A Hug Life is better than A Thug Life

February 16, 2011   /   bynatalie  / Categories :  Uncategorized

Thanks to Bouwer Bosch for the catchy title.

Yesterday I was hanging out with The Personal Trainer (TPT). When I said something funny, he threw back his head, let out a guffaw and flung his fist toward my general chest area before stopping mid-air, knuckles facing me. Was he about to punch me in the guts for making a funny?! No, he was waiting for a “fistpump”.

Then later, when I was telling The Nash about my win of R5000 in vouchers (yea!) his hand flew into the air in an upward motion, before rapidly propelling toward my head area. Fingers pointing toward the sky, palm facing me. Was he about to slap me for good measure?! No, he was waiting for a “high 5”.

This morning when I was introduced to a man I might do some work with, he said “Nice to meet you” before poking his outstretched hand toward my abdominal muscles, hand vertical, palm open. Was he about to poke me in the ribs in a playful yet inappropriate gesture?! No, he was waiting for a “handshake”. 

These may seem like common practise to you.You’re probably fine with inconvenient high 5’s at random intervals. “Oh look, a Mc Donalds. Let’s get lunch! High 5!” “Your hair looks rad! High 5!” “I’m going to wee! High 5!”  

You probably kiss strangers hello all the time. Your friend says “Natalie, this is my 97 year old gran, Mildew. Grandma Mildew, this is my friend, Natalie” Mildew comes at you, arms outstretched and plants you a kiss! Right on the lips?!

You probably don’t mind this. You are probably fine with it. But me? No sir. For the past 22 years, I have been living a lie. For the past 22 years… I have hated Gratuitous Physical Contact.

Hugs for friends? Love! Kisses for immediate family including only mom, dad and sometime-but-not-as-often sister? Grand.

But high 5’s for no apparent reason, kisses for strangers, hugs for people I don’t even like? No more.

It all started going downhill in high school. There were about 20 girls in my group of friends, and every morning when we got to school we would hug each other hello. This meant, if you were last to arrive (which I most often was) you had to walk around the circle, hugging a total of 19 girls which included about 17 who you didn’t even like! All of whom you had hugged goodbye a mere 18 hours prior?! I quit in Matric.

Why do I hate all this physical contact? I don’t. I love physical contact within reason. Because aside from the obvious health risks associated with rubbing your hand/body against a friend/stranger/old person’s hand/body….there is also the Awkward Factor.

Ever gone in for a hug and a kiss on the cheek and accidentally given a hug and a kiss in the neck? I have. Ever gone in for a full-on handshake and been given the very tippy-tipps of someones fingertips to shake? I have. Ever gone for a high 5 and been met with a fist-pump resulting in some sort of paper-covers-rock debacle? Me too. How about when you go in for a big old bear hug and you get a one-armer or worse: a “I-can’t-let-my-chest-touch-yours-so-I’m-hugging-you-with-both-arms-stretched-to-the-max-and-my-bum-is-stickie-outie”

So as a gift to humanity I have set up a guideline to make physical contact easier for all of us in day-to-day life. You cant thank me later.

Natalie’s Guide To Touching Strangers:

Kisses are for: Mom, Dad, Siblings (sometimes), Lovers

Hugs are for: BFF’s, BFFE’s, GBF’s, and long-lost F’s, All other Family Members and Family Members of Lovers

Hand shakes are for: All strangers, Colleagues

Waving is for: Enormous groups of people, People you don’t like, People who insist on being across the room when you are ready to leave said room.

I’m so glad we could clear that up.

Waves to all of you and kisses to none,



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