Monday, November 28, 2011

Hugging and Kissing

A thought from The Theology of Dad:

And now, a momentary digression on Catholic hugging. It's new, it's young, it's happening, it's something I avoid like the plague. The last thing from which I could draw benefit is another women's breast pressed up against me. I mean, I am not everyman, yet the logic strikes me as sound. People have assured me that there is a proper way to hug  - and breasts are not involved in it. I remain unconvinced.

To all the people who hug me, please don't take it personally. I'm sure this is the Brit in me talking.

I think there's too much hugging in the world.

Hugging to me should be reserved to people you're actually close to. Like close family and friends you see on a regular basis.

You go to events now and everyone expects a hug. I reciprocate because I don't want to be a stick in the mud.

But I'd really rather reserve it to people close to me.

Because that's what makes it special. I don't want to deal out hugs to just anyone.

I also feel the same about kissing. Kissing it the thing in Quebec. You get kissed all the time, especially if you're a woman. I've never quite mastered the two-cheek kiss, which confirms my status as an Anglo-Quebecker.

I find you can't really ask not to be kissed. It's highly ingrained in French culture, especially at New Year's.

And please understand: I'm not trying to make this about sin. It's about personal space and the meaning of the gesture.

Everyone wants to be so close and so friendly to everyone else that they feel they have to do all the things that close friends do.

But that's just it-- they're close friends. Not acquaintances who meet every now and then. That relationship has earned the hug.

Fifty years ago, people wanted to break down the boundaries.

Now I wish we could put some back up. Hugging people to be close to them is rather fake. You have to be close first, then, when that closeness is established, that's when a hug is appropriate.

And to all the people reading this who hug me: don't take it personally. I'm profoundly British this way.