HUGGING: OUR NATIONAL GREETING? - Newcitizen presents a roundup of opinions.

Two weeks ago, a thread on a very important issue was begun. As a new country, it seemed important that some sort of greeting between citizens to enable them to acknowledge and celebrate their citizenhood be agreed upon.

The ‘hug’ was suggested, on the grounds that “it will create a more caring, loving nation".

A chorus of agreement followed, with only the occasional dissenting voice suggesting alternatives, such as the ‘handshake’. Platonic cyber-hugs were also exchanged, utilizing brackets.

It was pointed out that the ‘hug’, if adopted, would be “universally recognized”, and that “we don't want to be an elitist country where citizens are mocked for getting (something like) a handshake wrong”.

Further messages of approval followed, which were gracefully acknowledged by the thread's instigator, who stated that “it makes me feel a little warm and squidgy inside” to have so many people supporting the idea.

It was at this point that controversy briefly and mildly raised its ugly head, when one citizen drew attention to a previous thread on ‘cuddles’, and pointed out the similarity between a ‘hug’ and a ‘cuddle’, and suggested that they “joined forces”.

A magnanimous apology for appearing to have purloined the idea followed, but the author of the 'hug' thread stated that they had not seen the thread on 'cuddles'.

A debate then ensued about the difference between a ‘cuddle’ and a ‘hug’, and whether it might perhaps be best for the ‘cuddle’ to be “saved for couples in the privacy of their home". It was pointed out that perhaps one might prefer not to be put in a situation in which one might have to cuddle one’s bank manager.

The issue of whether adopting the hug as a routine gesture of greeting might devalue it as “an expression of love” then arose, and the distinction was posited that hugs are more formal than cuddles, which are intimate expressions of affection between two people.

A note of dissent occurred when it was pointed out that “we are not in Oprah Winfrey country”. The problem was then raised of what to do in the case of a citizen being faced with a rather unprepossessing fellow citizen. The latter conundrum seemed to be wisely ignored by the supporters of the ‘hug’, except to suggest that the ‘back pat’ could be a useful means of compromise.

Sensitivity was counseled, with the suggestion that a careful approach be made and the body language of the ‘huggee’ be carefully noted, in order to take the level of ‘hug’ only to that with which both parties were comfortable.

It was suggested that the hug be avoided when one or both parties were suffering from infectious illness.

A note of flirtatiousness then entered the thread, between persons who shall remain nameless, but this was quickly tamed and mutual, non-flirtatious hugs were exchanged.

The ‘hug’ was also taken out into the community on a trial basis, with one citizen reporting the hugging of an area manager, and the addition of the ‘air kiss’ was mooted.

The overwhelming majority of citizens who posted on the thread seemed to feel that the ‘hug’ would be an excellent National Gesture.

What do you think?

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