Dear Etiquetteer: I just read your piece on the etiquette of shaking hands. It's an issue for not only shaking hands, but hugging. I am a "hugger" and receive great satisfaction from a hug from friends and relatives, but I wonder about your thoughts on the subject. Some people are put off by it and others feel quite natural with it. What do you think?
Etiquetteer has to agree with you: some people are put off by hugging, and others, ahem, embrace it. Successful Huggers have the knack of knowing their Intended Targets - uh, Recipients - well enough to know if a hug will be received in the spirit intended. If you're approaching from six feet or more away with arms outstretched and your Intended Recipient doesn't look quite as eager, you may need to curb your enthusiasm. Making eye contact before a hug will also help you gauge how to continue. A hug in greeting is more a brief clinch. It isn't a "With my body I thee worship" Expression of Affection, with Full Body Contact from neck to knees, which could go on long enough to Excite Comment . . . and possibly much else that is Not Perfectly Proper in a Social Setting.
Huggers also need to be aware of their own hygiene so that hugging doesn't linger unpleasantly. Etiquetteer wrote once about the aftereffects of a sweaty hug. Social Kissing can be just as fraught with peril, too; Etiquetteer's also provided guidance on that topic.
Etiquetteer wishes you Happy Hugging with Equally Enthusiastic Family, Friends, and Acquaintances!
Next week Etiquetteer will celebrate 15 years of writing about Perfect Propriety. What issues would you, Dear Readers, like to see Etiquetteer cover in the next 15 years? What do you consider the most challenging issues of Perfect Propriety? Etiquetteer is waiting to hear from you at queries <at> etiquetteer.com.