This week is "Free Hug Week" at my school. My goal is to survive without punching anyone. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the idea behind "Free Hug Week". I understand that we need more love, and our students need to know we care about them. But hugs? Really? I work in a high school. If I taught kindergarten, this might be okay with me. But I spend all day telling my students to "wear condoms!" "stop touching each other in the hall!" "respect personal space!" and now the powers that be have told them "This week, hug everyone!" What exactly is the goal here? To make sure groping is still alive, or to make some poor kid cry because everyone is getting hugged but her?
I'll admit, my main issue with "Free Hug Week" is personal. I do not like to be touched. Don't laugh, I'm serious! I have very clear personal boundaries, and I'd prefer if everyone respected them. In high school my boyfriend snuck up behind me and surprised me with a hug. I responded (very quickly, and unfortunately without thinking) by driving my elbow back into his face with enough force to take out two teeth. Then I turned around and saw who it was. Oops.
I do let certain people hug me. My family is actually forced to hug me on a regular basis. I have certain friends that I automatically hug when I see them, but they've put years into earning that hug! There are 3 or 4 female students who hug me, and while I tolerate it, and don't run screaming from the room, I am not very comfortable. I need to see the hug coming from a distance, so I can prepare myself. I can loosen my arms, exhale, and tell myself that it will all be over in a minute.
Last year, in response to "Kick a Ginger Day" our VP had a "Hug a Ginger Day". Unfortunately, she forgot to mention to me that the entire day would be filled with people randomly trying to hug me. After the fourth staff member attempted to put their arms around my rigid body, I lost it. As another teacher came at me in the staff room, with the hugging posture ready to go, I bellowed at him "WHY THE F$^& IS EVERYBODY TOUCHING ME?!!!" Needless to say, he did not continue with the hug.
I'm thinking of wearing spikes and possibly obnoxious perfume for the week. If you see me stalking around the building, with a dark cloud over my head, please, for the love of god, do not attempt to make it all better with a hug. I might very well punch you.