Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hugs or Handshakes

I'm a bit of a tight-ass. Didn't you know? Well, yes I am.

I'm also a bit of a prude. If you didn't know that, you are a moron. Have you seen one single reference to S.E.X. in this entire blog?

Yesterday I had the same experience that recurs whenever I travel on business. When I greet people that I "know" well - via email, or periodic meetings, do we hug? or do we handshake? Essentially we have a very limited relationship. I don't know their spouse's name (or their spouse's gender). I don't know their kids (or even if they have them). I don't know their age. I don't know where they live or how they live. I don't know much of anything actually....although we are (corporate) war time buddies...which is saying something.

Today as I was walking into our Denver office I ran into a pack of my colleagues. I don't think I've seen these folks in over a year. As they approached, I began to wonder....ok is this a hug or a handshake moment.... ???? My prudish, tight-ass mind began to click away.

Being a nearly 6 foot tall female - and not the skinny model type - I have a bit of a physical presence. Think Cheerleader Coach from Glee folks. This morning I was wearing my new kick-ass boots - with 3 inch add that to the mix. One of the colleagues (male) is about 5'2" ...hugging him would cause an immediate issue of face to boobage quandary. Another is about 6'0"...but I've met him only once. Another - a lovely 6'2"ish - I didn't recognize at all, but I'm bound to have talked to him on the phone many many times. And lastly a female - friendly and fun (to my recollection), but not in my normal circle.

What to do, what to do.

With only fractions of seconds to decide the right course of action, I quickly stuck my hand out to the 5'2" incher and then bent to brush cheeks briefly. Then embraced the woman with a joke about warming up in the brutal 8 degree weather. The 6'0 unknown guy...he just followed the crowd and gave me the half embrace welcome. The 6'2" was an introductory handshake and yessir, I did know him from many a phone call and email transaction, but had never met him in person.

Awkward moment passed.

But it is amazing how much easier it is to make this decision when departing the same group at the end of a long day of meetings, hard work, laughs, strategies, jokes, and finally a meal with wine. Hugs and kisses all around...when can we all meet again, we much we love one another, we valuable the time we spent, we agree.

12 hours difference in time....but a huge leap in relationship and socially acceptable touching.


Kate Hanley said...

I hate facing that decision Hug or Handshake because in theater, we're very touchy (and sometimes it's the hug/kiss). I always, without fail choose the wrong one (the one the other person is not going for), it's a gift I have like choosing the wrong line at the grocery store. It's so much easier to hug after wine though...

Susan said...

I am with you on this subject. It makes things uncomfortable and the thing about manners is that they are meant to make everyone at ease because there is an understanding of what is done.

Personally, in business I don't think hugs are appropriate.

Minnesota Matron said...

Too funny! I'm of the tiny sort, being lifted up for those hugs. Note there's not a lot of sex talk on the Matronly page, either. :-)

Cha Cha said...

Oooh ... that is a toughie. I also wonder about this with the spouses of my BFFs. I'm generally a hugging sort, but don't want to be, you know, making the moves on anybody's spouse. Because I'm a decent human being.