking for an office that was different/closer/had more available appointments if you don't want to address the issue head-on.

parla

@MilesofMountains aw, that vet sounds really sweet. Your parents did the right thing. Incidentally, some dust just got in my eye.

Hellcat

@EVERYBODY I'm so sorry to hear about you guys' losses and the pets' health issues. Pets, man. But this discussion is so timely to me, and I'd love to pick your brains. I'm having some issues with my cat right now and don't know which path to take here. All of a sudden (and I'll try to be brief) just over a month ago, she began acting very weird in the following ways:

- a general unease and confusion.
- a lot of pacing (way more than usual, though we did always call her The Circler even before all this), and on and off and up and down on my lap every few minutes.
- walking right by her food dish when I put it down. Seriously, right past it like she can't see it. Yet she's walking at a normal pace, and she can see enough to pay with toys...
- randomly sitting in weird places (again, more so than is typical for a cat), like staring at a wall all Blair Witchlike.
- staring at my feet like she doesn't know what they are (and, hence, me tripping over her way more often than before).
- difficulty extricating herself from a corner, like if she walks behind a door or something.
- no longer gets on top of her cat tower (though she's doing OK with the couch, just very slow and deliberate).
- two random instances of pooping right in the middle of the living room floor (not a miss, as it was nowhere near the box at all--it was as if she forgot there even is a box).

Her general health and her vision are fine; I had the latter checked at a specialist. So, what I'm getting at is... do I see a neurologist? My regular vet is of the mind that, if she's not upset or in pain (appears not to be), and she is eating/sleeping/grooming/playing (she is), let her be a comfortable 11-year-old cat at home, and do not drag her all over hell in a handbag for exam after exam. Part of me agrees but part wants to exhaust all avenues to take care of her the best I can.

I suspect a stroke might have happened somehow, somewhere. Vet says, basically, so what?, though not at all in a mean way; I think his point is that all I (emphasis on "I") might get out of that is a confirmation of a stroke (which can't be undone anyway)... while the cat gets fasting, followed by unwanted car trips, followed by prodding, followed by meds (if anything can even be determined, that is).

Anyway... I was not brief. I'm sorry.

Hellcat

@Hellcat And now I am wondering if Xanax or something similar would be helpful in Peach's case...

OhShesArtsy

@Hellcat I'm sorry to hear about your cat. If it were my decision, I would not subject my cat to uneeded tests just to confirm something that would not better her quality of life. I understand why you want to know what happened to her but if the vet says she isn't in pain, I would let her go on in her confused state.

KeLynn

@Hellcat Awww I'm so sorry to hear your cat is having problems. I want to say it's just getting older (my dog did a lot of those same types of things when she got up in years) but 11 isn't super old for a cat, is it? Anyway, I'm kind of inclined to agree with your vet, I think. Because if there wouldn't really be a treatment option after the test, then it kind of doesn't matter whether you know or not.

@frigwiggin When I changed vets, I just went to my old vet and asked for a complete printout of her history/records, then brought that with me to the new vet. I didn't exactly tell the old vet I was leaving them, I just said I wanted a printout and then stopped making new appointments.

If a pet doesn't have health issues, I'd guess that just a vaccination record would be enough for the new vet. But if Flat Tire ever had X-rays, went on medication, etc., that would be good info for the new vet to have.

LilyMarlene

@frigwiggin Ohhhhhh yeah - though, my vet office was quite progressive with the psychotropic meds for pets ("Your cat is anxiety-spraying all over your house? Tuna-flavoured kitty Prozac!"), and every vet may not be on the same page. There's tons of internet stuff you can point your vet toward if they give you the side-eye when you ask for a Xanax prescription "for my cat".

Re. changing vets; what everyone else said. The old "I'm moving to another town/county/state and won't be close in an emergency" thing is usually a good excuse, if you don't want to get into it with them.

@Hellcat It's a tough call, isn't it? My mother-in-law's cat started behaving similarly a few years back. He would stare at walls for ages, meow constantly at nothing, stopped using the litterbox, got lost in the shower curtain and needed rescuing, and lots of other really odd behaviour (for him).

My MIL had concerns similar to yours and took him in to be worked up for everything under the sun. Her vet demurred on any invasive testing and said that older cats, much like humans, are prone to developing dementia in their senior years, and he was showing pretty classic signs of dementia rather than a stroke (which apparently is more likely to involve physical impairment, not just mental changes?). So, maybe that's a possibility for Peach? Or, was a blood workup or urinalysis part of her general health checkup? It may be worthwhile doing either/both if you haven't already, just to rule out some other latent, treatable problem that could be causing Peach to behave strangely.

Googling "cat dementia" turns up some pretty interesting stuff. (Virtual, boundary-respecting, permission-gained-first) hugs to you and Peach, and everyone else in this thread - older/disabled pets are the best. <3

Hellcat

@LilyMarlene @KeLynn @OhShesArtsy Dimentia sounds about right.It' s just all so crazy... and I really do, in many ways, agree with my beloved Dr. H! He tried to save me heartache and money a few years ago when my 17-year-old cat started going downhill. I, being the way I am, insisted on trying everything, even though Dr. H was not equipped to do the works himself, and he tried without coming right out and saying, "Forget it; it's not happening--prepare yourself," to "warn" me. In hindsight, I chose unwisely and feel terrible to this day, even though I sought all the treatment I could. So I am inclined to take him at his word even though 11 is not that old, and even though my instinct is to get to the bottom of it. However, she is more or less comfortable and happy enough, I guess. It's just so sad to see sometimes... but I guess that's me applying my emotions to the cat, maybe.

Oh, and Dr. H also tole me to stop Googling vet stuff, as he believes it makes me nuts. He is probably right... but that probably won't stop me. I have issues.

Megasus

I didn't like to hug my grandma when I was a kid either! It wasn't because I didn't like her, I just really didn't like to do it.

NeverOddOrEven

@Megano!
And for as much as everyone is willing to decry the empty gesture...? My parents were pretty rad and progressive (or absent, depending on how you look at it) but it's a damn shame they didn't get down with this.

ebizaleth

@Megano! My grandma is really really not touchy, and my sister and I have often discussed how we're not sure who hated the obligatory hug and kiss more, the person who didn't want to be hugged but had to be because it was her grandkids, or the grandkids hugging the person who didn't want to be hugged.

maybe partying will help

I will take this opportunity to thank my mom for not making me hug or kiss people when I was small. I was not a real cuddly child; I am a somewhat more cuddly adult, but man, Personal Space. For kids AND adults.

olivebee

@maybe partying will help I'm the same way as you. I was totally an un-cuddly child, and I'm still somewhat un-cuddly (unless it's animals or small children. I could hug them forever). Unlike you, my parents practically forced me to be affectionate to people, mostly them. And this might make me sound like a terrible person, but I don't enjoy kissing/touching my parents and I never have. My mom actually got insanely angry with me the last time I was home to visit, because we went to the restaurant she works at, and as we were walking in, she put her hand on the small of my back. I instinctively pulled away, and then she BLEW UP about how I embarrassed her in front of her co-workers. She fundamentally does not understand that I don't like touching other adults, even her.

Anyways, I REEEEEALLLLY like the author of the article and what she had to say. She is exactly right on point.

hotdog

@olivebee I get where you are coming and respect your feelings and all that, but oh my god, I will be the saddest mom in the whole world if I have kids who don't like cuddle with me. Add that to the list of things to be freaked out about having kids. I kind of want to go hug your mom. And then my own mom. But not my friend that works across from me, because he is not a hugger.

maybe partying will help

@hotdog

I can kinda see being concerned that your child is a psychopath if they're really not keen on hugging you (NOW REMEMBERING THAT ARTICLE ON HERE AWHILE BACK BLARGH). But it does seem like there should be different socialization expectations for little kids than the ones popularly in place in the US. Like, why WOULD a kid want to hug someone necessarily?

olivebee

@hotdog I totally understand that, too. I also hope that my kids one day want to cuddle with me (as I said before, I LOVE children). But I think I'd let them choose how affectionate they want to be with me when they are adults and are more aware of their own comfort level with personal space.

What I think makes this particular case a little different than just my general un-cuddliness is that I don't really get along with my parents, and in fact, spent 8th-12th grade in and out of therapy due to their general lack of parenting skills. So affection from them makes me super uneasy, even though they force it upon me.

hotdog

@olivebee oy, yeah, that's a little different. I'm not that into hugging on people who have put me through a little bit of hell, either.

SarahP

@maybe partying will help Me too! I didn't realize this was A Thing, and it makes me very grateful for my mother. (Then again, I was a really huggy child, so she probably never even had a chance to tell me to hug someone...)

maybe partying will help

@SarahP

My most vivid hug-related memory from childhood was being VERY tiny (pre preschool age) and running up to a circle of ladies talking, of which my mom was one, and hugging the wrong set of legs. Like, I looked up and was like, WHO IS THIS WOMAN THIS IS NOT MY MOM. I wonder if that put me off hugging for a while.

I am better now. I will hug all up on you if you are a close friend. Or my gent. But the whole we-have-just-met-now-let-us-swap-deodorant thing, I don't really get.

fabel

@maybe partying will help Same here! I didn't like to hug anyone, even family members, & my mom never encouraged me to (which was good) I'm not touch-averse now, so it obviously didn't ruin me for life!

NeverOddOrEven

@maybe partying will help
It's probably the fact that I was just PMSy, but I've been really pissed at our culture as a whole lately. Especially when it comes to socializing children.

"Touch and be touched regardless of your personal feelings!"
"Clean your plate, I don't care if you're full or dont like it!"
"Some food is Bad, but use it as a personal reward!"
"Sex is what created you, and you possibly came from a vagina, but everything about it is Bad and not to be verbalized!"
"Jesus loves everyone and wants you to do the same! Just not anyone who's to different than you! Then you should be suspicious!"
"Also, take this whole Jesus thing at face value! It all kinda falls apart with logic, so logic is Bad!"

billie_crusoe

@maybe partying will help I got SO.MUCH.SHIT. from my family (especially my mom's dad, who I adored, but was maybe the most social person EVER) for being a shy kid. Because, sure, shaming me for hiding / being too shy to talk to strangers is TOTALLY going to make me less shy. I may have residual anger about this, but, shit, man. The last thing a shy kid needs is to feel embarrassed about being shy.

Maybe this is why I like living in New England >>> living in the south.

wee_ramekin

@che Ha! My Texan born-and-raised friend dreams constantly about moving to NYC, in part because she adores the Northern concept of personal space. She HATES to be hugged (I don't think I have ever hugged her, and we've been friends for...five years now?), and everyone is always acquaintance-hugging her and it makes her really uncomfortable. In fact, often when I am with her and someone makes a motion to hug her, I'll make an ass of myself and be like "DON'T HUG HER SHE PREFERS HIGH-FIVES", since she can sometimes get easily flustered with folks she doesn't know even without forced contact.

I feel like I'm in an ambiguous place with the hugging. I don't hate it, but I am really not fond of the "hug goodbye" or "hug hello" sort of thing. Maybe it's because I am buxom; I don't like smooshing my tetas against a person I'm not at least sort of sexually attracted to, and to avoid doing that, I end up giving the awkward A-shaped hug. But I DO like to hug my family, and I have certain friends who I will embrace and do the looooooooooooong I-am-gaining-actual-emotional-sustenance-from-this-hug bit. Moreover, since I am pretty outgoing, people assume that I am huggy, and I feel like they get butt-hurt if I don't hug them. #firstworldproblems

maybe partying will help

@che

I think that Florida, my home state, is the perfect state because it's warm but everyone is unfriendly because it's full of northerners. I miss you, Florida, everyone in Ohio is too friendly.

shantasybaby

@maybe partying will help People in the comments on the original article were like "no one makes people hug in my family!" and I was like "I guess none of y'all are from Texas!" Obviously not true for everyone (my dad's side of the family is all from Texas and not huggy) but my mom's side? Lots of forced hugs! I've come around to it and find it funny mostly (Aunt Janie has been known as simply The Hugger and I love her so much) but I totally agree with the article, I was an awkard kid (and adult) and have never loved excessive hug obligations.

Xanthophyllippa

@wee_ramekin A few years ago I went to a potluck at the house of a friend and her husband, both of whom were huggy, and I'm really not. I arrived at the same time as another friend, who said to Husband, "I'd hug you, but my hands are full." He laughed (as she proceeded to the dining room to put the salad on the table) and turned to me; I said, breezily, "I'd hug you but I'm anti-social and don't like being touched," and sailed right on past him.

(Fortunately, everyone laughed at that too.)

OhShesArtsy

@shantasybaby I always feel awkward about the body autonomy thing simply because, as a friendly and polite Southerner, hugs are just a social custom like shaking hands or saying, "nice to meet you!" BUT I am also not a touchy person and HATED forced hugs and am philosophically against them?

Seriously, though, the worst things someone could call me is rude and unfriendly. Tennessee, y'all, it's weird here.

werewolfbarmitzvah

Some of us are just not big on the touchin'. It's nothing personal at all, but in social situations when I suddenly become aware that a friend or acquaintance is about to hug me, time slows down and my brain goes, "No...nooo...NOOOOOOOOOOO..." and then they hug me and I turn into peanut brittle.

Lily Rowan

@werewolfbarmitzvah Oh lord. Recently my boss was hugging me and, mid-hug, asked if I'm a hugger and I had to answer no. I mean, I'm willing, but not into it at all.

Also I believe this is why little kids like me -- I don't need to force them to talk to me, much less hug. We can interact when they want to.

MilesofMountains

@werewolfbarmitzvah Why do people always make such a big deal if you say you're not a hugger? I've had people then go out of their way to hug me (thanks, jerk) or decide that I am made of tissue paper and cannot be touched at all. I don't mind people shaking my hand or touching my shoulder to get my attention, I just don't want them pressing their bodies all up against mine unless I know them well! Why is that so difficult?

applestoapples

@werewolfbarmitzvah I've always had a weird anxiety about hugs. No matter how much I love a person, the feeling of being hugged leaves me with this very odd sense of my universe being thrown out of whack. I probably just have Larry David issues, but I'm getting better at the occasional hug as long as I have advance notice.

Helvetica

@Lily Rowan No to unsolicited hugs and yes to people respecting other people's personal boundaries. I also believe kids like me for the same reason - the more you ignore them or just quietly accept their presence, not force them to interact, the more likely it is they will want to spend time with you and not run away.

beanie

@applestoapples & everyone else in this thread: you are my people. My people who have anxiety about hugging and feeling awkward. My whole family thinks its hilarious and knows that when we walk into a relatives house I am dreading the hugging en masse that is about to happen.

When I tried on a wedding dress the consultant said "oh, the sleeves might make it hard for you to hug people," and I told her that was a plus.

swirrlygrrl

@werewolfbarmitzvah *Hahahaha* It's not that bad for me, but I'm also not a hugger. I tend to have a few guidelines that indicate when I'm comfortable hugging people:

1) Are we related? (Note: I generally really like all my relatives.)
2) Have we known each other for 5 or more years? (If you've been in my life that long, given how my life has been, chances are we're pretty close.)
3) Have you seen me naked? (On purpose. Mostly former lovers.)
4) Did something really wonderful or terrible just happen? (Weddings, funerals, new babies, new divorces all mean I'm willing to offer a hug if it might show you I care. Also, I tend to blubber and be awkward in expressing my feelings otherwise.)

probably 70% of my hugs come from those people who I like enough to chat with/hang out with casually, but don't know well enough to say "you know, I'm really not a hugger" to. I still adore one friend who said he realized we'd broken a friendship barrier when I felt comfortable enough to tell him I didn't want to hug him. He knew it was a sign of how much I liked and trusted him to tell him that boundary.

Also, work is not a place for hugging in my opinion. And neither is greeting/departing from an event in which you see everyone regularly. I just saw you last week! There is no reason to hug!!! (Unless you are a hugger and are sure everyone else is. Then go crazy. Hug 60 times a day if that makes you feel good, and you can fit it in your schedule.)

Onymous

@werewolfbarmitzvah and when you're like "no hugs please" THEY get pissed like you're violating them somehow.

SarahP

@werewolfbarmitzvah Before I hug someone for the first time, I ask "do we hug?" and sometimes I get made fun of for it, but I will always ask! Because of people like you guys!

Lily Rowan

@swirrlygrrl Exactly what you said! I hug my great friends when we don't see each other often, but not when we do! And also my family.

werewolfbarmitzvah

@swirrlygrrl Yeah, this list sounds exactly right to me. (Though I'm kinda inconsistent with the relatives rule: I'm comfortable hugging my grandparents, but oddly I feel ill at ease when hugging my parents - does this indicate an intriguing psychological issue on my part???)

And I don't really begrudge anyone for being a hugger (if anything, I'm the weirdo glacier lady for being so anti-touching), but whenever some vague acquaintance moves in for a hug I feel like I'm getting a shot at the doctor's office. "Juuuuuuust...hold...still for a second!"

cosmia

@werewolfbarmitzvah I've gotten a little better at giving hugs but I am mostly NOT a touchy-feely hugger person at all. I try! I gave one of my favourite instructors a hug before winter break last year and she was like "You're really terrible at giving hugs, aren't you?", but in a nice way. I DON'T HAVE A LOT OF PRACTICE, THIS IS VERY HARD FOR ME AS IT IS. I come from a very over-emotional Italian family, so I am considered weird, but my family never pushed me to hug people and even now they still don't mind and mostly just react with like a "LOL ISN'T SHE WEIRD AWW" attitude.

NeverOddOrEven

@Lily Rowan
Kids are so easy once you just start treating and talking to them like they're people and not pets.

Faintly Macabre

@werewolfbarmitzvah It's so awkward!! Whenever someone I don't know really, really well looks like they might be about to hug me, I stiffen up and start backing away. Even if I like them! It's especially awkward if they're a work superior or a first date. I don't even really hug my parents or my sister, and my sister is the same way. The only things I ever want to hug are my adorable grandma and my dog. My poor father is touchy-feely, though, and has suffered having two glaciers for daughters.

billie_crusoe

@werewolfbarmitzvah OH MY GOD, I had a therapist for 6 months-ish, and I decided it wasn't working, so I went to one last appointment to call things off. At the end, I stuck out my hand to shake hands, and SHE HUGGED ME, and I thought, "THIS. THIS is the embodiment of why this was not a good therapy relationship." I mean, shit, isn't part of therapist-training about learning body signals and stuff? AGH.

I used to hug a lot, but as I've gotten more comfortable with my own boundaries / need other people's approval less, I am really not so touchy.* I will cuddle the fuck out of my significant other, but otherwise, eh, no thanks. (*I do not mean that everyone who likes hugs has these problems, I just did.)

swirrlygrrl

@che Good on you for breaking up with the therapist who wasn't working. And, yeah, that was total reinforcement of the rightness of that move.

Devushka

@Onymous I know! I currently work in a place where *everyone* must touch and cuddle and hug *all the time* and the three of us who don't like to are constantly being forced into it (okay, maybe it's not all the time, but it feels that way to me!) and made to feel weird for not liking to touch coworkers.

mc coolfriend

@MilesofMountains Ugh one time I met this really over-familiar girl who decided that we had so much in common b/c I had just told her boyfriend to leave his weird friends in the car and not to bring people to my house uninvited and SHE totally tells it like it is too! And also (of course. Of fucking course) she just really didn't get along w/most other girls and couldn't stand fake people and drama b/c she was just so realistically really freakin' real you know? But anyways, after I so super awesomely stated how it was she was like "Yeah, ride or die! Give me a hug girl!" and the LEAST uncomfortable option I could think of was to be like "oh, no thank you." But then instead of (well, really on top of) feeling uncomfortable I felt annoyed b/c why did I have to feel uncomfortable about someone ELSE'S uncomfortable boundary jumping behavior?

Bebinn

@Helvetica Children are like cats, basically.

Vera Knoop

@NeverOddOrEven Except that's totally how to make cats like you, too.

NeverOddOrEven

@Vera Knoop
True, true.
I was thinking more along the talking lines though. I've made a concerted effort the last few years to not pander to and talk down to kids of any age. Once you talk to them like peers it's amazing how they open up.
It's also amazing how quickly we forget what it's like to be that age - namely, that they're far more aware, intelligent, and capable than we give them credit for.

Kids! They're people too!

Vera Knoop

@NeverOddOrEven I was just being silly; I totally agree. This is how I treat kids, because that's how my favorite adults treated me when I was one.

NeverOddOrEven

@Vera Knoop
Oh, I know. I didn't take it as flippant or anything, I'm a just a little soapbox-happy lately.

Porn Peddler

I still hate hugs and still have trouble properly refusing them and mitigating unwanted physical contact (not of the abuse-y kind, but of the "IMMA TOUCH YOUR ARM WHILE TALKING OR WHATEVAAAA" kind that people who are touchy-feely do...). I really REALLY wish my parents had been big on letting me enforce physical boundaries.

KeLynn

@Porn Peddler AHHHH the arm touch! What is up with that! I don't want you to touch my arm. Even if you're my parents or my grandma. Unless you're my boyfriend. And I have no idea how to communicate that. I usually suddenly have a pressing need for something in my purse.

EpWs

@Porn Peddler THE ARM TOUCH. Why, with the customers at my last retail job? WHY THE ARM TOUCH. Not okay.

frigwiggin

I love consensual hugs (I will consensually hug the heck out of you), but I DO NOT like it when people just touch me without warning. Like when a coworker came up and said something about my shirt and then put her hand on my shoulder to, I dunno, feel it or something! Not okay, please!

frigwiggin

@frigwiggin Because of this, I try to be super-respectful of other people's personal space, which sometimes leads to weird situations--one time during the last few weeks of high school, I spent like five minutes trying to get the attention of an acquaintance to let her know her shirt tag was sticking up or something (it seemed important at the time!) and when she finally caught on, she was like, "oh, why didn't you just take care of it for me?"

This same thing did end up leading to me feeling a deficit of touch in college, because I didn't want to get all up in my friends' space. I guess communication was the ticket there, but it's hard for adults to talk about basic touching! Platonic touching.

parla

@frigwiggin nooo! I have a friend that is like that and always touches the article of clothing she is complimenting. I feel bad swatting her hands away, but please....stop with the touching! Use your eyes!

soul toast

@frigwiggin Ugh, the feeling of someone tucking in my shirt tag without warning is so creepy!

My level of touching is usually catered to the group I'm spending all my time with. My friends in high school were a super huggy bunch, so I went with it. But my friends in high school just didn't hug. It made me miss hugging a little, but it was fine.

soul toast

@contrary I almost said this to my dentist last year. (Look with your eyes!!!) He noticed my tattoos for the first time and started RUBBING them. Who does that? They aren't scratch and sniff!

NeverOddOrEven

@frigwiggin
Oooh, I'm not really a toucher (maybe out of percieved obligation?) but I can't help pulling off the loose hairs that stick to the back of long-haired people's shirts. Even strangers.
I only do it if I can avoid making actual contact with the person, though, and just grab the hair.

Am I a creeper?

beanie

@frigwiggin I have never been pregnant, so I am speaking from zero experience, but whenever I see someone besides the father of the child touch the pregnant lady's stomach...I physically recoil. That is a oh-no-no. This concludes another episode of "Things Beanie Does Not Like".

parla

@soul toast this happens to me too! I have some very large tattoos on my legs/thighs that people usually don't get to see because of pants/tights. People take summertime dress wearing as an invitation to touch and I don't get it. I was walking down the street one day in shorts and this random guy sitting on his stoop reached out and grabbed my leg with both of his hands because he "had never touched tattooed skin." I am still upset by it.

When I first started getting tattoos my mom really wanted to touch them whenever she saw me, but I could kind of understand it because she doesn't have any. Also, she asked first! I usually said no anyway.

Scandyhoovian

@beanie ME TOO. I am of the firm belief that unless you helped me make my baby or you are the woman that birthed me, you don't get to touch my pregnant belly without asking me first. I'm uncomfortable enough with touching from people I don't know well as a person who hasn't yet been pregnant, so I can only imagine the discomfort and hormones that come with pregnancy making me even LESS kind about it than I already am.

yeah-elle

@contrary I am so sorry about that guy touching your leg. Super disrespectful and not okay. :( The same thing happened while I was at work with a male customer lifting the sleeve up on my t-shirt to get a better look at my arm tattoo and honestly, it left me so shaken that I nearly cried in the back room.

soul toast

@contrary That's so creepy. This guy didn't notice my leg tattoo and just fondled my arms (lifting up my sleeve to touch my shoulder). Why do people think it's ok to grab someone? Especially by your leg?
Tattooed skin feels just like normal skin, unless it's fresh and scabbing. In which case, thanks for the potential infection, right?

soul toast

@Scandyhoovian I am so worried about this. I'm pregnant, but still not visibly so. I just can't wait to see how people treat the tattooed pregnant lady in a few months.

frigwiggin

@contrary @yeah-elle

A teenager did this to me the day I got my tattoo! We sat down with some of my friend's dad's students at a soccer game a few hours after I'd gotten it done, when I felt this stab of pain on my shoulderblade and turned around to see one of the kids leaning forward, poking it. Then he asked me why I'd gotten it. I very curtly told him to knock it off because it hurt. What the hell, dumbass.

Faintly Macabre

@frigwiggin Oh ho ho, be glad that you don't have very curly hair, then! I can't count the people--people I barely knew--who thought it was totally okay, even cute, to reach out and yank on a ringlet. Luckily as I have gotten taller and solidified into an ice queen, it happens less than it did when I was younger.

GoToaster

@frigwiggin I had one of my big toenails permanently removed in high school. Nail beds are LOADED with nerve endings so stubbing or bumping my toe during the healing process was really painful. Shortly after the procedure, some friends and I were standing in line somewhere, chatting away, when I suddenly yelped in pain. My little brother, who was with us, had crouched down and poked my bandage because he was genuinely curious as to what would happen. "What the hell did you think was going to happen!?" Who pokes a fresh wound?

JessicaLovejoy

Forcing kids to kiss people is a recipe for three faces!

TheAlbondigasBar

I was raised in a traditional Mexican household and a lot of emphasis is put on properly greeting and sending off guests. It usually involves hugging, cheek kisses and/or handshakes. Personally, it felt very awkward to me and I resorted to verbal acknowledgments instead. It's considered anti-social and my mother still lectures my adult self constantly on this matter. Perhaps the reason for me being this way is due to being born and raised in the US with our much smaller area of personal space. I don't know. I just wish my family understood that I love and adore them and am always happy to see them but I HATE the whole which-cheek-to-kiss?-did-it-too-fast-banged-faces-ugh-my-palms-are-sweaty-wipe-casually-on-pants-handshake-or-hug?-weird-one-armed-hug.

H.E. Ladypants

@njellybean I used to work for people from the Balkans. In the Balkans you kiss two or three times on the cheek, depending on which region.

I was always sort of amused at how this felt totally violating to my American self, whereas a hug was just way uncomfortable for them.

This also led to some awkward "crap, do we kiss or hug" moments when I'd run into old co-workers I was fond of but those were mostly hilarious.

Also, I started warning people when I was really happy (like if it was my birthday or something.) "I'm an American! We hug."

LinaLamont

On the sidebar is a list of today's top articles. So weird that right under this one about not owning your daugher's body is another one called, "Ohio woman charged for prostituting daugher." Gross.

idkmybffjill

Brava to this woman, from those of us with no desire to have your sticky, smelly toddler forced on us.

My ex-boyfriend's brother and sister-in-law used to insist that their kids give me a KISS on my FACE every time we left their house. And we didn't live in the same state so I saw these kids basically once a year, meaning they had no clue who I was. She'd hold a child up to my face and implore him to kiss me as I was trying to do a running back spin move out the door. It was like trying to push two magnets together.

Your kid wants to kiss a near stranger as much as I want his slobbery face anywhere near me.

billie_crusoe

@idkmybffjill I was sad one day while I was visiting my friend, and she told her DOG to give me a hug. I was like, fuck no, lady, I don't even like to touch dogs (allergies + drool, sorry dog-lovers!) and I sure as hell don't want them sitting in my lap. EW EW EW. (I don't have many friends with kids yet, so thank goodness for that. Snot! Ew!)

noodge

everyone do yourselves a favor: don't read the comments for this article :-(

frigwiggin

@teenie Nooooo why did you saayyyyyyy that. I am like a moth to the flame of Bad Internet Feelings. :(

Scandyhoovian

@teenie oh my god NEVER READ CNN COMMENTS EVER. The only places I've seen with worse comments sections are local bible belt news outlets and Fox News. BLahrrhhghhhh.

wharrgarbl

@teenie Don't read the comments [anywhere else], I think you mean. Just never, ever.

Scandyhoovian

@wharrgarbl Actually the more I think about it the more I think the only place the comments are worth reading is here at the 'pin.

parallel-lines

@teenie They can't be anywhere near as bad as US Magazine article comments, which I sometimes read to feel better about myself.

WhiskeySour

@wharrgarbl I completely agree. Does anyone know how the 'Pin manages it? For a pretty big website (yesterday's magic commenting numbers indicated somewhere around 20,000 registered commenters) there is a notable lack of awful. Is there a secret society of moderators who never sleep?

Nicole Cliffe

No! I have never deleted a non-spam comment. You guys are just...civil.

WhiskeySour

@Nicole Cliffe That's amazing. Go Hairpin!

Nicole Cliffe

Oh, and I am firmly Team No (Forced) Touching.

Megasus

@teenie I want to look, but I don't want to look. Is it full of attachment parents?

noodge

@Megano! ...more like angry (sounds like?) men, convinced that not forcing children to hug/kiss people is going to be the end of civilization as we know it, ie: "this is why we have this spoiled generation who turn up their noses at honest work and live off the government" type of stuff

noodge

@Megano! you know the scene in "bridesmaids" when Kristin Wiig is doing the engagement party toast and it's getting competitive with Rose Byrne, and Kristin Wiig is trying to communicate with "just a look" and she says her friend's name, and then just stares at her? that's how I'm reading your glitch comment hahahahaha, it's making my afternoon happy.

redheaded&crazy

@teenie best interpretation.

wee_ramekin

@teenie I TOTALLY FEEL LIKE IT'S TEH MENZ on that thread who are getting super butt-hurt about parents not making their kids hug people. I've seen a couple of female commenters who are like "I identify with this, because I hate that men often get a handshake or a shoulder thump from acquaintances, but women usually get a hug". And I thought about it, and realized....she's right!

noodge

@wee_ramekin

parallel-lines

Minnesotans don't hug. Not even that three feet away back patting hug. Maybe with family once a year but really, no more than that, and definitely not with strangers.

(inches back slowly, crosses arms, frowns)

olivebee

@parallel-lines That's so funny because the stereotype for Minnesotans is "so nice!" As in Minnesota Nice. I just picture all Minnesotans hugging each other for accomplishing the smallest task. "Congrats on taking out the trash, here's a hug!"

parallel-lines

@olivebee It's more of a passive aggressive nice http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minnesota_nice

TheUnchosenOne

@olivebee "Minnesota Nice" is how, well, Minnesotans say "super passive aggressive." It is not actually very nice at all!

I say this as someone who grew up in Illinois and now lives in Wisconsin. It is same all over the Midwest.

EDIT: Should've refreshed first, I see.

Onymous

@parallel-lines >Minnesotans don't hug.

Minnesotans, is this really true? because that sounds a bit like paradise.

parallel-lines

@Onymous I guess sometimes, and in my case, usually with immediate family or really really close friends, but it's rarely a super close hug. There is room for Jesus, the holy ghost and his 50 best friends in that space between.

Maven

@parallel-lines Uh, I'm a lifelong Minneapolis resident and my peoples are huggers. Verbally and physically affectionate, family and friends alike. I like it.

NeverOddOrEven

@Onymous
Not true at all! Born and raised Minnesotan here, and born and raised in a very huggy family.
Plus, I've met way too many people in my time who want to hug before we've barely spoken a sentence to each other to agree with this.

cosmia

@parallel-lines I know nothing about Minnesota except for what I've learned from Fargo, and now I'm trying to remember if Marge Gundersson hugs anyone.

Scandyhoovian

As someone who was mind-numbingly terrified of her own grandfather for all of early childhood (he was like a stranger to me, we only saw him once every 3 years or so and he spoke a different language), I'm really glad he or my parents didn't force me to hug him. I love him now and hug him whenever I get a chance, but man, as a kid? I'm pretty sure it would have traumatized me.

mouthalmighty

My family is big on getting all up your personal space. It doesn't bother me so much because I'm a fairly physical person; maybe as a child it did, I don't recall (the exception was affection towards my mother's many men; I was vocal about that and it was accepted without much fanfare).

That said, any time I visit home and meet a new addition to the family, it's almost always by having some young child shoved into my arms with the squeal of "give auntie a kiss!" These are kids who don't know me/have never met me - and I always feel really bad, but don't actually know what to do about it? I give regular lectures on enough topics with my family and this one seems like it could stir up some real shit if broached without enough caution. I usually resort to letting kids go if they squirm or asking if they want me to put them down, but since most of them are not at the talking age, that always feels fruitless. Mostly I'm just like: sorry our family sucks, kid! When you start talking, I won't let them shove you at me or vice versa.

mouthalmighty

@mouthalmighty: (But if you want a hug, I AM ALL OVER THAT.)

okaycrochet

I was at a lingerie shower about 6 months ago, and we ladies be drinkin', and somehow we got on the topic of touching people, and I told everyone how I don't like it when I am taking my leave from a group of people that is a mixture of acquaintances and close friends, because I hug my friends bye and then THAT THING WHERE YOU HAVE TO HUG ACQUAINTANCES HAPPENS and it's painful to the max.
Suffice it to say, I was at another lingerie shower with the same-ish crowd last month, and I was sort of treated like I had leprosy when it was time to go? I was like WAIT NOW THIS TRANSITION WHERE I LEAVE IS EVEN MORE PAINFUL BECAUSE THIS SHIT JUST GOT SELF-AWARE and I think all the acquaintance ladies hate me now.

beanie

@okaycrochet the acquaintance hug is the worst! I always try to duck out of it because obviously it's weird.

parallel-lines

@okaycrochet I have never been to/heard of a lingerie shower--this is a thing more than once?

maybe partying will help

@parallel-lines

I remember reading about a lingerie shower in one of the Alice books by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor and being quite scandalized. What's a teddy?? 12-year-old me cried.

JessicaLovejoy

@parallel-lines Seriously! I'm suddenly paranoid that there are all sorts of showers I'm not getting invited to.:(

SarahP

@okaycrochet I have a friend who solves this by, whenever she suspects someone is going to go for a hug, holding out her fist and saying "I do fistbumps instead of hugs!" I love it.

PistolPackinMama

@okaycrochet I expect they were probably thinking "oh yeah. She's the one who isn't into hugs. Cool... oh. Does she do fistbumps? What does she like? Huh, guess I will err on the side of not getting in her space."

But like, over the course of three seconds.

I suggest this because I am a very huggy person and when I someone doesn't like being touched, that is what I do.

The thought of leprosy never ever crosses my mind, nor hating people for not liking being touched. It's a hug, not labor justice for migrant workers. Whatever people want is just fine.

parallel-lines

@JessicaLovejoy someone needs to tell me exactly how many kinds of showers there are and they need to tell me NOW!

hotdog

@PistolPackinMama yeah, this-they probably don't hate her, but they probably also don't want to offend her, so...I mean, what does she want them to do? Everyone else wants to hug, you don't. They didn't exclude you, you excluded you because it makes you more comfortable that way, but now you're less comfortable? I'm not sure of what these acquaintances are supposed to do?

PistolPackinMama

@parallel-lines Do you have the correct security clearance and the forms signed in triplicate? Because without that, I am sorry but I cannot release that information to you.

(Also, I don't know)

@hotdog I dunno? I guess I usually do the hug ritual and then do a verbal thanks a whole lot nice to meet you yay friends what a cool top thing somewhere in there or after? I suppose if a person declares a boundary I am going to wait to see how they handle managing the boundary?

It's NBD or anything, though.

I expect like a lot of self conscious moments, it is a thing where it feels more significant to you than it is to someone else. You know, brains make thoughts etc etc.

Ophelia

@parallel-lines And if this is a foolproof way to avoid them all, I want to know, stat!

okaycrochet

@parallel-lines Ah, the lingerie shower. Typically hosted by a maid-of-honor/bridesmaid, only youngish ladies are invited. All of the gifts are sex-related, mostly wearable. It's like a bachelorette party with gifts? And you are in someone's house?
This may not be across the board, but in my personal experience, lingerie showers are more commonly for women who are not sexually active with their partner before marriage. The assumption is they probably don't have any lingerie (whether it's true or not), so the ladies get together and give her a sexytimes wardrobe. And the bride makes a killing. It's impressive.

maybe partying will help

@okaycrochet

Oh my lord, I just remembered that when I was a teenager, I went to a Mormon lingerie shower for a woman in my congregation who was getting married. Awkkkkkward.

okaycrochet

@maybe partying will help I have never been to anything so exquisite as a Mormon lingerie shower. That sounds like the perfect storm of... something awesome and something awkward.

parallel-lines

@okaycrochet God dammit, did I slut myself out of getting a bunch of free undies. ARGH!!!

maybe partying will help

@okaycrochet

My two favorite Young Women leaders definitely put on various articles of lingerie over their regular clothing and paraded around the house. I wasn't ACTUALLY supposed to be there, but come on, you host a lingerie party at a house where there are like five fourteen-year-old girls, they're going to be peeping around corners.

beanie

@parallel-lines we had one for my friend who was having a baby/getting married. Pregnancy lingerie=lots of babydolls.

superfluous consonants

@beanie this seems sort of related to the gendered hug-vs-handshake experience i've been having lately. most of my husband's friends, upon taking their leave, will shake my husband's hand, then HUG (and sometimes kiss) me. men all across the acquaintance-to-basically-family spectrum. it's like...what? He's your friend; why do I get the hug?

anachronistique

@SarahP Can we start doing Fistbumps of Greeting at the Boston Pinups?

SarahP

@anachronistique The new hairpin signal: holding out your fist anytime someone is coming close enough that they might hug you.

hotdog

These comments are depressing the hells out of me; where are all the ladies who love to hug and grab their friends' hands and kiss their moms and hold the babies that drool on them?? Touch! It's great! I love touching friends, lovers, acquaintances, and sometimes-gasp-strangers. I try to be respectful of all those who don't want me to touch/hug them, and am usually a pretty good reader of body language, but yeah, I'll probably be closer to my friends who feel the same-I don't want to worry I've offended someone close to me by touching their shoulder.

And touch-it's important! http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/23/health/23mind.html

So yeah, hug me the first time we meet, give me a high five whenever you want, shake my hand and hold it too long, kiss me on the cheek and give me all your germs. I'll be mentally healthy and have a great immune system to boot.

I was also a super-shy kid who was forced to kiss strange aunts and uncles...it made me into an outgoing person who loves to kiss their aunts and uncles and I definitely get great joy out of those changes. I get that it doesn't work that way for everyone, though.

mouthalmighty

@hotdog: I love hugs, too! I don't even mind when (most) random strangers touch me (except my hair; please get your fingers out of my 'fro if I don't know you!). I am touchy-feely, period and I enjoy that in others!

But it's a hard line to walk, with kids and giving them autonomy as actual human beings. I can appreciate caution in that area.

TheAlbondigasBar

@hotdog See, the problem for me was the forcing part. It made me so angry even as a little kid that I couldn't do what I wanted with my own body. And then it felt all weird and fake. Maybe if my parents had given me the choice between hugging/touching and verbal greetings/farewells, I could have grown to enjoy the whole dance because it would have been a natural expression from ME. I hope that makes sense.

parallel-lines

@hotdog The thought of a stranger touching me makes me want to throw up. It's really upsetting and even if it's kindly intended it still makes me feel horrible--I don't want people I don't know in my space for personal reasons that a stranger may not know (being abused, being raped, being assaulted and robbed). I know you mean well, but proceed with caution on that one--I have been touched by strangers too many times to count and even if they are well intended, it's really inappropriate and can make someone really uncomfortable and unhappy.

hotdog

@parallel-lines yeah, reading body language, like I mentioned. I get that some people don't want to be touched, and I can't actually say I've ever touched a stranger without their making the move first-if only because I do know people who aren't touchy. Here's something though: how do you ride the bus/subway? Genuinely wondering.

parallel-lines

@hotdog Yes--but I don't ride it during really crowded peak hours and I won't live off a train line where the trains are really extra crowded (like the L) because being touched unintentionally by strangers for an extended period of time gives me a panic attack. I intentionally move to areas of the platform where I know the car will be less crowded, and if it's a packed train I'll wait as until another train comes along that I won't have to be touching someone. Even those bumps are kind of trying, I really don't like it but I deal to the extent I can.
I'm sure people think that may be weird, but it's the result of some really terrible things that have happened in my life.

meetapossum

@hotdog Phew. I'm a toucher, too! I feel bad reading a lot of this comments, because sometimes I just touch someone on the arm or hug after first meeting them. Sorry, everyone! I'll try to be more conscious of people's personal space, but also feel free to tell me if you don't want to be hugged. My friend's roommate did not tell me this when I met her and I had to find out from my friend that she didn't like to be hugged. Please tell me! I won't be offended, and it will prevent me for going for the hug next time.

redheaded&crazy

@hotdog I genuinely wonder how ANYBODY rides the bus/subway (I mean, I ride it all the time but still). Nothing makes me grumpier than fellow public transit folks getting all up in my grill. People are so pushy! And then I get pushy back, and oh lord then the gloves come off and suddenly you're sitting in the back of a cop car wearing handcuffs hoping you don't end up with a restraining order against the entire public transit system.

LeafySeaDragon

@hotdog i love to hold and cuddle all kids. i like when other people want to hug, but other than when it's instigated by another i don't.

teebs

@hotdog I love hugging, but I love to have a choice in it! I don;t like when I'm feeling forced to hug or kiss anyone.
And strangers come up to me a lot and touch me because I have really curly hair. Older ladies love to come up to me and touch my hair and ask me if it's a perm. I have a hard time asking them not to touch me.

Basically, yes I LOVE to hug and cuddle, especially with babies. But it needs to be consensual!

NeverOddOrEven

@hotdog
I'm sure we're all getting enough physical contact from the people we are comfortable and intimate with. It's just the assumed intimacy that's the issue here.

NeenerNeener

Sooo, no hugs at Pinups, is what I'm getting.

SarahP

@NeenerNeener I am seriously worried I've hugged the wrong people. Even though I usually ask.
MAYBE THEY WERE HUGGING ME JUST TO BE POLITE AND DIDN'T WANT TO
NOW IT'S WEIRD

NeenerNeener

@SarahP I know!
Actually, I have confirmation of just that in the comments of this post :/

Lily Rowan

FTR, I am WILLING to hug, I just wouldn't choose it most of the time. I have a long-term professional-acquaintance-not-quite-friend who I always shake hands with, and love it.

TheAlbondigasBar

@NeenerNeener I think it's more about asking before you invade someone's personal space. I'm actually a very affectionate person. Just protective of my body and my autonomy.

hotdog

@NeenerNeener what a BUMMER that is. Makes me not even want to attend.

NeenerNeener

@Lily Rowan: I know, I know, I could tell. And your comment didn't make me feel awkward or anything - it just made me be like, "Next time, she gets a hug." Because I'm a jerk and I think like that.

@njellybean: I like to think I'm not so oblivious to people's body language that I would insist on a hug if it really made them uncomfortable.

@hotdog: It's not all that bad :)

hotdog

@hotdog I should clarify: it's a bummer that you have confirmation of that from this post and not in real life. It sucks to feel like you've offended someone, but they didn't tell you, and you have to find out in a forum where they're talking about how much they hate something you know you did.

redheaded&crazy

@hotdog i guess it's somewhat better than never finding out and continuing to engage in the behaviour ad nauseum? :S

NeenerNeener

@hotdog: I was mostly kidding around - I have hugged Lily Rowan, and she did say she wasn't into hugs above, but it wasn't like she said, "I hate when people hug me!" So, it didn't really bother me, I just thought it was funny. So, I guess my original reply stands: It's not all that bad!

Lily Rowan

@NeenerNeener You know now I'll hug you constantly, right?

NeenerNeener

@Lily Rowan: I see what you're doing. Your reverse psychology will not thwart me!

wee_ramekin

@NeenerNeener You guys, I DID THIS to a 'Pinner at one of our meet-ups (Hi Kelly!). Even though I generally don't love hugging, when I get drunk and I really like someone, sometimes I will spontaneously hug them. She was at the bar, I ran up to her and hugged her and was like "KELLYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!" and she stiffened and right away I knew I had made a mistake (I have a friend of five years who DOES.NOT.LIKE.HUGS. [I do not think we have ever hugged] and I am extremely respectful of that).

She was like "Why are you hugging me?" and I replied "AH GOD KELLY I AM SO SORRY, I know that there are people who don't like to be hugged and I see that you are one of them and I will never hug you again and I am seriously sorry and I hope we can stay friend" and she was like "Man, that's okay. Heck, I wouldn't have even told you that I didn't like hugging if I didn't want to see you again!".

In the end, it was sort of heart-warming and lovely, even though it was sandwiched in-between some major awkwardness.

Ophelia

When I was a camp counselor, putting the kids to bed, we'd go around the cabin, and say, "Hug or handshake?" And even the kids who were BIG huggers sometimes just wanted to pick handshake, but they ALWAYS got a choice. (And there were a few who didn't want handshake, and that was fine, too).

parallel-lines

@Ophelia That's really sweet :)

hotdog

@Ophelia ok that is ADORABLE.

noodge

@Ophelia yes! when i was a camp counselor we did that, but we did "hug, handshake, or high-5?" and the kids loved it! because like you said, sometimes - even if you're normally a hugger - you just feel like a high-5, or maybe you're a handshaker who could really use a hug! it's a shame that it seems socially unacceptable to offer the same choices to adults...

Lily Rowan

@teenie I'm totally going to start! I would love more high-5s.

Ophelia

@teenie These were 8-year olds, away from home for the first time, so there were a LOT of hugs, but I know they liked having the choice. That said, I kind of wish they would've given me a choice before climbing in to my bunk (I had the bottom one) at 3am, but there's no telling a homesick 8 year old to woman up :)

werewolfbarmitzvah

@teenie AH, high-5, please! That would be SO much less uncomfortable. There's a lady at my job who is big on the high-5 and it makes me feel so glad.

billie_crusoe

@teenie We had "hugs, handshakes, high-fives, elephant kisses." I tried not to touch the children, so I don't remember exactly what the elephant kiss entailed, but I think it was kind of like a gentle noogie? I don't know, 7 year olds are weird.

alabee

@Ophelia "gentle noogie" is the best combination of words I heard today.

redheaded&crazy

I like hugs but I'm not usually one to instigate hugging upon somebody. I find I've gone on lots of online dates where the guys want to be all huggy and stuff and I'm really not into that. In fact the hug/kiss on cheek/handshake question is one aspect of dating that stresses me out.

boysplz

@redheaded&crazie Yes, it's so strange! I'm the king of being drunk and making out with a perfect stranger all over the bar, but get me in a date scenario and I get all awkward about it. I think I should just offer the hug/handshake/high-5 think like the camp counselors above. Maybe it would help be a barometer for how the date went? More likely I'll seem slightly crazier, but ehh, truth to life.

Faintly Macabre

@redheaded&crazie That's like half of why I just quit OKC! One guy sent me a passive-aggressive text for hugging him instead of letting him kiss me, and another guy (who was otherwise all right) insisted on hugging me even though I was backing away. The next date I was smarter and stood on the other side of a knee-high metal barrier!

LeafySeaDragon

i love to hug, but adulthood has broken me of it. i also HATE shaking hands because dammnit ladies, shake HANDS, don't limpwristedly put your fingertips in my palm like i'm supposed to kiss it. GRASP my hand and squeeze it GENTLY, hold it firmly, then let the hell go. handshaking is a thing, learn how to do it! (for the record i also hate it when ladies and men squeeze really hard with their thumb and forefinger and hurt my handbones, wtf if that? the abject of a handshake is not to maim!)

/rant

redheaded&crazy

@LeafySeaDragon oh my god, I seriously thought the limp fish lady handshake had gone out of style ages ago because like, have you ever heard anybody describe it positively, ever, anywhere, EVER?!??!!?!?

but yet I'm still on the receiving end of so many of them. What the eff.

datalass

@redheaded&crazie Weirdly, these days I only get the limp fish handshake from men. I can't tell whether they're doing this in an effort to accommodate me (which, why?) or whether they really do have very weak shakes. Related: I shook hands yesterday with a woman who nearly cracked my knuckles. It hurt a little but was also kind of awesome.

okaycrochet

@LeafySeaDragon Theory: handcrushing is an attempt at dominance? Like that thing where you're shaking hands with someone and they rotate their hand so that suddenly your hand is on the bottom and theirs is on top, like they just beat you in some sort of arm-wrestling feat of strength? That ish is infuriating.

NeenerNeener

@LeafySeaDragon
There was a lady that I did not like for only this reason (I'm fickle, she could have easily changed my mind about not liking her at any time).
But when I got the "handshake" from her, I was like, "What, are you the lady and I'm the man? What the eff is this?!"

cosmia

@LeafySeaDragon Ughhh I hate shaking hands because I get nervous when I meet people for the first time and my hands start sweating and DISASTER. I wish we could all just nod politely at each other.

Faintly Macabre

@LeafySeaDragon Yes this. My fencing club was really big on proper firm handshakes at the end of a bout. When I shake hands with people who carefully place their hand within the confines of your fingers and then take it away, it's hard not to stare at them.

Onymous

@okaycrochet Boys are taught that your trustworthiness and general worth as a person is proportional to handshake strength.

frigwiggin

@datalass The worst, most flaccid handshake I've ever been party to was one from the former VP of my department. Gives me the willies just remembering it.

boysplz

@LeafySeaDragon Bad handshakes are awful. I also hate it when you get a weird grasp and then both parties just sort of have to go with it. My friend gets around this by just asking for a do-over, which I've also started. Handshakes are really important, you need to do the first one right!

MilesofMountains

@LeafySeaDragon Maybe I just handshake too hard, but I swear about half of the time I shake hands, the other person just kind of thrusts a limp hand at me.

EpWs

@boysplz True story about good handshakes: I just met my brother's girlfriend for the first time this weekend, and girl has a good handshake. I liked her immediately. (She is also smart, well-spoken, funny, and cute. WHY IS SHE DATING HIM???) So yes, people! Handshakes! But, you know, good ones only please.

teebs

I'm not a big hugger/toucher unless it's with my husband, my mom, or a close friend. I married a man with a Russian family and they ALL kiss when they say hello and I HATE IT. Even the people I meet for the first time come in for a hug and a kiss on each cheek. I think it's gross. I really do not ever want to kiss them, even though I like them, but it's forced upon me at every family gathering. I especially hate when his dad kisses me.

I have a really hard time setting a boundary in this particular situation because most of them don't speak the same language that I do, and they have different cultural expectations for this.

datalass

@teebs I feel for you! When I first got married, my BIL commented that his mother had said something to him about me and hugging and my BIL had replied, "The thing about datalass and hugging is that it's better to not."

werewolfbarmitzvah

@teebs I married into a Korean family, and while the men don't do any touching, those elderly aunties grope me like we're at a 7th grade makeout party! So much butt touching. So much.

cosmia

@teebs OH HEY YOU. Yes I feel the same way about my Italian family. Like, I do it to my grandparents because they love me and I love them and I don't want them to feel like I don't like them or anything, but it gets forced upon me at every family gathering too, and I hate having to do it with relatives I see once every five years. Like, you may share a single blood line with me but we are strangers, get away. But again, cultural expectations, and I am supposed to have vast amounts of affection for people I barely know.

teebs

@werewolfbarmitzvah Oh god, that sounds like my nightmare! Strange people I don't know touching my butt and not knowing how to stop it D:
@cosmia HEY! When I have babies, I am going to make sure that they are not obligated/feel forced to hug/kiss my in-laws.

Apocalypstick

@teebs Urgh bumping cheekbones with random relatives. It's almost worse than a proper hug because of the hovering moment of uncertainty about the number of kisses. I've started brandishing my hand for shaking desperately, but aunts seem to be undeterred by anything short of leprosy.

TheLetterL

I am waving all sorts of "Your body is your own, kids!" flags over here, and I am most comfortable with several feet of personal space, and my look of horror has actually stopped a potential hugger in his tracks. That said, I just couldn't get into the article until she talked about offering her daughter alternatives (hug vs high five vs handshake). I think it's about negotiating the preferences of both parties, assuming we're only talking about preferences and an occasion of harmless physical contact e.g. a three second good-bye hug.

sudden but inevitable betrayal

I loooooove hugs, but only GOOD hugs. If you're going to do that limp, back-patting fake hug where we just sort of bump shoulders, don't even bother. I want big, tight, hard bear hugs.

...As I result I don't hug a lot of people, because I'm not comfortable bear-hugging someone out of the blue and also I'd rather do nothing than get a bad hug. :/

Ophelia

@sudden but inevitable betrayal AH, yes. My uncle gives the BEST bear hugs. Even now that I'm an adult, he'll do the squeeze-you-off-your-feet thing, and it's GREAT.

sarah girl

@sudden but inevitable betrayal No A-frame hugs allowed! Go big or go home.

Oh, squiggles

Okay, I am in camp "I don't like being hugged/touched by strangers/acquaintances."

But also...handshakes kind of suck too. I don't know where your hand has been, we just met, and I am socially obligated to touch you? AND! People will judge you by your handshake! And I am too busy feeling like I don't want to be touching a stranger to give a good handshake! Don't judge me please!

Same with hugs. "I can totally judge a person by their hug". Well, can you judge that I am a person who doesn't like being blackmailed into hugging?

I mean I get it, it is a way to get to know someone through touch instead of just through seeing and talking, but uhhh. I guess if you have had unwelcome touching in your life you tend to not want any more. Physical affection is great, and good for people and social bonding and everything, but I kind of think preventing unwanted touch takes precedence. Maybe if you could guarantee that everyone I met was going to be nice and loving then I wouldn't have a problem greeting them with touch!

frigwiggin

@Awesomely Nonfunctional Handshakes are totally worse! I don't know where those fingers have been!

Scandyhoovian

@Awesomely Nonfunctional Ughhhh I hate handshakes. Handshakes mean touching hands. And not a lot of people think very hard about just how many other things hands touch in a day, and if the person you're meeting happens to not be a hand-washer after the bathroom!? JUST... NO. Also, clammy-hands people make me uncomfortable.

So, yeah. I hate handshakes.

EpWs

@Awesomely Nonfunctional Obvs the chest bump is the best option. No touching of hands!

fondue with cheddar

@Awesomely Nonfunctional Yeah, I would much rather hug a person than touch their hands. Unless they're a creepy man who I'm afraid will get an inappropriate thrill out of having my large boobs pressed against him.

Funniest post-hug comment I ever received: "Your hugs remind me of my mom," spoken by a gay man who has a short, busty mother.

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Chest bump? Not for me; it would be more like "chest bounce", and that's just awkward.

boyofdestiny

I like to hug.

wee_ramekin

hugofdestiny

Drinkin'_Water

My mother recently told me that she was kind of worried about me as a small child because I would want to hug EVERYONE. Like bus drivers, clerks, just everyone I saw. Some people showed obvious delight at getting a random hug from a little girl, but she felt really awkward pretty often and was really never sure how to handle these situations. She would have to tell me to NOT hug people a lot, like if they looked less than thrilled but I was oblivious. I was glad that she told me about this because it helped me understand myself better and to know that I just have always had a natural desire for an unusual amount of casual physical affection. I used to hug friendly acquaintances all the time, every day, and people would always be saying things like "Thanks, I really needed that today" or "You always give the best hugs." I just don't ever initiate hugs anymore and I really miss the hug-filled days.

NeenerNeener

@Drinkin'_Water You should start initiating again. Just try to be aware of others' body language and you should know if someone absolutely does not want to be hugged. Sure, some people who are not really huggers may feel obliged, but my thinking is that the positive impact you make on the people that needed or wanted it outweighs the slight inconvenience to the obligatory huggers.

H.E. Ladypants

@Drinkin'_Water If it is a person I don't know, I usually just ask! At goodbye times, I will "are you a hugger?" If they say yes, great hugs! If they say no, they are happy to have been asked!

I've never had that question lead to awkwardness.

Kulojam

So I was talking to a (chilean) friend last night and got the question I get all the time from Chileans: why are people from the US "so cold"? Chile is a touchy culture where you ALWAYS kiss hello and goodbye, even strangers if they are known by someone else in the group. Men kiss each other, parents and children hold hands well into the adulthood of the offspring, and kids live at home until they get married. I grew up in a somewhat touchy household and am pretty much ok with it, but I understand and respect people who don't want to be touched.

Even for a hugger (who respects boundaries!) like myself, I can recognize that US culture is waaaaaay less touchy than Chilean culture and can see how at first blush, a Chilean could construe our social interaction as "cold". But the point is, I don't really know how to answer the question. I mean, I usually call the person out on the judgy use of "cold." But is their an "American value" that makes us less of touchers? Because we value individualism? We value personal space? Grown-ass men don't sleep in the same bed as their mamas (true story)?

missupright

@Kulojam This is a thing I'm thinking reading these comments: cultural difference. I completely understand people who don't want to be touched- I have definitely sneaked out of parties and social events to avoid having to say goodbye- but I live in France, and kissing is Just What Happens All The Time. Example: yesterday, walking down the road with two children, we met an acquaintance of their mother's. I have met this woman maybe twice?, and never met her daughter. And still- kiss on each cheek from her, the children all doing the Children Kiss thing that all the kids do here (kiss you on one cheek, turn their heads so that you kiss their opposite cheek). And this..is just a regular thing. Every time I meet someone here, we do double-kissing. And, actually, thinking about it, I do the same in London and in Dubai, but that might be me bringing my Fancy Paris Ways home.

SO. I have a question. When you meet people for the first time, do you shake their hand instead of kiss?

Kulojam

@missupright In social situations, I go with the Chilean norm of kissing. Occasionally, people who are familiar with US culture offer me their hand....which I have mixed feelings about. I appreciate the gesture but then again, I'm living in Chile so I try to follow (most) norms here. Plus, the Chilean handshake is frequently dead fish, which I loathe. But in professional situations, like when I go to the doctor or meet people at work, we *usually* shake hands.

limnupon

I am not a hugger, with the exception of a few particular friends, who just seem to be good huggers. Though one of them came up to me once and I stopped him dead in his tracks by warning him that I had a cold, and didn't want him to catch it. Come to think of it, yelling, "I have a cold!" is a great way to keep away unwanted touching.

My house had a big party once, and this weird hippie boy practically professed his love to me, but I had a terrible fever and had no idea what was going on, so when he wanted a hug I said, "Hey, I'm sick! Fist-bump of solidarity instead?" And then I went to my room, locked the door, and passed out.

hoo:ha

I live in Europe so I am used to getting double face kissed by total strangers on introduction. I now just roll with any type of physical greeting but for one.... the limp handshake. Can't abide by that shit. I run screaming.

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