After all every Brit knows that when two people meet, the accepted form of greeting is the handshake.
‘How do you do?’
‘I’m well. How do you do?’
‘I’m well. Thanks for asking’
You can sense the raised pinkies and stiffness. The natural inclination to keep a distance both physically and emotionally.
Contrast this with your average American. Unless you’re a cab driver, a waitress or a banker, the hug seems the de facto way of meeting and leaving people.
‘Whazzup?’ Followed by manly backslapping cross hug for the guys
‘Heyyyyyy’ ‘or squeal’ followed by a brief hug and cheek air kiss.
See the difference? Americans are so….physical. They greet with their bodies. Brits greet with their hand. Outstretched. Away from themselves. In fact we’ll do just a head nod if we can get away with it.
Early immigrant me rejected the very notion of a hug as a greeting; bowing to shake hands with small children, proffering my firm grip to employers and even offering my fingers to 1st dates.
I passed into my mid 40s, I decided to commit to my American ness and start hugging with abandon.
And that’s where the trouble starts.If you’ve never been taught something – at my age- you’re expected to know how to do it. And I hug like a 2 yr old.
So that’s my explanation to my boss as to why I tried to hug his arm and then threw my arms around his neck like a child at Christmas and body slammed him.
Confused doesn’t cover his expression.
So it’s Masonic handshakes from here on out. Preferably while wearing gloves. Much much safer.