When life gives you cat hugs, what can you do? You go and buy as much food and candles (for light, you see) as you can carry/afford. You clean as thoroughly and for as long as you dare without driving the neighbours nuts. You cook – in my case hopefully tomorrow (it’s getting a bit late). And then you promise yourself to restrain and neuter the furry bugger with its sharp claws, starting tomorrow. (I don’t usually promote postponing the inevitable, but it really is getting late. Tomorrow will have to do.)
What I would have liked today, instead of the metaphorical feline full nelson, was a proper hug. Hugs are good. Life-affirming. Make me feel better. I used to have (might still do, I’ll have to check) an hug voucher, valid indefinitely, that said we need a minimum of four hugs a day to function. But unlike donkey, quoted in the title of this post, I didn’t dare say anything. All that cat hair in my mouth, you see…
All hugs aren’t the same, though. And since I’m the world expert on the topic (obv) I see it as my duty to present to you A Quick Guide to Hugs:
- Some people take the crane approach, lifting you up. This is easiest to do if you’re taller than your huggee, but don’t feel discouraged even if you aren’t. Technique is all-important. Requires a tree-hugging position: both arms beneath those of the huggee. A fun, friendly hug, but beware: it may cause panic in the uninitiated. Also, don’t try this if you have a bad back. Otherwise, once you’ve mastered the basic technique, feel free to try more acrobatic variations.
- Tree-hugging: nicest in dry weather. Tree must be big enough, but no need to hunt down redwoods.
- The hook. Has become more and more common as hugging as a neutral way of greeting has gained ground. Involves only one arm per hugger (any combination is possible – R/R, L/L, R/L, L/R) and is particularly useful in situations where either party is carrying one or more bags. Avoid, however, at all costs the bane of our modern existence, the non-hug, the anti-embrace, the patted hook. It starts out as a hook, hands on shoulders, but that’s where it ends, too – as a glorified pat on the shoulder, never reaching the warmth of a real hug. If you don’t want to hug, don’t hug. Shake hands, give an honest pat on the shoulder, nod from afar, I don’t care – just don’t pretend to hug someone if you’re not going to. A patted hook is a promise unfulfilled.
- The squeeze is the mashed potato of hugs. Warm, sustaining, soft but firm. It’s the comfort hug of choice. Suitable holds vary according to the size of the huggers but always involve both arms. (Exceptions can be made in the case of one-armed huggers; un-armed huggers are welcome to share their views in the comment section.) A squeeze typically lasts longer than the other varieties and thus requires a passable sense of balance. Not recommended when meeting someone for the first time. Good for negating cat hugs.
Okay, time for bed. Hugs,