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Writer's Block: Open Arms

Have you ever spontaneously hugged someone you didn't know? Or received an unexpected embrace from a stranger?


Yes, usually at parties or at some public events where something cool has just happened. I'm not shy about that kind of thing. I'm an old hippie. It's all context.

The events themselves are what makes this comfortable. If I had been there among the million people watching Obama's Inauguration yesterday, I would definitely have been hugging whoever was next to me and wasn't pulling away with an "ick don't touch me" look on their face. Yet at other events, I would not think of it and neither would anyone around me.

Any question like this is contextual to a large degree. If you're open to hugging and being hugged, it's not hard to tell who else is -- and it's polite to notice the people who look scared and uptight when the hugging starts, then offer something less frightening like a handshake or not touch them at all. Many people who don't think of themselves as "huggy" may ignore situations where they would hug.

Mr. Butch the sports fan may think he'd never hug anyone, forgetting that he went to the big game and at the winning score was grabbing the straight guy next to him into a bear hug and slapping his back. It's all context.
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