Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YORK to 80360 or send an email»
Why I’m careful when handing out hugs
YESTERDAY was National Hug Your Cat Day – and I was only too happy to oblige. For me, every day is hug your cat day, and I give him more than his fair share.
He doesn’t know how lucky he is. I don’t give out hugs willy-nilly – my husband will vouch for that.
I’m not one of those huggy, kissy people who feels the need to treat others like teddy bears. But in the right circumstances, a hug does help.
Those circumstances don’t include any national hugging event. If I had my way I’d handcuff everyone during National Hug Week, National Hugging Day, and the rest. I remember once on the London underground, a man walking along the carriage sporting a ‘Free Hugs’ T-shirt and banner. I hastily began slobbering at the mouth and fiercely scratching my body.
While more amenable to hugging than me, my husband too, would run a mile if forced to hug. A couple of years ago he was grabbed and hugged by a clown at a circus. He was mortified, although maybe that was because he was kissed too and left with bright red lipstick all over his face.
It may seem a simple act, but hugging is a minefield – websites abound offering tips on how to hug. In a ‘manly hug’ it is common to pat twice on the back before disengaging. And it is vital not to confuse a ‘friend hug’ with a ‘lover hug’. Unfortunately, no definition is given for either one, so for all I know on the rare occasions I do open my arms I’m in danger of being too passionate.
Better hold back at work – research for National Hug Your Boss Day (yes, there really is one, it’s on August 24, if you want to take advantage) suggests that quite a few office embraces end in affairs.
More research into the subject (hugs not affairs) found that, for teenagers, ‘Hello’ often means, “How about a hug?” My children usually ask me straight out: “Can I have a hug?” And I hate to confess that nine times out of ten I’ll say “not now,” or “I’m busy”.
Predictably, they’ve stopped asking. They didn’t even come to me, arms outstretched, on National Hug a Ginger Day. That’s an event I’m relieved to say isn’t widely publicised, although my cat is also ginger and he loves it.
I think my reticence could stem from my own childhood which, while it was a loving home, we didn’t do cuddles.
I’m getting better, though, and have even started offering cuddles once my daughters are in bed. It’s a great way of checking for mobile phones under the sheets.