Wednesday, February 16, 2011

This is my dance space.

I'll begin by saying the following:

I like to talk to people, but if someone's not a big talker, I definitely catch myself talking way too much to compensate.

So, I'm my least annoying self with outgoing people.

..Not that I don't like introverts, it's just that it takes longer to find out where I stand with them.

Which, sometimes makes me nervous! b/c for better or worse, I'm an open book.

I especially like people who make me laugh. ..but those are easily found, because I'm generally a cheap laugh.

 So, a few weeks ago, I was introduced to a man at dinner and, for two days, I was stumped.

..because I didn't like him.

He rubbed me the wrong way and I kinda couldn't wait to get away from him.

He seemed nice, he made jokes, he was talkative, engaging, polite. .

. .so, what the heck?

Just when I was starting to feel like a humongous jerk, it hit me.

Personal Boundaries. I haz them. Spongy, but they're there.

According to science, he didn't have a prayer. As soon as he hit the door, he was doomed.

He didn't wait to be introduced. A go-getter, which I normally admire, he introduced himself to Brandon first and shook his hand, and I was poised for the same, when...

he hugged me.

In the .2 seconds I had to react and process, in which I obviously hugged him back, lest I make him uncomfortable, my brain did something like this:  


Before you actually do write me off as a humongous jerk, I'll say that I don't have a problem with hugs AT ALL. It's actually my most frequently chosen and preferred greeting and farewell with anyone I like in a non-professional setting!

Hugs are nice and they're a great way to show people that you like them! O.M.G. I love hugs.

So, the night wore on and he made jokes, seemed smart, talked a lot. . . and so did everyone else, so the awkward greeting was literally forgotten.

...Until it was time to go. Boom. Drive-by hugging.

Under other circumstances, I would have absolutely been OK with a farewell hug from someone I barely knew, but in this case, it must have sealed the deal.

So when the hugging willies were extracted from my subconscious, I started thinking. . .

There are so many freaking caveats to my space bubble, that it's dizzying and annoying and rather Type B.

With regard to the introductory I-don't-know-you-from-Adam's-house-cat hug,

I probably would have felt less like this:

If it had been a woman-to-woman hug.

And if I had even a sliver of background info about him prior to full-body contact.

Or maybe if I had a glass of wine. ..or even a smidge less focus on my toddler.

Also, I think I'VE even been guilty of the first-time-I-meet-you hug, but in the intensely Southern, "Oh mah Gawd, I have hurrd SO MUCH uh-bay-uh-t (four-syllable Southern-speak for 'about') you, I just wonna hug yor neck!" kinda way.  ..Although I don't think I would say those things, I'd probably be thinking them.

But the facts are simple. Edward Hall, an anthropologist, hit it on the nose in 1966 with Proxemics.

So, study up. And I will, too.

If you're gonna be all up in somebody's grill, do it right, lest they spend two days trying to figure out why they didn't like a perfectly awesome and likable you.


  1. Hilarious! Loved this...You are too funny!

  2. When they do this skit on SNL, "Personal Space Invader" guy will be greeting women with a full on kiss with tongue.

  3. Too funny. What I especially hate is the encounters with "the bros". The ones that like to "bro fist bump" or worst of all, the "Bro-hug". Hugging it out, as they call it. And it really is disconcerting when you've known someone for 3 seconds and they're hurling themselves at you with arms wide, more often then not in some stage of inebriation. I sometimes wonder if I'm about to be a victim of bro-rape, as documented here:

  4. Oh - I definitely wouldn't have liked that cat after a hug! (Did I just say "that cat?") I would've known that was why too... I barely like to hug extended family members.

  5. @Marybeth - I LOVE your blog and your story is amazing!
    @Paul - I think I was mere seconds, inches and one beer away from being slipped the tongue.
    @Dan - Excellent point. I watch in awe the bro hug/bump/strange secret handshake move and am eternally grateful that girls don't do that.
    @Tiff - I didn't even bother to tell you about this b/c I knew your response would be exactly what you just typed. lol. minus "that cat," which was a lovely surprise.

  6. I'm all awkward now about how to greet strangers, friends and family, cuz I did the bisous-bisous (kiss-kiss) French thing for the past couple years. I think I've unintentionally freaked some people out. That or I had too much wine and my weird Madonna accent slipped out...or both :)

    I'm with Tiff, it's weird to hug in my family. My brother and I used to shake hands during the "sign of peace" at church.

  7. When I read this story a second time (cuz it's worth a re-read), this line really sticks out:

    He rubbed me the wrong way and I kinda couldn't wait to get away from him.

    Like... literally

  8. @Jess, I think the Madonna accent should slip out on the regular. Esp. when you go home to NC to visit!
    @Paul.. LOL.