Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hug? Hug!

I do not intend this blog to become all NY Times all the time, but the hugging teens article is irresistible! And I'm not going to go where you probably think I'm going. No sirree, Bob, this one is right on the mark! Seriously.

We first noticed the hugging teens at M's summer camp, where a two-minute walk across the lawn invariably takes 15 minutes, as M throws her arms around every young female she encounters. However, we chalked this up to the camp, which is a super-huggy kind of place.

Then she started middle school. Oh my god, all those girls do is hug! They hug when they say hello, when they say goodbye, when they pass each other in the halls--I am not kidding! Just the other day, BEFORE the article came out, M was telling us how she hugs her friend whenever they pass each other on their way to class! It's ridiculous. But it makes them happy, so fine. Hugs are nice.

Not so fast, says commenter #18 at the bottom of this page (framed as commentary on the hugs, but hardly so) (go read it, seriously, even if you never click through, especially you, Phantom, and you, my sister). Yes, it's the attachment moms, once again blaming us daycare mothers for EVERYTHING THAT HAS EVER GONE WRONG WITH ANY CHILD ANYWHERE. (Yup, here comes the snark.) You see, these teens must hug each other because, stuck in daycare as tiny babies, they were denied the millenia-proven years of maternal physical contact and constant nursing which would have enabled them to grow up healthy and happy (I'm not joking, I tell you, go read it, those are words she uses [rearranged to avoid plagiarism and the necessity of painful quotations]).

Assumption alert! Assumption alert! In other words, the fact that teens are hugging each other is bad? A sign of developmental deficiency? A blight and a pox upon our civilization? Uh, maybe not? Maybe they just like to hug each other? Sorry Attachment Parent Mom, you're going to have to look elsewhere to support your fine-tuned anthropohistorical theories.

But of course this is the best theoretical statement on hugs, not to mention the source of this post's title. (And, no, the maternal thematics thereof do not in any way support Attachment Parent Mom's theories of teenage behavior.)

7 comments:

Kelly said...

Ty hangs out with a lot of girls and they are such huggers. Chris and I commented on this at the art show a few weeks ago. Everywhere we looked in the cafeteria, girls locked in embrace, ran across the room to hug, walked with arms locked around each other. It's a love-fest. I'm trying to remember high school and sure there were a few touchy-feely girls, but mostly no.

Phantom Scribbler said...

All right, Becca, for you special I broke my very strict, no-exceptions, NEVER READ COMMENTS ON MSM ARTICLES rule. And now I despair of the human race all over again. Are you happy???

(But, laughing, because *my* sling-dependent, non-daycare-attending offspring are notably standoffish with personal space and their peers. Which I'm pretty sure is NOT supporting Attachment Parent Person's point, but making an entirely different point about how long it takes some children to adapt and become comfortable with having LOTS of their peers in their space. Maybe by high school they'll be hugging with abandon...)

Libby said...

When the NYTimes notices a trend, it's, um, usually not much of one. I mean, really! I remember noticing the sorority girl hug at least ten years ago--we used to mock it: "Omigod, Heather, how are you? I haven't seen you in, like, ten minutes!!" (accompanied by hug, always) But so what?

I loved the comments, though, especially the snarky ones about what a stupid article it was.

Jenny Davidson said...

I am often slightly taken aback when my students want to hug me! It must be my youthful appearance...

Anonymous said...

This whole article makes me smirk. Who writes this stuff? Wasn't hugging a new fad in the sixties? Everything old is new again or is it the other way around? Tracing the 'phenomena' to some sociological trend is just stupid. They are trying to be black! Greek! Gay! Maybe they didn't get enough hugs as infants! Maybe they got too many hugs as infants! Seriously, why shouldn't we all just be happy that some people are getting more hugs than we are?

Anonymous said...

Another theory: hugs offset all the isolation of facebooking and texting.

Jackie said...

I tell you, teaching in an all-girls school, I've never seen as much physical affection as I have in those hallways. Girls hugging, girls sitting on each others' laps, girls resting their heads on each other's shoulders or backs, girls being affectionate all over. I still maintain my own physical space, but am very conscious of being surrounded by so much hugging!