Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Hugs.

Boys seem to be hugging more than I remember. More than I'm used to, actually.

Not that this is a bad thing.

When I was a kid, a boy hugged his mother, his female relatives, and his dad on special occasions. Girls hugged whoever they wanted, I guess.

For the last few years, I've noticed that it's common for high school and even college-aged boys to give a quick hug when they meet. These hugs are clearly just good fraternal hugs-- I'm not trying to say that there's a creeping androgyny going on-- but they absolutely are unlike anything that occurred in the culture that I grew up in, just 20 years ago.

I'm pretty sure that I've hugged my best friend just twice in the quarter century-plus that we've been best friends, and on both of those occasions, one or both of us had tears in his eyes.

As a police officer, I've noticed that some kids will hug a cop, whom they've met but rarely. As an adult male, I'm reluctant to hug even a little girl. As a man in uniform, I think I'm doubly self-conscious of being hugged. It's sweet. But, you know. I'm not the daddy.

More awkward is the boy who spontaneously hugs me. And the older he gets, the more awkward. Today I had an eleven year old boy walk up to me and hug me before reminding me that we had met once, a year ago. I didn't know what to say, or do with my hands. He was a sweet kid, but. . . at eleven years of age, I was hunting with my dad, and trying to get a kiss from the neighbor girl, and... I don't know-- Hugging the neighborhood cop just out of the blue would NOT have occurred to me. The instance when I met him was in no way traumatic or life-altering, any more than a visit with a grocery clerk would have been so.

Curiouser and curiouser.

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9 Comments:

At Saturday, January 03, 2009 10:47:00 PM, Anonymous TBeck said...

I hope you have a good retention holster. That would make me feel very awkward as well if a grown or nearly-grown man tried to hug me. It wouldn't occur to me to violate a stranger's personal space like that.

 
At Sunday, January 04, 2009 5:52:00 AM, Blogger MauserMedic said...

I've noticed boys seem to be considerably more effeminate than they used to be. Make-up, hair coloring, and a rise in eating disorders are some of the behaviors I've noted. Personally, I don't think it's a good thing. Part of a vital culture is the ability to be competitive, forceful, and willing to engage in physically demanding activities. Much of what I've seen the last several years reminds me more of what I read about the citizens of Rome in their final years. Too much easy living seems to breed decadence.

 
At Sunday, January 04, 2009 12:16:00 PM, Blogger Phillip said...

I've noticed something similar with grown men, in regards to hugging. It seems that hugging is just getting more socially accepted, and so men are feeling that it's not such a big deal when dealing with someone they're close to. I have grown male friends that have started hugging me just in the past couple of years, and sometimes it's still a little strange. Of course, these guys are as close as family, and I actually spend more time with them than I do with family.

When I was growing up, my dad wouldn't let me hold his hand in Disney World because I was about 7 and it wasn't something that guys did. My dad's going to hit 80 this year, and has no problem hugging when we see each other (which only happens a couple of times a year because of distance) and makes sure to say some form of "I love you all" when we talk on the phone. My dad's certainly not gotten less manly than when I was a kid, but he's stopped worrying about the appearances as much.

I've noticed that it also extends to actually expressing emotions verbally. I remember twenty years ago, it took some work to say "Thanks" when someone did something big for you, and it wasn't cool to get really emotional about it. Nowadays, it's easier to actually communicate that you're willing to listen to a friend if he's got trouble, and someone can say "Thanks so much for everything" without feeling awkward.

Now, no argument about the rise in the effeminate kids. I don't think that's a good thing either.

 
At Sunday, January 04, 2009 5:03:00 PM, Anonymous Kristopher said...

Show him how to properly shake hands.

Explain to him that this is how adult male acquaintances properly greet each other.

 
At Sunday, January 04, 2009 6:03:00 PM, Blogger 5150Wife said...

I'm not clear on whether you were in uniform or not at the time. If you were, I hope he will soon learn that touching a cop in uniform (much less attempting a hug) is not a strategically wise move.


Personally, I can't figure out the whole butt-slapping thing. Why do otherwise testosterone-spewing macho men feel the need to smack each other's posteriors as an atta-boy? And what REALLY freaks me out is the women's volleyball players getting into the act nowadays. EWWWW!

 
At Sunday, January 04, 2009 6:24:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

"And what REALLY freaks me out is the women's volleyball players getting into the act nowadays. EWWWW!"

Hey. Hey! HEY! Let's tone down that judgmental attitude there, just a little bit, Miss Manners! Let's not hate. ;)

 
At Monday, January 05, 2009 2:26:00 PM, Blogger M.E. Again said...

I agree with the commenter that suggests to teach him (at 11 or 12) how to shake hands like a man - especially when you are in uniform. For little kids? Just hug them. Getting the firm impression in their brains that you are the 'good guy' is worth any minor discomfort you may have. Do keep an eye on your technology and weaponry, though. Might try the one arm side hug thing.

 
At Monday, January 12, 2009 11:42:00 AM, Blogger Spook, RN said...

Interesting.

Where I come from (born/brought up) - it's perfectly acceptable for guys to hug in public.

Hugs between members of the opposite sex though are a little more "frowned upon".

Folks who complain about "morals" (be it the 'liberals' screaming about the coming Christo-fascist theocracy or the religious right harping about the 'War on Christianity and Family values') honestly have no flipping clue.

cheers,
Spook

PS: No, I was neither born nor raised in the Middle East ... or in an "Islamic" country for that matter. I was born and raised in a secular, democratic republic enjoying much of the freedoms enjoyed by the citizens of the Western democracies.

 
At Friday, February 13, 2009 8:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. I'm a college-age man who will hug certain other men in public. Those men are, without exception, either family members or people who were in my class at High School.

That second category is probably confusing, so I'll explain it. I went to a Jesuit school, and, as part of our Junior year, we went on a retreat known as Kairos. Its a life-changing thing, a very intense experience...and the people you go on Kairos with, they become family. In my high school (single-sex), it was very easy to tell what year people were: Seniors and Juniors who had gone on Kairos were the guys who would hug each other when they met, rather than shaking hands. The Sophomores and Juniors who had not gone on Kairos yet were the guys who would not do that. The Freshmen were the guys who were weirded out by the whole thing.

 

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