It's National Hug Day: Stay Away From Me!

National Hug Day is January 21, so don't be surprised if a total stranger comes up to you, wraps his arms around you, and squeezes. Supposedly, this is all part of an initiative to improve our overall outlook on life by having close human interaction, but all I can think is one word: Ew.

Here is what columnist Chris Thompson of the Saginaw News had to say about hugging:

Consider hugging as non-sexual, like a handshake or a high-five. Such personal contact makes you feel good. A good hug warms relationships between people. That's what National Hugging Day is all about. We're not talking sex here. Part of the problem huggers face is this guarded age where hugs are easily misinterpreted and subject to a leering look or a lawsuit. A hug has a universal meaning of support, concern or just a way of saying, "I'm here."


And oh how I want to be on board with this. I really do. After all, I love to hug my babies and kiss and hug them almost constantly. I love to hug my husband, but just about anyone else -- sister, best friend, dad, Santa -- annoys me.

Does this make me weird?

I'm just not a super affectionate person. Besides, it seems unsanitary. A simple handshake followed by Purell always seems a little more reasonable. Who am I kidding? I don't even like when people touch my hand giving me change. I have lived in four different foreign countries for periods of several months (and in some cases, longer), and I've always been wary of the double cheek kiss or the hug as greeting. I long to be one of those people everyone wants to hug, but my yearning for affection flew the coop a long time ago, and now I just want most people to stay at arm's length. I like my personal space, what can I say?

The other day my sister hugged me (against my will) and shuddered: "You are the worst to hug," she said. "Way too boney." Um, thanks? Non-huggers like me are kind of lost on a day like today. Who can we hug? Who can't we hug? Why do we want to?

In the interest of broadening my horizons and not appearing to be a total freak (even though I am), I will attempt to hug more today. So, for those of us who hate the hugs (and I know there are more than me), I will provide a little cheat sheet of acceptable people to hug:

  • Spouse
  • Child 
  • Dog/cat
  • Best friend
  • Grandparent
  • Sibling
  • Parent

Now, here is a list of those who are not:

  • UPS guy
  • Mailman
  • Neighbor who shoveled your walkway
  • Snowplow driver
  • Pizza delivery man

See, not so bad. Hug these people, not these! It's simple. Huggers of the world rejoice. It is your day. I don't judge you. I will try to be you today only, but please, please, let me initiate. I am still learning and a bit jumpy.

Thank you.

Do you like to hug?


Image via kevindooley/flickr

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