Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Pecking Order For Parting Puckers

I was going to write about sex wax this morning, but I didn't have any pictures that related to its application, so I'm going to focus on fully clothed embraces.

Recently we had a visit from Wendy's Newfoundland based cousin and his family. It was a brief twenty four hours that they stayed with us, but long enough for their two little kids to reacquaint themselves with the Cambridge-Narrows Vartys, whom they see about once a year. When it was time for them to depart the Varty compound, cute little Emily gave everyone in the room a big hug. I happened to be sitting on the floor at the time. She walked up to me, carefully removed my ball cap, gently brushed my hair aside, and then....

Sweet girly girl Emily nailed me with a monster head butt. I was seeing stars, and trust me, they didn't look anything like Lindsay Lohan. Emily, herself, looked a little dazed, and she saw it coming. I was 100% blindsided. Everyone in the room held their collective breaths to see which of us would pass out first. Two minutes later we were both still standing, miraculously. Emily, looking like Jupiter, had a nice big red circle on her forehead, surrounded by swirling clouds. I was talking either gibberish, Urdu, or Scottish? I don't remember. In any event it was completely unintelligible.

Thanks for the hug Emily!

My family are not huggers. Tree huggers? Yes! People huggers? Not really. I'm not sure if our standoffedness is a British thing or we're just socially awkward, but hugs weren't part of our daily, weekly or monthly diet. Wendy's family, on the other hand are so huggy that I fear a dry humping is always waiting in the wings.

I never used to give hugs much of a thought, until one day my friend Aimée sent me, and countless others, a link to a YouTube video. This was about three or four years ago now. Perhaps you remember the video? It featured a rather 'back to earth' looking group of granolas who were offering free hugs to passing pedestrians. If you haven't seen it before, then you can watch it here. The video was expertly produced in an organic, grass root kind of way. It's been viewed forty nine million times, just two million times less than we've seen Amy Winehouse's undergarments (I'm not providing links on this one, but there's no shortage of them).

I have one friend who I greet with a kiss on the lips which, for me, is totally out of character, but somehow it feels right. I have a smattering of friends with whom I share bone crushing hugs. My ribs happily Slinky in and out like a masterfully played accordion.

A friend's sister once taught me the art of the European, two cheek embrace, though, like most art forms, it's lost unless practiced frequently. I'm not sure I could manage a two cheeker anymore, having not done one in some time. Was it left cheek to left cheek, or right to right? One false move and someone's going to have a bloody nose and a black eye.

There are full hugs, half hugs and the one armed quarter hug. There are close hugs where ears rub against each other, far hugs where you grasp shoulders and maintain eye contact (very Russian). There's also the hug/jump/spin, usually reserved for lottery winners. A few amigos hug like lazy Mexicans. We've all been given the dead fish soft taco hug before. I'm not sure what it says, other than I'd rather be in the dead grip of a amorous anaconda than in your arms.

The firm, manly man handshake is tried and true, safe and easily delivered, though it is decidedly businesslike. I hate the milquetoast handshake. I can hear my hand saying 'must break free' in stressed out Spiderman tones. Sometimes I've gone for the GQ handshake but I've been finger gripped, thus emasculating my greeting. I often wonder if finger grippers think that I shake like a pansy in the wind. I believe that's what the finger gripper wants to's an aggressive power grab on their part.

Hugs make me nervous. Little Emily put me on notice. Honestly, I think that she was just 'paying me back' for what I accidentally did to her mother ten years ago. I managed to gash her mom's forehead (stitches were needed) with a flying snowboard helmet while I was doing air guitar with a broom. Don't ask.

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