If you know me, chances are we have hugged. I don’t discriminate. I even hug people wearing Bama attire. I’m a hugger. It’s who I am.
There are many types of hugs. There is what I call a normal hug, which can vary in length. Then there is the side hug, which is often accompanied by a pat on the back. Rounding out the hugs are the bear hug, the bro hug, and the awkward hug.
When I was in high school, there were several girls who I hugged daily. Our relationships were completely platonic, but I sure did like hugging those pretty young ladies. These were normal. The length of the embrace varied depending on what they were going through. They smelled good, too.
When I was a kid, we attended a small country church in Tallapoosa County. Most members of the church were either kin, branch kin, or kin to someone they were kin to by marriage. That’s a lot of kin. When the preaching was over, we’d gather outside and fellowship before going our separate ways for that inevitable Sunday feast. Before doing so, a lot of hugging and hand-shaking took place. These were mostly side hugs.
I’ve never been a fan of the bear hug. I just don’t need someone wrapping their arms around me, shaking me around like they’re about to sink their canines into my skull. If you see me, don’t do it. I’ll defend myself by any means necessary. I seldom leave home without bear spray. You just never know.
Then there is the bro hug, which is described as a manly hug between two dudes who are cool with each other. Normal hugs between guys are acceptable, depending on the length and the circumstances. If it’s at a funeral, length is irrelevant. If it’s at the Piggly Wiggly, you have to make it quick. I often turn my bro hug into a normal hug once the initial embrace is complete.
I don’t think side hugs are ever acceptable among men. It’s one thing to stand at a guy’s side with your arm around him for a second while you catch up, but it’s another thing to embrace and have your hips rub. Dudes, don’t side hug me. I have bear spray.
Don’t forget about the awkward hug. It can sneak up on you. Sometimes the hugger goes in for the normal hug but the huggee shifts their body into a side hug position mid-hug. If you’re not prepared, it can turn awkward in a hurry.
The normal hug can also go awry when the heads of each party aren’t on the same sheet of music. Normally, each head goes towards the right shoulder. It’s just natural. But sometimes, the huggee haphazardly hugs toward the wrong shoulder, and the two heads converge upon each other as if they’re about to lock lips. It’s disturbingly embarrassing and awkward. Always aim your head toward the right shoulder. Trust me.
Speaking of hugs that go awry, last week, I went in for a bro hug and that’s when things got weird. The initial part of the hug went off as planned, but then something happened. We both rotated our heads in such a way that our cheeks were touching. We were cheek to cheek for what seemed like an eternity. It’s like we had magnets in our faces and couldn’t escape the magnetic force. I felt helpless.
A friend of mine who is a subject matter expert on the bro hug says you’ve got to get in and out with shoulder contact only. He suggests keeping the head lateral or there is going to be unfortunate cheek contact. A little head rotation away from contact provides for extra protection.
Hugging is wonderful and can go a long way in this chaotic world, but there is a right way and wrong way to do it. Now that you know, go out and hug someone today. We all can use one. Everybody needs a hug.
Jody Fuller is from Opelika. He is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, please visit www.jodyfuller.com