I refuse to "bro' hug." I would rather not hug at all.

My parents were not huggers. And that was okay. Really. Hugs came into my life in a big way around 1973 when I joined a large Baptist church in my neighborhood. They had a dynamic youth group, and it seemed everyone was hugging. I liked it.

It is not the same anymore. Oh, my remaining family members like to hug, particularly my sisters, but I am pretty choosy nowadays. Maybe it is because I am over fifty, and people find it creepy hugging an "old guy."

You know what I find creepy? "Bro' hugs" and "side hugs." Instead of an embrace, many man clasp hands and lean in with their forearms shielding their chests. Is a regular hug too "gay" anymore? I refuse to "bro' hug." I would rather not hug at all. It reminds me of overnight school and church trips spent in budget hotels with two to a bed. One guy would sleep under the sheet with the other on top of the sheet, yet both would use the bedspread. The thin yin-yang "S" of sheer sheet indicated that they were not "sleeping together." Whatever gets you through the night.

A lot of girls prefer the blatant insincerity of a side hug anymore. Is this to keep from mussing hair or makeup, or, once again, is an embrace just too intimate for comfort? I eschew side hugs, too.

It is too bad hugging is on the wane. Folks do not know what they are missing. I am so glad I was born when I was, before everything was so frightening. Strangers used to be friends you had not met yet. We were not so mortified of germs that we had to "antibacterialize" everything. Life simply was not such a scary proposition. I am not being revisionist, either, my young readers. It used to be fun. We played all day and slept all night.

You would have loved it.


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