Thursday, June 11, 2009

I'm anti-hugging

Always have been. And, I'm glad to see, so's Judith Martin.

Then, about half a century ago, came the American huggy movement. Instant intimacy was going to solve everyone's problems by making them feel good, which, in turn, would end war and strife. It took rather vigorous forms among some, but eventually infiltrated even the most staid parts of society, where the handshake had been the greeting that fathers gave their young sons.

I shake hands. I particularly enjoy shaking the hands of people who attempt to greet me with inappropriately wide-open arms. I look people in the eye too and say "How do you do?" or "It's nice to see you."

In school in the 70s and 80s, everyone was quite militant about hugging and it got under my skin. It was the new rigidly adhered-to protocol and regularly flouting it was a quick way to get labeled weird and anti-social. So of course, I had to flout it. It's just a thing.

Oh, and by the way Mrs. Obama, I realise that you are a come-lately upstart and so can have no concept of how civilised people behave, so here's a tip for you,

YOU DON'T TOUCH THE MONARCH!

8 comments:

John said...

Maybe she had scrofula. . . .

Anonymous said...

But then the monarch touches you!

Louise said...

O My Lord! Obama's wife! Somebody, teach that woman some etiquette, for pity's sake!

John said...

She's not. No. Please tell me this is a photoshopped photo and Her Majesty is NOT being touched like some little old lady.

I grow dizzy.
Must...stop...commenting...

Christopher said...

No no, you don't understand...

She's the wife of the Messiah. That trumps a lowly monarch any day.

The young fogey said...

To be fair, I understand you may touch the monarch if the monarch touches you, like the etiquette for an American shaking hands with royalty (or any situation where someone is introduced to a person of higher rank). You wait for the Queen to extend her hand first.

(I agree: a handshake done this way is right.)

Like when the US president dances with the Queen at a state ball: no breach of protocol!

That said I find it hard to imagine the Queen holding Mrs Obama first but you never know. Maybe Her Majesty liked her. People change with age and, perhaps not consciously, she very subtly changes to keep up with the times (for example it's been shown that like many upper-class people her accent, still distinctive, sounds more relaxed and natural than it did 50 years ago).

I remember a bit of controversy when the Australian prime minister did the same thing to the Queen. I think the official answer from Buckingham Palace was the Queen understands Australia is not Britain and respects Australian customs.

SMJ said...

What next???

Will Mrs. Obama wear WHITE in an audience with the Holy Father?

Anonymous said...

Apparently, HM does like Mrs. Obama, and wasn't put off the slightest by the embrace. I understand they've begun a lively correspondence and even gab a bit on the phone.

For myself, however, I do not like to be hugged by people I do not know.