I come from a family of huggers and my husband comes from a family of kissers, well to be clear – peckers. They deliver the peck on the cheek to everyone of the female species – family, friends, relatives, pretty much anyone who passes the five minute test. I prefer not to be kissed or pecked by anyone but my husband and children or my parents when they were living. I am blessed with three siblings and thankfully we hug hello and goodbye.
My Dad was a shy man and found public shows of affection difficult. As with many traits he grew more comfortable with this in his later years but he remained a hugger. Now, that I think of it – I really love the idea that the only woman he kissed was his wife and our Mum.
I have never lost the feeling of unease at the awkward ‘kissy’ greeting and have plenty of small to epic ‘fail’ tales! Even one with our pup, and yes there was tongue involved, yew! Think sloppy wet lips, disgusting beards, lipstick on my wedding day before entering the church, awkward left or right mistakes and all those ‘air’ kisses – please just quickly hug me, if you must! I am envious of males who have the culturally accepted option of handshake. I know it is no longer gender specific but there have been numerous times on meeting someone that my extended hand has been grabbed and used as a lever to be pulled in for the cheek kiss. I am older and wiser and more confident to stand my ground on this now.
As a hugger (though to be honest I prefer to tighten my circle with giving those away too) I cannot abide being pecked by randoms, sometimes twice or even three times if following European culture. I would not be surprised if ‘kissers’ find a big ole’ hug repulsive. Let’s face it, not everyone wants arms and all that goes with them – plastered in and around their personal space!
Diagnose me with OCD but to be honest I’d be happy if we all just smiled and waved! Ok, even I know that is a bit much. It is wonderful to show those we love and care for our delight at their arrival and nothing beats a big goodbye hug.
I do not have grandbubbers yet and I will have no kissy hang-ups when those heavenly babies are in my vicinity.
My grown adult ‘children’ were kissed and hugged at every opportunity (and we still do) but not on the lips – we were a ‘lips off’ family. There was never a discussion about this one way or the other – it just was what it was.
I have just started reading Jodi Picoult’s, The Storyteller and it was her talented writing describing the making of bread, “I love the fact that it needs to sit quietly, to retreat from touch and noise and drama, in order to evolve. I have to admit, I often feel that way myself.”
That’s me, I heard myself saying aloud. Thinking about how beautifully Picoult shaped those words started me on the track of Hugs or Kisses.
I believe there is an art to great hugs. They come from the heart and show themselves as arms wide open with an unmistakeable sense of warmth and welcome. My dear friend Dave is a great hugger and he says to his kids, “my arms will always be wide open for you.” He gives a genuine hug with no awkwardness – it personifies authentic.
For most of our two years in the US we had Canadian neighbours. I recall Dean saying, “We’re Canadian! Canadians are huggers,” in his booming, fabulous accent. Though there was always more than a hug for his gorgeous wife when he arrived home from work – a kiss for her, the very first thing he did, then hugs for anyone else. Fabulous!
I think I need a t-shirt which reads –
I am Australian – but I identify as Canadian – so hugs only!