If things weren’t confusing enough for guys these days, now men are getting confounded about what forms of physical contact with women are socially acceptable. This is a hot topic due to some past “handsy”, and somewhat creepy, behavior by a famous politician which is causing an uproar on traditional and social media.
But don’t fear guys, I’m here to help you make sense of this situation and to provide some rules of behavior in these perilous times. We will look at two types of physical contact: Hugging and Non-Sexual Touch.
You may think hugging is a normal, innocuous behavior, but you would be wrong! And this is because of some frisky guys who don’t follow the rules. A couple years ago, a prominent, local politician had to resign due to one inappropriate hug with a staffer. Now I don’t know if his hands went too high or too low or too active, but something when amiss. He never disputed the accusation and resigned immediately. Also, one of the women accusing the before mentioned famous politician of bad behavior said: He hugged her "just a little bit too long”.
Now I must confess before we deal with this issue, that I once hugged a married woman inappropriately. Worse yet, I committed this naughty act at church, in front of about a thousand people, including the pastor.
I was a member of my church’s drama team and we were performing a fairly complicated sketch involving six actors. I played the husband, and Paula, a pretty, but not exceptionally beautiful woman, played my wife. At one point in the sketch, we hug. It’s not important to the story, it’s just a transitional move to get her and another character off stage.
Now we probably rehearsed the skit almost a dozen times that week, but we never actually practiced the hug. Having a man and woman who are married to other people, repeatedly embrace each other over a short period of time is not a wise idea, and rightly frowned upon as a church activity by pastors everywhere.
Sunday morning, we perform the sketch reasonably well and the congregation enjoys it. I am walking down the hall with Paula so we can rejoin the service through the back of the auditorium, when my “wicked man-brain” informs me of something. “Hey Donnie, smooth move placing your hands on her @$$ during the hug. Nice touch!” I immediately stopped walking and said to Paula, “Uh, I had my hands on your butt during the hug! I am so sorry”. I could tell by the look on her face that she had indeed noticed my infraction, but she also could tell by my expression it had been a mistake and she forgave me – as did her husband who was watching, by the way. And I must point out, there was no squeeze. Bun contact, yes. But no squeeze. You can be sure my hands were place higher during the second service performance.
So because guys are dense, and don’t want to mess up, here are the rules for hugging a woman which you are not romantically involved:
1. To Hug or Not to Hug, that is the Question
Some people are huggers, they hug everyone. Others are not, and prefer handshakes over hugs. (This one also applies to men in non-business settings). This can create an awkward situation when greeting your platonic female friends and associates. If you initiate a hug and it is rejected, the best course of action is to gently pat her on the back and return quickly to your own personal space. Be sure to remember her preference for future reference.
However, you can also mess up by offering a handshake to a hugger. So you can offend a hugger by not hugging them. Sometime the offer of a handshake is rejected and they initiate the hug or they can shake your hand but are upset with you because you didn’t want to hug them.
Now I know what you are thinking: Don, you said I could get in trouble if I hug the woman, but I can also get in trouble if I don’t hug the woman? This sounds complicated and confusing to me.
And may I remind you we are dealing with women here, so just do the best you can under the circumstances.
2. Keep Your Hands Above Her Waist
Absolutely no contact is permitted with the buttocks (especially in front of 1,000 people at church). She may have an impressive booty, so focus, focus, focus! And no contact, means no contact – It may be comfortable to rest your hands
on the top of that area, but get them up,
|No, no, no, no, no!!!!!!!!!!!!!|
3. Observe the 3-Second Rule – Always Release First
Hey, the old 3-second rule in basketball apply. One-thousand-one, One-thousand-two, release! If you break off the hug too soon, she will think there’s something wrong with her. If she releases the hug before you, you have hugged too long, and she may be irritated about this.
4. Don’t Squeeze Harder Than She Does
Always allow the woman to control the intensity of the hug, and try to respond back in kind. Remember, it’s just a hug, you are not dating. Oh, and no grinding!
5. Keep You Man-Urges In-Check
On certain occasions you will have the opportunity to hug a smoking-hot woman. Try to focus on the task at hand. The local politician mentioned earlier, apparently lost control when hugging a hottie and went hyper-hansy, probably violating all the rules above and more. Maybe they had to separate him using the jaws-of-life. Try to make a mental recording of the hug, which of course you can playback later as many times as you want.
And one note about handshakes. My friend Debbie finds it uncomfortable if a manshake lasts too long. – “We are shaking hands – not holding hands”. Also, she says it’s creepy when a guy employs the two-hand (hand-over-hand) shake. This implies that the contact is more intimate that it should be.
So, there are the man-rules guys. Follow them and you should be able the keep your job, not get slapped in public, and maybe someday even run for public office. And no need to thank me ladies, it’s just part of my job. Although if you want to hug me the next time you see me, well ……
Next Time: What Is Appropriate Touching Behavior?