Monday, August 27, 2018

Microstory 916: Free Hugs

Anyone who’s ever met me probably assumes that I don’t like to be touched. My diagnosis as autistic surely only reinforces this belief, since sensory issues are often associated with the condition. The reality is that I appreciate human contact. Yes, I will admit that I’ve never much liked kissing. If you take a step back, and try to look at the whole concept from an alien’s point of view, it’s a pretty bizarre thing that we do. Even stranger is that we freely do it in public, as the only socially acceptable form of incontrovertible sexual behavior. Hugs, on the other hand, carry no necessarily sexual intentions or sentiments. Any two or more people are capable of hugging each other without it being an expression of anything beyond friendship, no homo. That’s not to say that there isn’t such thing as an inappropriate hug. All parties involved must consent, but it’s also possible to hug a child without it being a problem. Or rather it’s possible for a child to hug an adult without causing problems. Every year, between the first of December, and Christmas, I have this tradition of watching the movie Love Actually. The pattern began as an accident. Of course, it plays during Christmastime, and I happened to just keep seeing it, but then I started watching it with purpose. The film is bookended with scenes of people hugging each other at an airport. “Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends.” I think we don’t do enough hugging in this world. Just watch any movie where two lovers come together after some harrowing series of events. They always start making out, even if buildings are exploding around them, or the antagonist is literally chasing after them, and they gotta go. We’ve been taught to value romantic relationships over comradery; sex over loyalty. Well, I’ve never really gotten a chance to incorporate this into my stories, so I’ll just tell you that there is a world where things are different. Shaking hands is reserved almost exclusively for executing business deals. When two people who don’t dislike each other greet each other, they hug, and it doesn’t seem odd to them. I’m not suggesting we could ever make our world like that one, but maybe we could start taking steps in the right direction, because the best hugs are free.

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