In South America women greet women with a kiss on the right cheek. Men greet men with a firm hand shake or a quick embrace. Men greet women with a kiss on the cheek and maybe an embrace.
In Thailand people greet each other with a wai. [a prayer motion, hands to the heart, the nose or the fore head; depending on the level of respect that needs to be given.]
In my family we tend to give a quick hug or Hello while we try to figure out if a hug is appropriate. Or more likely than not we just say “Hi” and begin talking about what’s happening in our lives.
In Oregon, where I lived for a year, where I just visited for a week after being gone for a year and half, I embraced every person I greeted. I saw my old roommates, my roommates boyfriend, the peoples who’s couch I have crashed on numerous times, old running buddies, my old boss, my brother’s ex girlfriend, some dude I hooked up with years ago, some dude my roommates friend hooked up with years ago, former co-workers, actors and their girlfriends, the girl who’s dating the guy I dated once, that person who gave me acupuncture that one time… we all hugged. Every time I saw each person–whether it had been a year and half or I saw them at the coffee shop the morning before–we embraced, smiled and enjoyed each others body warmth.
I could write about the trails I hiked and ran on, the people I caught up with, the drama I’m glad to not be a part of in such a small town, the babies my friends have had, the engagement rings and the emotions I felt when I was able to spend time with people who are very important to me.
But I’m writing about hugs. When was the last time you got a really good embrace? Like, full body contact, arms wrapped around each other and you didn’t let go until you felt like you were ready to let go. Do it. Go give someone a hug, (maybe I’ll be lucky and I’ll see you right after you read this and I will get that hug!) But do it, find someone you care about and give a good hug. You know you’ll both enjoy it.