"What a wonder life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner." Colette

Jun 3, 2020

Not Everyone Likes Being Hugged


I'm one of those people, my family and friends can attest. I don't know why this is and it only began in my adult years, but it's a fact.

I used to think something was wrong with me until I learned I'm not alone. I can't stand to be massaged...on my back by a lover, on my shoulders by some co-worker or on my head by a hairdresser.  I've had two professional manicures and one pedicure in my life and hated them all.  Might as well water-board me as knead my hand. My skin is sensitive, bruises easily, and even slight pressure can be painful; but besides that, hugs to me have become so commonplace and arbitrary that they've lost much of their meaning; like political promises or the term, Breaking News.

Why is it perfect strangers assume it's OK to spontaneously encircle me with their body; and that I'll like it? I'm not some tree. If you're defining assault, physically or nasally, what would you call that? People first ask if they can pet BC (which she's not crazy about, either) but I don't receive the same courtesy. Maybe I should snarl louder. From Wikipedia:

"An assault is the act of inflicting physical harm or unwanted physical contact upon a person. It is both a crime and a tort and, therefore, may result in criminal prosecution, civil liability, or both."
I wouldn't have a leg to stand on.  This action, meant in kindness I understand, is not excused by but often accompanied with, "You look like you need one." What I need is not to be put on the spot; forced against my will to reciprocate or be labeled, and knowing I must pretend to enjoy it because it's Politically Incorrect to refuse.

"Please don't hug me."

To another white person that sounds insulting and to a person of color that sounds racist.  At least it could, but would I deserve either of those reactions? I shouldn't have to explain myself to avoid hard feelings, for what right does ANY citizen, naked or in uniform, have to lay hands on me without permission if I'm not breaking any law? And ultimately, what's the real reason for the demonstration: because you think I need one or because it somehow makes you feel good?  I may sound cynical but Mom always said, "Examine your motives."

How would you like me to pull out scissors and start cutting your bangs, pull up your pants or yank a cigarette out of your mouth because that's what I think you need?

Just ask first, that's all I'm sayin'; and if someone answers, "No, thanks," don't ridicule, take it personally or treat them like a pariah.  People simply have varying degrees of proximital comfort.  It's not easy to write this and stand apart, but my parents also taught (us) not to do something just because,

"Everybody's doing it."  You know, follow the beat of your own drummer.

Bron loves Ade
So I couldn't help wondering how I'd feel as I watched protesters provide each other and police officers with unsolicited hugs; who could possibly refuse?  Nice gesture, but what are they trying to express in this age of Covid-19?

"Let's share the infection."

Instead of hugs, how about passing out some Snickers bars, which look like love to me. And me? Maybe the older I get the less I'll hurt.

Original gourd art by the author.  Sketch by Dad.

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Original gourd art designs Copyright 2020 Andrea Jansen Designs. Please write for permission.

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