I have a confession to make. I don’t want to hug you. Its not that I don’t like you. I do, probably. I just really don’t enjoy hugging in any form. I know this probably makes me sound cold or like I suffer from some Monk level OCD contamination fears. Neither is true. Nor did I spend my formative years in a creepy Soviet orphanage where I had no physical contact.
Hugging to me just doesn’t feel natural. It is never my instinct to hug someone. The worst is when I run into some random acquaintance I haven’t seen in awhile and the first thing they do is try to hug me. I always think “Umm hi, girl I sat next to in Algebra, we haven’t spoken in 10 years and prior to that we have never once in the history of our association hugged each other, but you are going in for the hug? Okay.”
In a way though, I’m jealous of these natural huggers. They certainly come off as much warmer and friendlier than me even if it might not be wholly genuine. Since I don’t want to come off as unapproachable or snobby, I’ve gotten pretty good at faking enjoying hugs over the years. I am now able to hug someone without doing the creepy straight armed Dr. Evil style hug. Progress.
The biggest test for me is first dates. Up until about 6 months ago I was in a long term relationship. And let the record show I did hug him. Often. But now that I’m back in the dating world, I’m routinely faced with the dilemma of to hug or not to hug. Men are understandably turned off if I announce to them within seconds of meeting that I don’t like to hug. I’m sure they are thinking that I don’t enjoy other forms of physical contact. Not true, by the way.
So I normally let other people dictate the terms of first contact. If they go in for a hug, I will return it warmly. But I will never be the “hug initiator.” Maybe someday I’ll be able to proudly own my non-hugging status and have t-shirts made that say “You seem like an awesome person and I’d like to get to know you better, but please don’t touch me.” Although reading that would necessitate people staring at my chest when they first meet me and somehow that doesn’t feel like an improvement over a hug. In the meantime, I guess I’ll continue faking it.
I feel better now that I’ve made this confession even though it is embarrassing. Now let’s hug it out.
You can read more from Amanda Fox on her blog.
Feature image via Getty Images.