Thursday, March 31, 2011

With Open Arms

Let's talk mugging.  And by mugging, I mean hugging between men.  Although being robbed is comparably startling, as I realized just now as I watched two men clinch and release on the street.  The sight was utterly galvanizing - a dead giveaway that it's not something you see every day.

Men, this is collosally unfair!  Women are forced by the long arm of the law (of the land) to embrace everyone and their mother and her dog.  We're supposed to hug profligately, multiple times per encounter, canoodling at the barest hint of acquaintance.  I met you in 1983?  You once tutored my father's sister's friend?  We had a single heartfelt conversation in the dentist's waiting room?  Come here, you!

For us last bastions of standoffishness -the few, the proud, the squeamish- all this hugging is ...constricting.  Like boa constrictor constricting.  Oh, sure, I hug.  It's not awful; hugging is within the realm of my ability to tolerate.  Often, I even go in first, the better to exorcise, efficiently, the specter of bodily contact.  But I don't enjoy it.

Sure, you could argue that the sight of men hugging should be more commonplace and less shocking, more de riguer and less riveting.  You could decry the dearth of emotional outlets for men in our society, the stigma associated with the overt expression of male affection. 

My line of argument is simpler: Men, if I have to be miserable, you should, too.   Get over here.

No comments: