They Don’t Need Hugs, Either

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
March 11 2011 12:00 PM

They Don’t Need Hugs, Either

Earlier this week I wrote an essay for our "Department ofComplaints" against hugging . Iexplained that while I enjoy hugging family and close friends (at least oncertain occasions), I don't  like forexample embracing people I hardly know at dinner parties, or greeting hugs: Hi! (hug)... Bye! (hug). I was delighted to find that, for the most part, Slate readers also seem to disapprove of this discomfiting social ritual.Commenter Kelly Garon wrote: "I'm so glad I'm not the only non-hugger.Excessive hugging is just another example of the current need to oversharepersonal things." I agree wholeheartedly, Kelly.

There was, however, some dissent. One anonymous commenter(he goes by "D") said I must have a bad relationship with my mother. (I don't!)Another warned me to stay far away from Brazil (where, presumably, non-huggersare treated like lepers). Many joked that I probably just need a good hug. (Idon't!)

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For the skeptics out there, I offer the followingphotographs as proof that greeting hugs are incredibly awkward and should bephased out.

 

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Photographs of: Sarah Palin and John McCain by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images; Will Smith and Gabriele Muccino by Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images; Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank by Win McNamaee/Getty Images.

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Juliet Lapidos is a staff editor at the New York Times.