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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Smack smack 

Am I the only person who finds the "desi female social hug" confusing? Things were so much simpler when I was younger - men and women were brought up with the principle that you only hug the person you marry ... and that too after you have your first child ... nothing before that :) But those times were different. Those were the days when Pepsi was priced at 5 rupees, cell phones were unheard of, Mahesh Bhatt was spending more time behind the camera than in front of it and Dev Anand was playing an overaged hero. Well, Dev Saab is still playing the non-angry young man (Main Solah Saal Ki) but the other things are beyond imagination today. And one of the new entrants to the many new things we have been exposed to now is the "social hug" - a trend that was there in the West for ages but is fast gaining popularity amongst Indians.

So to begin with - what is a social hug? A social hug is a small hug followed by the gentle brushing of cheeks, followed by a big smile and an occasional gentle pat on the back. It's very different from the "come on baby let's make out" hug where couples hug with passion so intense that you're often left wondering if they are wrestling. It's also very different from the "ohhh! I love you sooo much baby" hug where the girl closes her eyes and squeezes the guy like a drained out lemon. The social hug is supposed to follow three Ss - short, subtle and sweet.

But this post is not a wiki entry on social hugs but a rant o how they scare me. I personally stay away from social hugs simply coz I find it very confusing. Every time a girl approaches me for a social hug I go through all the rules in my mind. Now face it - I am but a techie. To me most things follow an algorithm. So I quickly run it all in my mind.

Do I go for the left side? No. Maybe the right side is better. Whatever it is I should NOT hit her straight.
How long should it be?
Shall I confuse her by whispering crap into her ears?
Am I stinking?
Which one do I go for - gentle half a second hand rest on her back or a gentle two pat motion?
How long should it be?
How long should it be?


And to top it all - the cheek kiss. Who do you think added this gesture to the social hug? That's what scares me most. For those unaware - the cheek-to-cheek kiss is one tricky affair. The two cheeks are supposed to gently brush against each other. Gently - that's the key word. A lil miscalculation and your jaw will go !bam! on the lady's face. But being too cautious is of no help either, coz then you'll just miss the cheek and maybe even hear a lil wooooshing sound (and that my friend mind you is NOT the air between your cheeks but the sound of embarrassment).

Woooooof! Two many complications. Whatever happened to good old hand shakes????

Comments:
uff! I hate the whole hugging thing too...too irritating. There was this female in college who insisted on hugging people like the drained out lemon you mentioned each and every time she met them. And the whole cheek to cheek kiss...aaaarrrggghhh!!! So fake!!
 
i really don't konw what is it with people and hugs.
It seems as if innocence has gone down the drain!
everywhere we look everything is perverted!
 
ok call my circle of friends old fashioned but
the hugs r generally reserved only for girls,
yaa but i did experience the kinda hugs u r talking 'bout
but I din know that they evoke so many moments of musing ....
 
lol... Only you can turn somethin as simple as a friendly / warm / social hug into something so alarmingly complicated.
*looks around to see if anyone's around*

Psssst...TO be honest, I am kinda weary of the social hug meself. Someone should enact the Social Hugging and Being Hugged Rules in Social Gatherings Rules, 2005.
 
I dunno, I'm ok about social hugs, as long as my partner doesn't have any body odour, and doesn't try to crush me like a lemon (as mentioned before!).

But I think social hugs should be restricted to only between friends. Like when you wish someone goodbye when she's leaving Cal.
 
it looks very weird when desi-females do so.......but they haven't changed the way they greet guys....very bad!
 
Lol! I know exactly what you are talking 'bout. But thankfully I've had to go through with this only with girls. And I'm not used to it. I always get confused as to what I should do and finally end up looking like a clutz. I hate it! I'd rather just say 'bye', wave and smile. Sigh! Those were simpler days!!
 
and have you noticed how most social hugs are shoulder-hugs? that is to say, the parties involved seem to be greatly mindful about keeping there bodies from touching anywhere other than at the shoulders and collarbones? chest-to-chest is almost impossible to avoid, but somehow, some people manage to do that as well!
repression, repression, i tell you.
:D
 
@ron - :) oh you should see the lemon hug when the guy is wearing a sweater - you can be assured that the sweater will be put through tests it has never gone through :)

@someone-somewhere - aha now this sounds like teh prelude to an Enigma song :)

@swathi - ok i will call your circle of friends old fashioned - old fashioned :))

@archster - oh you wait - that book is coming out soon and with lurid illustrations too :)

@kanti - do i sense a lil childhood romance here :)

@arijit - i feel your plight mate :))

@truth-fairy - thankfully boys dont do it unless there is a woman involved - or at least thats how it is till now :)

@teleute - oh i face that problem every time and for men it tranlates to - one false move and you are a pervert :)
 
Lol Sagnik, at the next hugging occasion, will look to see if the guy is following your rules :-))
 
Sagnik, my last misadventure at trying to hug a desi guy was about 4 years ago at a Diwali celebration at our university. I leaned forward to hug an acquaintance, and he took two horrified steps back exclaiming "Abhi itne bhi Amreekan nahin huey hain". I've been wary of hugging most desi casual acquaintances ever since (Desi friends whom I've known for a while are totally fine with a hug and kiss).

But my boyfriend is Greek, and among them, kisses on both cheeks (never between two men though :) ) are de rigeur. Even among those who met but a few hours ago. I've become so used to the two kiss formula, that I'll probably commit another faux pas on a desi guy soon.
 
@aparna - :)) you now know who to blame if he screws up :)

@thalassa - ... if you screw up with some desi - you can always hug and make up :))
 
I hate the social hug :( - I've found the best way to get out of it is -

1) Start coughing like crazy when it looks like someone is going to hug you

2)Pretend you didn't know that they were about to hug you, so they are left there with their arms extended, while you take a step backward, or

3) If you can't avoid it, accidentally step on their toe or something during the hug.. they'll get the message ;)
 
@mary - that was Brillianttttt :)) awesome :) specially 1 and 3 - hats off :)
 
A agree, that was an awesome comment.

Sagnik, no romance, she was just a very good friend who left Cal. Besides, she probably had a boyfriend back then.
 
Seriously man this hugging thing is always on my mind when i meet up with fren's wife/gf....when in doubt just smile or a hand shake does it for it...nice to know am not the only one!
 
My thoughts exactly. more here
 
No friend-type-female has ever tried to hug yours truly...but that may just have been my reputation preceeding me.

If someone ever does I shall do the hugging and then smile contentedly and say "That was nice".

Guaranteed last hug.
 
@kanti - chah! here i was hoping some mush and boy ou have let me down :(

@vin - we are a part of a huge group my frien :)

@dewdrop - thanks, shall visit it promptly

@greatbong - what say i add a whole "hmmmmm" before it - "hmmmm, slurp slurp ... that was nice" :))
 
I tend to do the 'one handed hug' if that makes sense. Not to put both arms around the other person, just one arm behind the other person's back and a casual touch at the shoulder level.

Seems to work, except the people who know me, make fun of my version of hug. :-)

On another note, there is a Seinfeld episode about this. Isn't there one about anything we face nowadays? Anyway, Jerry does not want to cheek-kiss this woman (Wendy Malick, who later appeared on Just Shoot Me) and he is tired of being forced into it every time he sees her. So one day as soon as she enters the apartment, Jerry digs his face deep into the freezer and says 'hi' from there! :-)

Quite a problem, this new level of greeting. Good post!
 
@RPM - ah yes the Seinfeld episode - i have always said that the reason why Seinfeld and FRIENDS became sitcom classics is coz you can find references to them in day to day issues
 
Good one.
 
interestingly nice thought and observaton.
 
@anirudh and ankur - thanks :)
 
Oh my God. Is it really that bad for you poor guys? :)

We just go in there and hug, that's it!
 
@Sagnik - yes, more Seinfeld than Friends. But both are classics anyway.
 
Ah !Another blog with a Seinfeld reference
That episode is hilarious. It was an initiative by Kramer i think, wherein all the residents of the apartment block stick their photos in the lobby along with their names so that everybody could get to know everyone else.This sets off the whole kissing thing
Maybe Jerry's suggestion that polite cheek kissing be accompanied by some polite breast touching motivate you to look upon this practice more favourably :-)
 
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