Reader: My wife is a “hugger”, sort of. She doesn’t hug everyone, but she does hug friends, including male friends.
*** edited out five paragraphs of ranting descriptions of hugging occurrences ***
Ok, so you can tell this is a REAL issue for me.
The hugs aren’t full body hugs, but they ARE two armed hugs. They only last for perhaps two seconds. I’m SURE her boobs touch the other person. Hell, I occasionally get a hug from a woman and generally her boobs touch ME, so I really shouldn’t be bitching. So rationally I know the hugs are no big deal, I don’t think there’s any impropriety occurring, but that doesn’t stop the caveman me from wanting to grab a club and cave in a skull. I’m talking about the “other guy” of course.
So I have two questions for you:
1. Do you let Jennifer hug other men?
2. Could my wife be putting me through a fitness test? If so, I’m not sure how to handle this because we’ve fought a few times in the last 20 years (Shit!) about this.
I’ve suggested my wife could give one armed hugs and hold her other arm in front of her, but she thought that was a ridiculous idea despite my assurances that I’ve had MANY women do that to me. (It sends a subtle, non-insulting message, while still allowing a hug to happen.)
So, am I being an idiotic prick? Should I just learn to deal with, perhaps by starting to hug other women more often? I’m not a real “huggy” person (except with wifey), but maybe I should learn how?
Help me Obiwan Athol, you are my only hope.
Obiwan: The short answer is… two second hugs aren’t a big deal. Relax.
The longer answer is…
It’s not really a fitness test because I think she genuinely is a social hugger.
You have an impasse. Her threshold of what is appropriate touch is a lot higher than yours. But you complaining about it will cross her threshold of what is appropriate influence. Or put more plainly, she hugs people and it sets you off, but when you complain about it, it sets her off because you’re “controlling and paranoid”. So you get nowhere complaining about it.
So much of what is appropriate is determined by a host of social cues I’m not there to see or be a part of. Which is why I edited out the descriptions of the alleged inappropriate two second hugs, because I know someone in the comments is just going to skip ahead and tell you your wife is pregnant with another man’s child.
However, any place it is socially appropriate for your wife to hug another man, it’s also socially appropriate for him to shake your hand. So she hugs him, you stroll over and offer your hand / introduce yourself. He’s pretty much obligated to shake your hand, or otherwise he’s massively disrespecting you, whereupon, it’s all fair game to make a bit of a scene. If he doesn’t shake your hand and touches your wife, call him on it in public right there. “Is there a reason you feel you can put your hands on my wife and not shake my hand?”
Or… seeing your right hand is unshaken and free, playfully and just a little too hard sock him in the shoulder, or slap him on the back. Say “great to see ya” and smile. (Important tip: Only do this if you can whip his ass in a fight)
When he shakes your hand, if it’s the choir director he’s probably an okay guy, so set your handshake to medium and be friendly. If the other guy is a douchebag, basically crush his hand and stare at him unblinking while smiling. Hand strength being a pretty good indicator of your total physical ability. It’s kind of a variant on the iron hand in the velvet glove.
It’s overly Beta to get all twisted up about her two second hugging someone, it’s Alpha to confidently shake someone’s hand.
If Jennifer wants to hug someone she can. Doesn’t happen overly much though and her affection for people is quite genuine rather than sexually motivated. We actually had a long talk about this together tonight and debated the issue a little. I’m actually more of a hugger than she is I think, so the higher threshold one of the two of us is probably me. I think for the two of us, public hugs with the opposite sex are okay. Anything beyond a vanilla hug is crossing the line for both of us.
Jennifer: It really does depend on so many things. A two second “nice to see you, I really like you” hug is totally different than a 15 second, half-groping, rubbing your back and not letting go hug. Also, if you are hugging every man you work with, that’s crossing a boundary. If you are hugging a friend, or someone from church, that’s a more social situation and understandable. It’s funny…hugging is apparently much less sexual to me than to other people…if I’m hugging a friend it’s not sexual to me since I’m not sexually interested in them…and hugging is different in intent and expression than groping. If I’m hugging Athol, of course it’s different (nudge nudge wink wink).