I’m staying indoors today. It’s National Hugging Day! Are we serious here? I used to despise St. Patrick’s Day because it was the one holiday that encouraged public touching. From the moment I stepped out of bed, I dressed in the “color du jour” from head to toe so there could be no mistake. Live Female Leprechaun standing before you, folks. I was never one of those sly minimalists who tried to trick people into pinching me so I could say, “Aha! Betcha didn’t know I have green-trimmed socks!”
But National Hug Day has taken things too far. Ask people who know me. I have been against the concept of embracing for a long time. It’s not just in public that I abhor it, and not just with complete strangers. Although you should see my reaction as I walk down the street in a college town and some sucker student stands on the sidewalk with his sign, “Free Hugs.” (I used to think this was a fraternity dare, but now I think it’s how they penalize pupils with low GPA’s)
But intimate relationship hugging is not for me either. First of all, that “Circle of Personal Space” (that none of us want to have invaded) stays up 24/7 for me. It doesn’t take little breaks. There’s never a sign around my torso stating, “Circle out to lunch, back in an hour.” C’mon friends, if you approach me with open arms and observe a sideways ducking maneuver, I haven’t just walked into a spider web, I do NOT want your limbs thrown around me. A hug is just a strangle that hasn’t completed itself yet. To that end, maybe I’ll wear yellow police tape to match my outfits.
The thing I fear most is that some politician will decide if “National Hugging Day” is good, having a “National Cuddle Day” will be even better. Hugging, you can at least hold your breath and count to three and it’s usually over. Cuddling is absolutely just the PITTS (Prolonged Intimate Touching Torture System) in my opinion. Really? Tell me you enjoy falling asleep with your mate’s hot breath on your neck? And those little involuntary twitchings and jerkings, just as you’ve crossed “leg waxing” off from your mental to-do list for tomorrow and are finally slipping into those theta brain waves? And their inhales/exhales. You always gotta try and synchronize yours to theirs and when you finally match up perfectly, they’ll hold their breath and sputter. No thanks.
On one of the many websites you can google today, to find out more info about this holiday, (though why would you want to?) I found 10 reasons why today is supposedly good for us. I’ve allowed myself commentary in red font.
Little Miss Menopause’s Input on “Their” Justification on Why National Hugging Day Came Into Existence
1) Hugs make us feel “happy”! When we hug another person, our bodies release oxytocin, a hormone associated with “happiness,” according to scientific studies. This is also released during breastfeeding and orgasm, but do we have National Days for that?
2) Hugs alleviate stress! Just as a good hug increases our oxytocin levels, it decreases our cortisol or “stress” levels. How is stress alleviated when all you can think about is “Can they feel my stomach protruding? Will their perfume/cologne set off my allergies? And WHAT is that in his pocket??”
3) Babies need hugs as much as water and food! According to researchers at Harvard University, hugs help promote normal levels of cortisol necessary for child development. Agreed. I vote to change it to “National Hug an Infant Day.”
4) Hugs make us better students! Students who receive a supportive touch from a teacher are twice as likely to volunteer in class. And are ten times as likely to have a father who will see the school district in court. And what exactly will the students volunteer to do? Go first in dissecting a frog so that they can put their recent hugging trauma in perspective?
5) Hugs improve our game! Scientists at University of California, Berkley discovered that the more affectionate members of a team are with each other, the more likely they are to win. Please stick to ass slapping.
6) A hug a day keeps the doctor away! A hug stimulates the thymus gland, which in turn regulates the production of white blood cells that keep us healthy and disease-free. And apples were removed from the prescribed “One-a-day” list because? Don’t tell me hugs have fiber now.
7) A hug stops the bug! Researchers at Carnegie Mellon proved that individuals who were sick and received hugs had less severe symptoms and were able to get better quicker. C’mon. That’s just absurd. They simply couldn’t find anything else to rhyme with hug. (But I can – – “Give me a smug shrug instead of a hug, ya big lug!”) Everyone knows there’s no better way to spread germs than bodily contact.
8) A hugging heart is a healthy heart! Research from University of North Carolina showed that a good hug helps ease blood flow and lower cortisol levels, which in turn help lower our heart rates. See? Still needing to resort to making up medical facts to defend this day. If this is indeed true, why don’t surgeons have a couple of hearts snuggle up together in an incubator prior to transplanting one into their patient during “Open Hug Surgery?”
9) A hugging couple is a happy couple! Couples that experience their partners’ love through physical affection share higher oxytocin levels. Again with the oxytocin. Does this Stepford Wife to the left look happy? Look closely.
10) Hugs let someone know you care without having to say a word! So does a well-written Hallmark card. According to Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology at University of California, Berkeley, we can identify love from simple human touch – imagine how much love a big (virtual) hug can communicate!
Am I alone in feeling that hugs should be reserved for your enemies so you can know how big to dig the holes in your backyard? Who will you let hug you today??