If anything good has come out of the Chinkvirus pandemic, it’s this:
A comprehensive study of behaviours and attitudes since the outbreak began found that three in five people will stop greeting friends with a hug and a kiss, and will also avoid crowded places in the future.
Include me in that number, although I hardly ever did it anyway. This modern thing of men hugging other men who are not family has always given me the heebies. I hug my son — and not even that often — and occasionally my friend Trevor (who insists on doing it because he knows it bugs me, and I don’t kill him because he’s my friend). Other than that, ugh.
I don’t mind shaking hands, however, because I was brought up to do that with men, further affection being communicated by a punch or slap on the shoulder.
But not with women. Unless it’s a business thing, I’m always tempted to turn a handshake with a woman into kissing her hand; mostly, it’s greeted with giggles and sighs. If I add, “Sorry, but I was brought up to love and respect women,” the response is universally positive. Hugging is too intimate; kissing a hand denotes respect.
As for hugging and kissing women I know… well, I’m never going to stop doing that. (At the doctor’s the other day, I complained to his nurse practitioner — whom I’ve known for over fifteen years — that I wasn’t going to molest her as I usually do when I visit. She shook her head sadly and said, “And I always look so forward to it, too.” Aaah, Texas.)
Ultimately, though, I think that for the next few years we as a society are going to be more comfortable about keeping other people — and certainly strangers — at arm’s length, so to speak. And that’s a Good Thing. But as time passes, we’ll forget all about pandemic behavior and relapse into over-familiarity, which isn’t.