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Hugging Epidemic?

By Brian | May 29, 2009 | Share on Facebook

From the New York Times’ Style section:

There is so much hugging at Pascack Hills High School in Montvale, N.J., that students have broken down the hugs by type:

There is the basic friend hug, probably the most popular, and the bear hug, of course. But now there is also the bear claw, when a boy embraces a girl awkwardly with his elbows poking out. There is the hug that starts with a high-five, then moves into a fist bump, followed by a slap on the back and an embrace. There’s the shake and lean; the hug from behind; and, the newest addition, the triple — any combination of three girls and boys hugging at once.

“We’re not afraid, we just get in and hug,” said Danny Schneider, a junior at the school, where hallway hugging began shortly after 7 a.m. on a recent morning as students arrived. “The guy friends, we don’t care. You just get right in there and jump in.”

There are romantic hugs, too, but that is not what these teenagers are talking about.

Which is, of course, followed by this:

A measure of how rapidly the ritual is spreading is that some students complain of peer pressure to hug to fit in. And schools from Hillsdale, N.J., to Bend, Ore., wary in a litigious era about sexual harassment or improper touching — or citing hallway clogging and late arrivals to class — have banned hugging or imposed a three-second rule.

That’s right, folks. A three-second rule for hugging. I’m guessing the school has hall monitors walking around with stop watches? Or maybe all clothing now requires a pressure-sensitive timer?

All of which leads to ridiculous paragraphs like these:

Comforting as the hug may be, principals across the country have clamped down. “Touching and physical contact is very dangerous territory,” said Noreen Hajinlian, the principal of George G. White School, a junior high school in Hillsdale, N.J., who banned hugging two years ago. “It was needless hugging — they are in the hallways before they go to class. It wasn’t a greeting. It was happening all day.”

But pro-hugging students say it is not a romantic or sexual gesture, simply the “hello” of their generation. “We like to get cozy,” said Katie Dea, an eighth grader at Claire Lilienthal Alternative School in San Francisco. “The high-five is, like, boring.”

Needless hugging? Pro-hugging students?

Wasn’t there a time, not that long ago, when we were concerned about students shooting each other in school? Wasn’t the big post-Monicagate topic in schools about whether oral sex was really sex?  Less than ten years on, and now “touching . . . is very dangerous?”

It’s become like a reality show: get through twelve years of school without getting arrested or sued for something, and you get to go to college.

(Hat tip: Anthony Campisi)

Topics: The World Wide Weird | No Comments »

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