Today my coworker pissed me off big time and strangely I’m not one to snap despite my red-hair and the stereotype associated with. My other coworker mentioned off hand that I don’t like hugs and his response was “That’s sad” and shortly there-afterward “That’s weird” and I took great offence to both statements.
Is it weird that I don’t like hugs or don’t really like to be touched at all? No, not at all. People tend to forget that I have my B.A. in Communication Studies with concentration on social interaction. Basically I know the “why” people do things, but that doesn’t make me anymore level headed when I feel like I’ve been insulted to my face.
I don’t like hugs mostly because my family isn’t big on hugs. The last hug I received was a “goodbye” hug from my best friend (who unfortunately is a hugger and won’t leave until she gets one) and the one before that was a “comfort” from my brother when I was having a shit-tastic day at work and the time before that was a “good-luck” hug when I went to support my sister at her dance competition. To give out hugs for arbitrary reasons is almost sacrilegious.
So to demand a hug like it’s an entitlement is an insult. It’s no longer fun or pleasant because it becomes a power struggle of “but I said ‘please!” “And I said, ‘no.” What makes it even more uncomfortable is that it’s a cis-man making the demand. As an asexual consent is a touchy subject already, so for a man to demand entry into my personal space even for platonic interaction against my wishes makes me very uncomfortable. It’s my body so I have the last say what happens to that and anyone who suggests otherwise is gong to get an emotional response probably in the form of my temper and a textbook thrown in their face.
Hugs make me uncomfortable and unwarranted touch makes me uncomfortable. It’s just who I am and it has nothing to do with any past events, it doesn’t reflect poorly on my family in anyway or reflect on how I was raised, and if anything it’s just a cultural difference. According to the American Journal of Infection Control fist bumps are actually the most hygienic form of greeting. Hugs are very much lower on the list.
I’m not out as an asexual to my coworkers, but I did hold on to a couple of my communication studies text books and have taken the liberty of saving a few key paragraphs to my phone.
But this is also the same coworker who was taking about flat earth theory with reverence so I’m not going to get my hopes up.