Straight Guy Half Huggers

June 27, 2010


We all have different ways of saying hello. Some of us, like my dad, give you the quarter head nod that simply says “sup”. Some of us, like my Uncle R, of UJR, kiss on the cheek. He does it mostly for shock value, but nonetheless that’s his chosen form of greeting. There are some, mostly inbred morons and right-wing Republicans whose form of saying hello is to totally ignore you, until they learn if you agree with everything they believe in. And there are even some, like bf’s best friend’s mother, who thinks it’s socially acceptable to kiss on the lips, even if you’re meeting for the first time. I chose none of the above. When I meet someone I prefer to hug. It’s polite without being stuffy, personal without being creepy and is easily adaptable to different sexes, varying ages and a myriad of cultures. All in all, it’s definitely the best way to say hello.

Recently though, I’ve been noticing that, just as there are many ways of physically expressing a greeting, there are also a multitude of ways to give a hug.

First, there’s the back pat hug. That’s when, during a traditional hug, one of the huggers pats the other on the back to signal that they are ready to disengage. These usually take place when one of the parties involved harbors unspoken hostile feelings towards one another. Think if Madonna hugged Lady Gaga. She’d definitely give her a back pat.

Next is the cousin of the back pat hug: the back rub hug. And, as with its cousin, this hug covers unspoken feelings, but instead of them being hostile, it’s usually a case of unrequited love. For example, if Zac Efron and I were ever introduced, you can be sure I’d rub his back during our hug. Him and a slew of other Hollywood hotties too long to list.

That brings us to the side hug. This one is reserved for people who don’t like one another at all, but for whatever reason, are forced to hug. What happens is: the two huggers go in for a traditional hug when one, or both of them pivots ninety degrees. The two end up wrapping one arm around the others shoulder and tapping hips like they’re getting ready for a Rockettes high kick sequence. Because I hate him more than words, but an forced to hug him because we’re family, this is how I hug my loathsome Uncle M.

Best are the non-verbal “I love you” hugs. These are reserved for only the most special people in your life. Grandmothers are usually the best at giving them. They’re like being wrapped in a cocoon of love and understanding. It’s the one hug that can instantly make you forget about all your problems or bring you to tears. I think we all know who these are reserved for in our lives. If you don’t, I’m very sorry for you.

In the last few years a new hug type has hit the scene. It’s what I like to call the Straight Guy Half Hug (SGHH) because I’ve only ever seen it between two terminally hetero males. Even though it looks like a hug, I don’t think it can be categorized as such.

There are three criteria to determine if something is a hug or just two people running into one another. First, there must be upper body contact. Second, there must be an embrace that lasts a significant amount of time and third, there must be some type of arm wrapping around the other person’s body. The SGHH only partly meets these requirements, if at all.

Before the SGHH, when two straight guys see one another they usually give a high five gesture or some other dudely sign that acknowledges the other person. As they walk towards each other, they extend their arms like two feuding birds trying to establish dominance. When they’re about three feet apart they extend their arms as far as they can and make first contact. They may bump knuckles or shake hands or give one of those stupid secret fraternity handshakes. Whatever they do, the next steps are where it gets strange and the hug hugely diverges from the norm.

From that three feet distance they each plant one foot of the ground, never to move. The other foot takes a very small step and they lean into one another. With their hands still locked in whatever initial greeting they gave, they raise their interlocked hands to their chests and move in for the kill.

Again, with their free arm, they swing it around, extending it as far as possible. Then, with lighting fast speed and feline like reflexes, they bump their chests to their clutched hands, pat each other on the back once, and only once, and then, as soon as it started, it’s over.

To recap hug requirements vis-a-vis the SGHH: 1) upper body contact. SGHH fails…the clenched hands interrupt the possibility of chest to chest contact, or anything else for that matter. 2) significantly long embrace. SGHH fails…you practically need a stop action camera to even see if anything happened. 3) arm wrap. SGHH fails…although arms wrap around, the only contact is the brief second a hand hits a back. Then, the arm retracts.

My advice to Straight Guy Half Huggers: Give it up. If you’re not going to hug properly, don’t do it at all. To put it in terms you may understand, let me quote Yoda: “Do or do not. There is no try.”

My advice to everyone else: The next time you see a SGHH, just run up and push them together. The result should be pretty interesting.

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15 Responses to “Straight Guy Half Huggers”


  1. Heh. Yeah, the result would be getting yelled at ;p

    Dunno. It’s quite a step forward for those sorts of guys to even acknowledge that they are going to touch… Hell. The hands aren’t in a handshake and their other arms are touching another guy, too!

    I give them props for baby-steps progress.

    And I’m totally glad you’re one of the huggers of the world. We need more of that.

    What do you make of all that foo-fera about the two Marines? That was in your now-hometown, right?

  2. marsha Says:

    Fathers used to teach their sons how to give a firm handshake. They need to add how to give a good hug. Sorry sweetie not gonna happen with your dad.PS, not a fan of the swinging to the right and then the left hug. xoxo

  3. Carleen Says:

    Too funny! All of the men in my family hug that way, unless they are hugging a make child under the age of 10!

  4. Susan Says:

    My husband is a Straight Guy Full Hugger (SGFH?) but it makes his life a living hell. When he moves in for a hug he gets thwarted by the handshake/halfhug all the time. When he makes a new man friend, and they come out as Full Huggers to each other, it pretty much seals the deal that they’ll be BFFs.


  5. Thought you might find this topical…


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