Saturday, January 4, 2014

Me and Hugging: The REAL Story

If you've been around me whenever I see one of my female friends--or, if you are one of them--you no doubt have seen me hug someone, if you haven't received one yourself.  It's not just friends I haven't seen in months; almost every time I'm at church, I hug every female friend I see, even though I just saw them last week.  Most of the ladies don't seem to mind; if they did, I wouldn't do it.  Still, the question that begs to be asked is: How did it start? How did I become such a hugger?

Like any little kid, I hugged certain adults when I was younger.  However, the first memorable hug I remember was actually in a dream, where I hugged a female fictional character.  After I had it, I couldn't shut up about it, not realizing that I was embarrassing myself by talking about it.  My mom thought that I had a crush on said woman, but that actually wasn't the case; the only reasons I remarked about it as much as I did was because not only was it the first "lucid dream"--that is, one where I could choose what I did instead of simply watching what happened--I remember having, but it was also the only one up to that point where I actually felt something physically.  Up to that point, all my dreams had been like television shows or movies; even when I was "in" the dream, I still had no way to say or do what I wanted (that I remembered, anyway), and I could only see or hear what was going on.

After that, I got occasional hugs from friends--usually older, but sometimes coeval--but the hugs really started when I was a junior in high school.  Unfortunately, that was because of my sister's death; when people heard of what happened, that was their immediate response.  Even a classmate I barely knew opened up her arms when she heard of the tragic incident.  Some months later, a friend I'd known since seventh grade gave me a quick hug every time she saw me, and it wasn't long after that when other lady friends started to follow suit.  Sometimes, giving a lady a hug was a product of a crush; I did just that to my junior English teacher, whom everyone knew I had a thing for, and I always said that, if I met Hilary Duff or Anne Hathaway, that's the first thing I would do.  Over time, though, it eventually evolved into a friendly gesture, which I still do quite often to this day.

My concluding point: I understand that guys don't generally hug, except for family members and elderly people.  Still, even some ladies have had a problem with it; one former coeval member of my church told me that she'd rather I give her a handshake, though she made an exception when I wanted to congratulate her on being pregnant.  Another time, a teenage girl I'd just met--just last year, that is--seemed to be uncomfortable with me hugging her.  In those cases, I should refrain from hugging them ever again; however, since the vast majority of my female friends have no problem with it, I'll go ahead and keep doing it to them.  (If you've got a problem with it, you've got to tell me.)  For me, a handshake is just too formal; I remember hearing a lady talking about how she was disappointed with a guy she'd met online only because, when she met him in person, he merely shook her hand.  Of course, I must live at peace with everyone--Romans 12:18, remember?--and, if it truly bothers someone, then I must put a stop to it.  Still, I can't worry about others' judgmental opinions.  You'd be surprised at what people say about guys like me who mostly hang out with people of the opposite gender.  Not only are there the standard accusations of being a "womanizer" or "skirt-chaser," but some people even assume that such a guy is homosexual.  A random commentator on the now-defunct website Jump the Shark said, "Is Gordo gay? Doesn't he have any guy friends he can hang out with?" Yes, he was talking about Lizzie McGuire; still, what guy wouldn't want a gorgeous blonde and a lovely Latina as his best friends? My point is: I can't be held accountable for those who want to jump to conclusions; such people need to realize that they themselves will be judged accordingly.

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