Friday, January 12, 2007

Shaking hands & hugging uncles

"But remember, while today it is me, we all shall fall..... In other words, I'm quitting." - D. Schrute, 1/11/07

Please tell me Dwight is not leaving The Office! Surely he will come back. If not, I may begin

24 starts Sunday night!!!

Since I was old enough to remember, at holidays and other family gatherings, Bone family tradition has called for the men to hug the women and shake hands with the other men.

I'm fine with this. Never had a problem with it. This plan works for me. It's just how it's always been. Unwritten protocol, if you will.

Until this year.

The fun started Christmas Eve when I was approached by Cousin #1. Expecting a handshake, I was completely caught off guard when he lunged in quickly and extended his arm out to the side. Before I knew what was happening, we were locked in a one-armed full-frontal man hug.

As I pulled away (thinking to myself, what was that?), I made the decision that Cousin #1 was just overzealous, or not familiar with the family protocol, or something. And that this incident was an exception to the rule.

So I made the rounds, hugged a couple of aunts, played with the kids. Then I was approached by Cousin #2. Now, I don't think I've ever hugged Cousin #2 in my entire life. Ever. And saw no reason for this time to be any different.

I stepped in slightly and began to extend my right arm for the manshake. At the same time, he took a deep step and began to extend his arm out to the side for the one-arm embrace. By that time, this was becoming an all too familiar scene for me.

Seeing that I was going for the shake, he stopped his hug mid-lunge, adjusted his route, and shook my hand. "Uhh... Merry Christmas," I managed. Talk about awkward.

Although if I'm going to find myself in the middle of a mis-greet, I'd much rather be the undergreeter than the overgreeter. To me, it's better to be considered standoffish or aloof than to be lunging in for a hug with a guy who only wants a shake.

The other thing about this is, as humans, it's difficult to turn down a greeting. Whether it's a handshake, a hug, or a kiss. When someone offers, it takes a bold person to pull away and refuse that greeting altogether.

Back to our story. Finally, I encountered Uncle #1. Much like Cousin #2, I don't think I've ever hugged Uncle #1. At least not since I was like four. Still, by that time, I figured everyone must be hugging each other this year.

As Uncle #1 approached, I stepped in deep and extended my right arm out to the side, preparing for the one-arm full-frontal embrace. Well, as you probably guessed, this appeared to catch Uncle #1 by surprise. So we ended up in an awkward hug where one shoulder is touching but the hips are four feet apart.

By that time, I had no idea what was going on. So I planted myself on the couch for the rest of the night where I wouldn't be forced to make anymore greeting decisions.

In closing, I am not opposed to hugs. Hugs are, after all, a handshake from the heart. Besides, it beats that most primitive of all rituals of punching each other in the arm that guys do between the ages of 13 and, um, indeterminate.

Most of the time, I would even rather have a hug than a kiss. Especially if it's from a hot girl who I like, and think I might be able to gently coerce into kissing me later.

So see? I'm pro-hug. Heck, we can even greet each other with an holy kiss for all I care.

I'd just prefer a little warning, that's all.

"I see friends shaking hands, saying how do you do. They're really saying, I... love... you..."


  1. I think men have gotten "into" hugging lately. I have noticed more men hugging in public, at bars, on the street, even at the office. Although, the hug it is usually followed by some sort of handshake jive that I don't understand. Maybe this handshake jive is the key to the "man hug", you should look into it. Woman have it easier, we can hug just about anyone and it isn't too uncomfortable. I personally have to warm up to someone before I hug them. I have some friends I always hug, other not so much.

  2. God. I love watching men make eyes across the room, and instantaneously run towards each other, arms outstretched...

    And give each other high fives.

    Err, not. I actually like seeing men bear hug and whack each other on the back. I think it's cute.

  3. A "Holy Kiss", eh?
    I may need a little more information on that.

    I know two guys who greet each other with pats on the butt.
    I like to HOPE it's because they played football together in college or highschool . . .but a big part of me wonders if there are some homosexual tendencies on one side or the other.

    You ALWAYS make me laugh, Bone! Keep it up.

    PS - I know women who are deathly afraid and hold great hatred for the "hug greeting".

  4. i guess you didn't get the family memo about the instituted man hug? i'm pro-hug but i'm affectionate by nature and being female, can get away with it more often. i find bad hugs akin to weak handshakes and oh how i loathe a weak handshake.

    but this is not about me, it's about you. and dwight, of course. who will NOT be leaving the show. since the pam/jim drama has dwindled they had to bring up some new angst. it wouldn't be the office without him! (that speech part was hilarious!)

  5. Hotpinksox: Hmm, perhaps this is a question for Burt Reynolds and the guys of the Man Law roundable.

    Oh, and yes, the secret, cool handshake. All guys do that. And I would demonstrate the shake for you, but it's top secret ;-)

    Eileen: Yes, somehow if you hit the other guy hard enough, that makes whatever greeting you just engaged in OK.

    Elizabeth: I believe the holy kiss is an ancient Hebrew custom, but don't hold me to that.

    Haha, you should ask them next time: "Did you guys play football together?"
    "Uh, no. Why do you ask?"

    Ms. Sizzle: No, I guess I missed the memo. Yeah, I think it is a bit easier for girls.

    I hope you're right. It definitely won't be nearly as good without him. Not even close. What else did he say? "One of my goals was to die in this chair. Well, today, that dream has been shattered." Or something.

  6. Love the whole thing--wonderful slice of life and true encounter story. My favorite paragraph:
    Hugs are, after all, a handshake from the heart. Besides, it beats that most primitive of all rituals of punching each other in the arm that guys do between the ages of 13 and, um, indeterminate.

    Says it all

    I would much rather be the undergreeter than--Bone where do you come up with these Boneisms. Please change your screenname before I find myself using Bone as an identifier

    You ended with the best song of all time, I think. Only own five Louis versions

  7. I still think you should just go the route of the dogs...lift your legs and sniff each other's's what you all really want to do to size each other up, I know.

  8. To me, it's better to be considered standoffish or aloof than to be lunging in for a hug with a guy who only wants a shake. Why?

    And now that I've asked, I can (probably) answer.

    When I lived in Spain, everyone greeted each other with dos besos, or two kisses, one on each cheek. For me, meeting someone for the FIRST FREAKING TIME, kissing them was awkward. Weird. Stilted. Still though, when in Rome (Granada actually) and all...

    To this day though, I find that awkward.

    That said, in case you didn't notice... I'm all about hugs. I hug everyone. Everyone that is, except the friends (male) I grew up with. My guy friends from the last couple of years are so used to hugs it's not even funny: I try to hug my best guy friend and he's going to wonder what the heck is wrong with me. It's a matter of what you're used to with one another I think.

    I will say though, if a guy isn't willing to hug me, he needs to go.

    And I usually prefer hugs to kisses too. Hugs show more true emotion in my opinion, and yeah, it's fun to see what they'll lead to. ;-)

  9. Hmmm, sorry, a wee bit long. I'll work on that for next time, so that I leave a comment on your blog, instead of a post. ;)

  10. No, I'm not obsessed...

    Love the change back. :)

  11. oooooooh I hate not knowing which type of greeting is called for! And when someone switches up the greeting after years of doing it another way...I'm just dumbfounded!

    One year my Mom went in for the Hug and Kiss with me...after all my life it just being a hug. I was shocked of course! I don't know what was up with that...maybe she was lonely. She's never done it again.

    Most of the family, I've got figured out. It's always odd when there's a new family member (married in) to figure out the new system.

    FIL-wanted the hug & kiss (he's since passed away)
    SIL#1-sometimes hug
    SIL#2-Hug; her husband wave from across the room
    BIL#1-Hug; his wife-sometimes hug unless she's got a kid in arms
    BIL#2-no greeting

    my brothers Hugs, SIL#1- no greeting; SIL#2-Hug

    Most neices & nephews hugs...a few are shy and we respect that.

    Then there's the Aunts & Uncles! LOL!
    AND DH hugs the women, handshakes the men...including his brothers, which to me seems weird.

  12. Glad I'm not the only one..

    And I totally love the GH stuff in the sidebar!

  13. Pia: I think the Boneisms must be from the many years of watching Seinfeld. They always had little names for people and things on there.

    You may be right about the song. It definitely deserved to be attached to a better blog entry than this :)

    Lass: Ewwww... no! Besides, we're just beginning to progress beyond the high-five. Let's keep moving forward.

    TC: Like you said, I think it's all about what you're used to. And when in doubt, undergreet.

    Don't worry about the long comment. You were understandably excited after seeing Joey McIntyre ;-)

    Renee: One year my Mom went in for the Hug and Kiss with me...after all my life it just being a hug.

    That is exactly what I'm talking about. Glad you can relate. And why do you think it's weird that DH hugs the women and handshakes the men? That's what I do. Or did.

    Burg: I need to blog more about GH. Thanks for stopping by :)

  14. You made me laugh out loud. I never knew what difficulties men had to endure. We women...we just hug everybody :)
    Thanks for today's smile! :)

  15. glad to know that you're "pro-hug" lol Great story, families are crazy, we still shake hands

  16. Are you mocking me? *raised eyebrow* I think you're mocking me?

    I think you're just jealous that I got to see JM and you didn't. ;)

    See, it's not always a good thing to undergreet though. If I undergreeted in Spain, it was a sign of disrespect, which is never good.

    I can't decide which line I like better: Hugs are, after all, a handshake from the heart. OR I might be able to gently coerce into kissing me later..

  17. Sorry that didn't come out right. I think it's weird that he handshakes with his brothers...not that they need to hug. It's just that they don't even seem comfortable with it. It looks very awkward. But when he shakes hands with my brothers it looks normal.

    glad to crack you up with my ranting.

    "sunrise, sunset. swiftly go the years..."

  18. I hug my mom and dad. That's it. I don't hug friends, even ones I've known for years. I might hug someone on a special occasion, like a wedding or funeral or graduation or something, but other than that, no contact. Not even handshakes really. I think it stems from growing up in a military environment where PDAs weren't allowed except in extreme circumstances, like the spouse leaving for or coming home from a war.

  19. Bone, Bone, Bone--it was a very good blog entry on a subject I had only looked at from my own perspective as I come from a family that the expression "kiss, kiss" was invented for.

    You know, pucker your lips, hold out your hands in some weird manner and say "kiss kiss."

    That actually makes us sound classier than we are. We're germophobic and not comfortable kissing people other than people of the opposite sex in private

    Except for my parents who would make out whenever and wherever. Oh to grow up with such expectations.

    Why am I saying all this just because you have cast me in the unwitting mentor role?

  20. I'm glad you mentioned 24... I've got it loaded up in my DVR!

  21. I actually watched that episode when it aired and didn't wait a week-ish to watch it on TiVo. Yay me? Yeah, yay me.

  22. Jennifer: Glad you got a laugh out of it. Yeah, women don't seem to handshake as much as men.

    Sage: I'm definitely pro-hug. And prefer to be the undergreeter.

    TC: Nah, once JM hit puberty, I didn't like him anymore.

    I wonder why some cultures seem to be more affectionate. Or at least more liberal with their kisses. Like you said, when in Rome...

    Renee: Well, I don't have any brothers, so I can't really speak to that. But I've noticed guys, in general, hugging more lately. Whatever that means.

    Xinh: That's an interesting perspective. How we interact obviously has a lot to do with how we grew up.

    Pia: Interesting. Exactly how do you hold your hands while saying "kiss kiss?"

    Uisce: I wouldn't miss it! Where was Audrey though?

    Blondie: The Office? You watch The Office? I had no idea, but that makes me happy :)

  23. OMG you had me in stitches here... It was like a scene from Friends!LMAO!!I think you need hug therapy... MAN Hug Therapy as you seem fine with the male-female version! hehehe

    You wrote:
    'The other thing about this is, as humans, it's difficult to turn down a greeting. Whether it's a handshake, a hug, or a kiss. When someone offers, it takes a bold person to pull away and refuse that greeting altogether.'

    I never really thought too much about that but it is really quite true and as you wrote can totally set the mood for the encounter! I usually hug and kiss my friends... male and female. Its kinda the unwritten rule with my friends and family. I have noticed there are some men (friends married to my friends)who do a full on hug and a kiss on the lips... Some of the men are around 2 inches away from body parts really touching and you can tell they just cant even go there but are doing the socially acceptable thing... Most are full huggers cheek kissers. We all have had full conversations together about this topic and many laughs... Every once in a while when I am feeling a bit sassy I will give 2 inch man (gosh wouldnt he be pissed if he knew I referred to him as 2 inch man! lololol) a really long extended kind of pregnant pause hug... He usually ends up making himself a stiff drink! =]

    Great post... and to think I just came to look for last weeks words! lol

    I may borrow your topic for another post. Credit given of course! Afterall we need to follow proper protocol!*wink

    cheers, Kate

  24. Why is it so hard for people to understand that not everyone introduces themselves with a hug? Perhaps we should make t-shirts that we wear to business or family gatherings that says N.O.H.U.G. across the front of it. Then there's no mystery, and if someone DID hug you, you had every right to complain.

  25. I'm starting to wonder about men in general. I find it hilarious to watch them great each other. There is rarely a hug and if it is, it's that half-handsake.half-hug thing. It goes right up on my list of "unexplainable male behavior" right behind the buffer seat!

  26. LOL! I enjoyed that. Sounds like the family tradition is in transition:)

  27. Even though I'm a chick, I still get caught of guard by my family around the holiday's. I never know who wants a hug and who just wants to shake. It's really weird, I usually just stand there, but that backfired when I had family I didn't even know giving me a kiss on the lips. I'm fine with a kiss on the cheek, but the lips...ewwwwwwwwww.....I never did that growing up, even with my parents. So hang in there Bone, and if you ever figure out how to decipher the hug/shake code, let me know.

  28. once JM hit puberty, I didn't like him anymore Soooo, you had a thing for him before his voice changed, is that it?

  29. funny. I always just hug everybody so nobody feels slighted. that's just me.

  30. I use to quite the hugger, I've stopped. I think it's Sweden. They are handshake people. I think they would run in fear if I hugged them and kissed their cheeks.

  31. Great Post! Too funny! I think Hugging must be "in" this year. I've had a few of those awkward moments....I'm a hugger everyone in my family and friends knows that but not too long ago I was leaving and went to hug a (not so close) friend...I was going for a hug he was coming in to kiss me on the cheek I turn and the kiss landed too close to my lips....I pulled away like he burned I laughed nervously as his girlfriend shot me a dirty look!

  32. Kate: Wow, no one kisses me on the lips at all other than a girl I may be interested in.

    Glad you enjoyed it.

    Zeus: Haha. N.O.H.U.G. shirts. I like it. Why don't you CafePress those.

    DCChick1: Glad we could amuse you ;-)

    Actonbell: Thanks for stopping by :)

    Jen: Well, see my above comment to Kate about kisses on the lips. Wow, I don't know what I'd do if some family member tried that with me.

    TC: He was blissful on Please Don't Go, Girl.

    East: That's fine, just so long as you don't change up and start handshaking. That's what confuses people :)

    Lux: Perhaps. But it would sure make for a fun little sociological experiment ;-)

    RedNeckGirl: I think you may be right. Maybe this is the year of the hug and I just missed the announcement.

  33. no one kisses me on the lips at all other than a girl I may be interested in. Whose the girl? Huh, huh? Besides Nan, obviously. ;)

    Maybe you can play Please Don't Go, Girl to her, and you can share a moment with JM.

  34. I am a hugger and a sometimes a kisser, it depends on the friend. With that being said, it usually takes me about 10 minutes to leave a scheduled event filled with friends and or family. To me, this is my way of letting them know that I really care about them. And for the ones who are just acquaintances, well a wave good bye will do just fine.

  35. TC: (rolling eyes) Just in general. I only kiss on the lips a girl I am dating or might wish to date

    We've been together for a long time baby... do you have to leave?

    SkyDancer069: I understand. My Mom's family can get quite large. So sometimes making the rounds saying your goodbyes can take a few minutes. It's like someone will tell you goodbye, then ten minutes later, you see them in another room still trying to leave.