Two Big Hugs

The first was around noon. The roommate who shares a room with me is heading to Utah to visit family for a couple of weeks, then she’s off to Nauvoo, Illinois to work at a pageant for the Church. She’ll be gone all summer. She’s a great roommate: clean, considerate, easy to talk to. We’ve gotten to be good friends over the past few months.

The second was at Payson Playground in my neighborhood, where my friend Heather Jones was in town from Kazakhstan, and I hadn’t seen her in about a year and a half. She’s as beautiful as ever, and her wonderful children have grown up so quickly. When it came time for me to go, Heather, who’s nearly six feet tall, bent down for a proper farewell embrace. It really warmed my heart to see her again.

People’s hugging styles are vastly different. I understand polite hugging if you don’t know the person very well and maybe one of you has a cold or maybe leprosy, but among close friends? I grew up hugging one way: the giant squeeze. This is how I prefer my hugs, but I’ve grown more accepting of those who hug with a lot less touching and pressure. Fine, I get your method of affection, and I’m grateful, but I don’t think that should qualify as a hug.

Here are a few simple rules about hugging me:

1. I’m very easy to hug. I’m little, kind of like a teddy bear, and people are always putting their arms around me.

2. It’s better to match heights somehow. Either I’ll get taller or you’ll have to bend down, but an effective hug is when both parties can create a tight embrace circumference.

3. You’re not going to break me. Everyone knows how therapeutic hugs are, how the squeezing releases certain neurotransmitters that help calm and comfort and cheer. Just because I’m not all that big doesn’t mean I’m fragile.

4. Don’t be scared. Citing previous reasons – little, huggable, sturdy, and willing to hug big in return or even first. There’s no way that’s scary.

You guys better get your practice in. You’ll need to be ready if I end up leaving the city.

2 thoughts on “Two Big Hugs

  1. I am probably the only person alive to see this entry and think, “Is Payson Park named for the original owner of the Mets?”

    She was Joan Whitney Payson, heiress of the robber-baron Whitney family (relatives of the Kennebunkport Bushes at some level) and husband of one Charles Shipman Payson. Your park is named for a Yale grad and prominent minister named George Shipman Payson. They gotta be related somehow.

    As for huggery, keep me up on your plans for weekend after next. My nieces were supposed to meet us at my sister’s place halfway between there and here, but Donna’s got a serious medical appurntment the following Monday and the younger of my nieces has pronounced herself too boffo preggers to travel that far. So I may offer to meet them two-times-halfway and spend the 13th and 14th driving to and from Connecticut, with a Metro North shot to the city somewhere in there. (No baseball, as that’s Subway Series weekend at Evil Stadium.) If you’re especially serious about this leaving business, there may be a pressing need to press flesh.

  2. I’ve known you 4+ years and didn’t know you like to be hugged. Wow. I found this post both educational and illuminating. Thank you.

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