Let’s Bring It In

“C’mon, now. Give us a hug.” – Not Me

Ok, big news in the Silver Fox family from this past weekend: Number One Son has returned to Portland with his family after living away for just about ever. They weren’t far away, just a few hours of driving.

The Fox and Sallory, though are looking forward to having the grandbebe available in real life versus FaceTime, so it was quite an exciting weekend!

In related news, The Fox abandoned me for the weekend again to help with the move.

To make up for it, The Fox bought his son a “Welcome to the ‘Hood” beer at Big Legrowlski after they arrived in town.

Oh, and invited me along to say “Hi!”…that was the “making up for it” part.

Fortunately for me, this just happened to be the weekend that a couple of friends came into town for the weekend. That was well played, indeed, Universe.

What do these events have in common?

Beer.

Obviously.

Lots.

But, also, hugs.

Lots and unexpectedly lots of hugs.

I haven’t seen my visiting friends or The Fox’s son in person in years. But it was when I walked up to find Fox & Son outside the BL (as we call it), tossing back already in progress, that I started thinking about hugs as a communication device.

This is a big deal for me, since I don’t come from what I’d call a hug culture.

Well, apart from trees, that is.

I remember the family send off at my sister’s wedding as she and her husband took off for their honeymoon. We all stood in a receiving type line as she hugged her way to the car. It was all pretty standard rite of passage stuff until she gets to Black Sheep Bro and they hug. Gradually, he raises one leg and slowly wraps it around her hip. It was a pretty funny moment as well as a commentary on how little our family hugged, since he blurred the lines between platonic and intimate with his.

Although, I’m sure that meaning was hidden from him at the moment.

Regardless, we all got a good chuckle.

Maybe it’s just me and my shoddy memory. Then again, maybe my memory is correct this time around and my family was actually hug naive.

I don’t really care.

However, as an adult, I don’t really remember hugging to be part of a normal family greeting or farewell past the wedding hug until Sacha came into the pic. Then again, maybe we were re-traumatized by that wedding incident. Who knows?

Say what you will about Sacha – and if you ask him, I’m only ever barfing negative and embarrassing shit about him into the universe – but I remember hugging becoming a part of my family experience during his visits to our family gatherings.

It was kinda weird to see him hug my mom goodbye while I just chucked her on the shoulder with a casual, “Take care of yourself, Old Girl”. At first I managed no better than a one-armed side hug. Gradually, I was able to work my way up to a full frontal two-armed job because: growth.

So, when my Seattle friends arrived in town on Friday, it was the usual quick “gay friend w/a peck” greeting for us all and we were off. Honestly, not my favorite part of the gay culture, but given the expression I am happy bending to the cultural norms with my close friends who are so inclined. Casual acquaintances don’t get the same courtesy, they can make due with my normal not at all awkward typical greeting…

I didn’t think about those quick, off the cuff greetings that are the usual until I got to the BL yesterday and told Number One Son not to get up since he had his pup on his lap. He gave me an “oh, nonsense!” type response and got up to hug me.

That was when it dawned on me.

Well, 10 seconds later it dawned on me as I dropped my arms but couldn’t move away because I was still being hugged. The length of my embrace was just about the same amount of time it took to silently congratulate myself for not gay-smooch-greeting my best friend’s straight son – hey, nobody’s perfect. But that’s where I’m still newish to this whole hugging thing.

I’m assuming NOS was raised in a hugging environment. The Fox will confirm my suspicion soon enough. And it shows, because he’s got some serious hug game.

In my spare time while he wrapped things up, I started thinking about how sincere the greeting was. Not casual, like I’m used to with those carefree gay greetings where I find myself doling my casual greetings out only to significant people in my life.

Reread that.

How fucked up is that statement? Rationing out a throw away gesture to people I care about.

Now, back to NOS. As I’m standing there recanting my earlier silent congratulatory “attaboy” and chastising myself for blowing the appropriate hug duration. Then I relax into it and can feel the subtext of his hug.

It’s genuine.

Sincere.

Like I said, he had some good hug game and he’s happy to see me.

Me.

Miserable, old, grumpy Xtopher.

But that sharing of a physical connection as a greeting. Well, I started to ponder when that dropped out of our human or American cultural norm – I’m betting on the latter – and whether, no…how that impacted how we treat one another present day. I admit that I am one to harrumph at demonstrations of our discarding of social graces and niceties. I am also one to call myself out when maybe I’m part of the problem.

Potentially.

Now, I’m not suggesting that we spend 15 minutes hugging ourselves into and out of each family or social gathering, who has that kind of time? But let me tell you, after yesterday’s hug? I’m good for a while. I only wanted one beer as we sat chatting…but I fully admit that it could have been more a product of me being both cold – since we were sitting outside and it was 56 degrees – or my dinner nachos making me full.

But why not a combination of all three?

I like when something so seemingly innocent provides me the chance to think about how I interact with others and what I can learn from exposing myself – not like that – to other people.

It inspires me.

To be a better son.

And friend.

And person.

So, I can add Number One Son to the too short roster of truly great huggers in my life. It’s good to have him in town. I’m looking forward to seeing how The Fox adjusts to having family close by, I know his people mean a lot to him and the poor guy is usually stuck with this grumpy old bastard.

I apologize for the lack of media for your viewing pleasure in this post. I had a couple of fun hug gifs to enhance the theme, but WordPress was being wonky and would let me add them in.

And people wonder why I’m grumpy…now I need another hug.

Let’s Bring It In

6 thoughts on “Let’s Bring It In

  1. Now I am a hugger and I’ll give hugs out freely but I always have the moment when meeting people for the first time Do you hug, nod, hand shake, how does one greet someone they are meeting for the first time.
    My friends generally know that I am a hugger so once we are friends you are guaranteed a hug on Hello and Goodbye.

    P.S tho we live on opposite sides of the world note if we ever meet you will get a hug.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally get that moment of pause when greeting someone new, even though I’m not a hugger by default.
      But I’m quickly coming to really appreciate a good, long, sincere hug. I bet your friends are all happy to see you coming! And if you ever come my way, I’ll try to give as good as I get from ya! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What I wanna do here is ask for a guest post. First though, hug your Mom. Regardless of why you don’t, hug your Mom. I had that Mom, and one day they’re gone and you’ll remember the good one long after the one armed ones have faded. What wasn;t discussed here is/was what makes one a shallow hugger, or despise and turn with disgust from them, thereby almost making yourself one of them. The a**hole who hugs everything with boobs and a heartbeat that walks through the door of any religious building and one-arms the “bros.” The half lit corporate figurehead, the fat lady who runs internal sales who gets a frontal or makes your life miserable…i say that not to bum on your post, but to let you know half assed hugging is a defense mechanism against unewanted conctact with the insincere or lecherous. Nothing beats a good hug. Nothing is quite as disgusting as a bad one.
    Hug. Your. Mom. Drive across town, across the country, whatever. Hug. Your. Mom.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do have to say, I think we’ve gotten rather good at hugging well in the last decade and a half, my family.
      But, I’m happy to get a grade on my lunchtime hug with mom tomorrow – although, let’s face it…she’s gonna give me at least a B+ because she’s my mom and thinks everything I do is pretty good. Still, checking in in any relationship is important, right? So I love your point!
      It’s amazing how many damn hugs I’ve gotten in the last 24 hours…it all started w/Number One Son and since then I’ve gotten two awesome ones from his mom, heard an unprompted story from her – before she read the blog – about the hug her Lyft driver gave her yesterday in NYC, and went to pick up my wine club wines last night and the owner of the shop put down her food, got up and ran across the shop to give me an unexpected killer hug…just to name a few.
      I’m happy to say that I experienced and appreciated them all. Didn’t phone any of them in, so maybe there’s hope for me yet!

      Liked by 1 person

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