Saturday, September 11, 2004

Rely on hugs
A good hug can do wonders for you, says Barefoot Doctor

Ipersonally learnt hugging was okay from my dad, himself a Ďrealí man among men who used to get hold of me and give me a full-on, breath-stalling bear hug every day when he came home from work and continued to do so whenever we met until he died last year. So for me, it has never been a problem to greet another man I feel love for with a hug. In fact, I tend to give all my close friends, family members and even some business associates with whom Iím close a warm hug and a kiss on the cheek, sometimes both.

Occasionally I weaken and through a moment of shyness or fear of being seen too familiar might punctuate the hug with a bit of back-slapping ó mostly to allay any discomfort the other might feel about such intimacy. But I do believe if more of us got into hugging people we liked, it would make the world a warmer place for all of us, and so am here today to proselytise the cause of the hug and humbly offer instructions should you be out of practice and wish to experiment with it. The perfect hug is best instigated by taking the initiative and opening your arms in a wide-open embrace on reaching approximately 5ft distance from the person youíre greeting. This signals your intent and gives them the option to duck out by offering you their right hand to shake instead.

Providing they go with the invite, however, youíll notice them open their arms in response. Closing the distance, it becomes a simple matter to negotiate the placement of arms. Next, position your chest so that the centre of both your breastbones meet. This is where the warmth is transmitted. Put your hips into it as well, otherwise you look a bit daft with both your bums pulling away from each other. As soon as sufficient warmth has been transmitted, pull away gently - donít linger like my new age friend - and without embarrassment, carry on as you were.

ó The Guardian