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.