Yes, someone decreed today National Hug Day.
Bring it in, if you insist. ABC News reports that the holiday started in 1986. Of course it did. The only awful thing that didn’t start in the ’80s is Justin Bieber.
I am on record when it comes to opposing hugs and have been since 2012. Leave the hugs, I said, to that wonderful machine designed by Temple Grandin for reassuring cows on their way to the slaughter. I lamented the proliferation of hug stand-offs, “when two people think they should probably be hugging but neither is quite willing to initiate. Instead, you perform a sort of crablike dance, arms outstretched.”
The basic problem of hug proliferation is still the same: The person who wants to hug always wins. You can refuse a kiss by going for a hug. You can’t refuse a hug by going for a handshake. Paper defeats Rock (doubtful) and Rock smashes Scissors (fair), but Hug goes unchallenged. It is almost impossible to refuse a hug, except by running away. And if you do that often enough you stop being invited out.
Here is a drawing I made then:
Hug proliferation, I am sad to say, has not ceased since I wrote on the subject. One of the things about blogging every day is you develop the creeping delusion that writing indignantly about something is the same as Doing Something About It. “Something’s been done,” you say. “I wrote a paragraph addressing that weeks ago.”
No. If anything, it has gotten worse. The traditional hug vocabulary (bro hugs, girl hugs, family hugs, hugs you are forced to give at the end of a line) has expanded to include Side Hugs (“We’re all hugging now, I guess!” this hug says. “But that doesn’t change the fact that I don’t really know you!”), Surprise Double Cheek-Kiss Hugs (These are always a surprise because you thought you were in Maryland, not 18th-century Europe), I’ll See You Tomorrow But Who Really Knows, Right? Life Is Short! Let’s Bring It In Hugs, Insincere Congratulatory Hugs, Sincere Congratulatory Hugs, the “Hugs,” and Face-hugs, preferred by malicious extraterrestrials.
And there’s no end in sight.