Hugs, Not Thugs

A friend of mine heckled me the other day for stating that I am not a hugger. Perhaps the fact that he is a hugger affects his assessment of others. My birth mother has complained that as a child I suddenly stopped wanting any sort of physical affection. (Although she stops short of admitting why that happened.) I hug my spouse, my children, my grandmother, my cousin, and my dog but that is about it.

Fundamentally the reason is that all hugging feels like grappling to me. I interpret hugs in terms of underhooks and overhooks. I am conscious of where my hips and center-of-mass are. I am aware of the placement of my feet relative to a trip. I recognize that none of this is even remotely normal. But that is my experience.

At university there was a student from Britain who was noteworthy for his above-average and firmly-preserved personal space. The other students assumed that it was because he was British. Whilst I have heard that Scots have one of the largest personal spaces, I wonder if it was more than just his nationality.

As I have said, it is not that I am comfortable with fighting, rather that I became accustomed to it. I was too young to remember but I am sure that my transition from cuddle to skedaddle occurred when I was involuntarily dropped into combat. I learned to stay out of arm’s reach. (I wonder if I would have an even greater personal space if I had been around a kicker.) No place was safe but at least that much distance gave me a head start.

For me a brofist is about as affectionate as I get.


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