Opinion piece by Richard Bleil
To be completely honest, I have no idea what this blog will be about, but I was speaking with a friend who tells me that when she gets hugs, they’re not hugs with meaning. Obviously, it inspired me, so I’m going to explore hugs with meaning.
Physical hugs are literally important for good health. Hugs release endorphins, which are necessary for good health. It relieves stress, lowers blood pressure, and has other great health benefits, but, to be effective, it is important to have long hugs, and many of them.
There are different types of physical hugs. I’ve always been confused by the “faux hug”, a hug where somebody will people will wrap their arms around each other, but about a foot from actually touching, and perhaps even cheek kissing motions. What is the point to this? Does it mean that people are trying to be real, but so superficial that they have to advertise it?
The “A-frame” hug is one that is held back. These are hugs where two people put their arms around each other’s shoulders, and hug in such a way as to keep genitals well separated. These are hugs without meaning. Let’s be fair, they’re a good start, but lack any real emotion.
Hugs are about contact, on many levels. Physical yes, and sometimes overtly sexual, but the best hugs are an attempt to merge souls. To embrace another, hold the close, as if to try to bring the hearts to be one is so great. While hugging, to put your hand into her hair, feel the softness of it, as if to try to capture the mind just takes the hug that one step further.
Yes, hugs, even if not overt, can be exceptionally sensuous. Long, slow, meaningful touch that connects two people to the spiritual plane where we are all one is exceptionally powerful.
It’s the kind of hug I wish I had as I write this.
Remote hugs are quite popular as social media is keeping people close despite great distance. I tend to get a lot of these, with friends from coast-to-coast. The sentiment is very sweet, but honestly, that’s all it is; sentiment. It is a great way to tell somebody that you’re thinking of them, and wish you could be there to give them that hug in person, but it’s just not the same.
There are ways to give hugs that are not quite so personal as well. I count charitable acts as hugs. It’s really the same thing; it’s a way of reaching out and trying to touch another’s heart.. The recipients of these “hugs”, if you’ll allow me to refer to these acts as such, are in great need of such interaction. A friend of mine worked (until she moved) at a shelter feeding the homeless every Sunday. One day she was rather down. As it turns out, a homeless married couple used to frequent the services, and this charitable act, this virtual hug, resulted in a friendship between the three of them, and, actually, more. They were quite a popular couple at the shelter, and one day, they just didn’t show up. They later discovered that this couple had frozen to death one particularly cold night, found in an embrace that would last for the rest of their lives.
Ours is not a “hugging” society. We’re very hands off, preferring a “nice hardy handshake” over more intimate forms of contact. It’s funny, though, because we seem to enjoy the concept of hugs. We love the idea of volunteering, and applaud those who participate, but few people make the time to do so. We like to argue that we’re too busy, which might be the case, but we also find the time to do what is important with me. My friend always brought her daughter with her to work side by side as they fed the homeless, and I know that this is a critical component of her emotional and giving upbringing, and the reason that her daughter is such a good person today, even at a very young age. We love seeing photos of animals that appear to be in a loving embrace, such as otters or cats and dogs. These memes and photos are shared far and wide. Even in death, the concept of the hug is endearing to us. Recently I came upon a photo of the “couple in eternal embrace”, apparently buried rapidly in the ash of a volcanic eruption while engaged in an intimate embrace.