Hugging has been on my agenda in recent days.
Discussing it rather than doing it.
Loose Woman Kaye Adams quizzed me on the wireless over whether I was a hugger or a shrugger in a debate – if you could call it that – with two women who were looking forward to a post-lockdown cuddle with whoever came their way.
I wasn’t on their list, for some reason.
Maybe they had seen recent pictures of my hairstyle before this week’s barber-fest.
The women sounded like natural huggers.
It’s a practice which, in the past few years, seems to have reached epidemic proportions with various versions, from the full-blooded tight hug to the one I call the Dermot O’Leary, where it’s a handshake of sorts followed by a touching of right shoulders.
“Why bother?” I shout at Dermot when he does that on that TV talent show he hosts. “You don’t even know the guy.”
Judi James, a leading television expert in body language and social behaviour, seemed disappointed I wouldn’t be trawling the streets in search of people to hug, and told Kaye she was used to such acts in the TV world where hugging was at plague levels; my words, not hers.
I have a theory that it’s part of the BA course at drama school, along with air kissing and saying “dahling”. I do not go out of my way to clutch someone close to me – outwith members of my family – and wonder how much of this embracing business, especially between men wishing to bond, is insincere.
I once witnessed an over-enthusiastic neighbour squeeze a woman so hard as they greeted each other that he broke a couple of ribs in her slender body.
I wonder what A&E thought of her answer to: “How did this happen?” It was more of a mugging than a hugging.
Lockdown has robbed us of the good, old-fashioned handshake.
I’ve always felt this meaningful and a symbol of sincerity.
OK, you can be hoodwinked over the integrity of the person whose hand you shake, but it’s more favourable than the hug or bumping each other’s knuckles.
Strangely, in far eastern countries like China, Japan and Korea, a weak handshake is preferred, while European countries and the United States go for the firm grasp – though I’m always wary of an accompanying slap on the back in case someone is trying to find the right place in which to sink the knife.
So let’s stick to the handshake, unless a woman wishes to hug you, because in these woke times any move from a male in that direction may just bring a court appearance.
Salmond and Galloway end bore war
There are serious questions to be answered by Scottish parliamentary candidates as they knock on doors in the lead-up to the election on May 6.
Who are you? Where have you been for the last five years? Why can’t your party introduce bleach that kills 100% of all known germs?
Thankfully, with one poll suggesting both new Alba party supremo Alex Salmond and the equally flamboyant George Galloway are poised for Holyrood seats, we can expect to see the parliament’s dullards brought back to life courtesy of much-needed political pizzazz.
Let’s drink to downing an al fresco pint in the pouring rain
A haircut after almost fourth months of morphing into Albert Einstein’s younger brother, Jim, and a second Covid vaccination with an 80-minute queue; this has been as busy an away-from-home week as I’ve had during the current lockdown.
Then there’s the news that secondary school children – am I allowed to call them that? – are to return to their lessons after the Easter break, which will be as welcome by takeaway businesses as it will be by parents.
It all has a knock-on effect, of course. Teachers back in the class can’t mute their pupils as they did during on-screen lessons.
And a return of the rarely seen street sweeper-uppers, now on red alert within a half-mile radius of local bakers, kebab shops and hamburger joints – school dinners, to you and me – to collect discarded wrapping paper, polystyrene containers and half-eaten Yum Yums.
All the while, the seagull population will be squawking: “Right lads, we’re back in business.”
You see? This is how we kick-start the economy.
Soon we’ll be able to wrap up like Arctic explorers and enjoy – is that the right word? – an al fresco pint of beer in between those April showers that may come our way.