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Satirical Semite: Ministry of Hugs

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There are recommended guidelines around whom we can hug, how we can hug and where we can hug.

The post Satirical Semite: Ministry of Hugs appeared first on Jewish Journal.

Something in me recoils when I saw the hugging reaction emoji that was recently added to Facebook posts. Rather than liking a post, you now get to send an “I care” message by clicking the icon that looks like a yellow beachball hugging a heart. I am highly selective with whom I hug and not a fan of the recent development that a handshake is no longer considered a sufficient form of greeting.

Horror befell me yesterday when I heard a BBC newscaster announce that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has now made it legal for UK islanders to hug one another. Legislating on interpersonal touch is the definition of government overreach, or in this case, government overreach-around. It seems that cabinet ministers were concerned about restoring intimacy, and it is a great relief that elected officials now prescribe and oversee our intimate relations.

There are rules to hugging. Phew. If we have learned anything from the last 14 months of lockdown, it is how to obey rules. The laws of social distancing and reduced social contact undoubtedly saved lives, but they also de-socialized us since we got used to keeping friends and families at arm’s length (if our arms were two meters long). Now we can go back to business as usual and only remain distanced from unwanted relatives.

As the governmental leadership states — and it does sound fairly govern-mental — there are recommended guidelines around whom we can hug, how we can hug and where we can hug. Professor Catherine Noakes from the University of Leeds in Northern England explained how we not should hug all of our friends every time we meet them, which is perfectly reasonable, especially since many of them have all but abandoned personal hygiene routines after spending a year isolated and working from home in their pajamas. Thus far Prime Minister Johnson has not yet advised how long we should spend in the shower or which shower gel to use.

There are recommended guidelines around whom we can hug, how we can hug and where we can hug.

Professor Noakes is a chartered mechanical engineer with a background in fluid dynamics, which is helpful since some people’s hugs do seem rather mechanical and could do with a little emotional lubricant to get them moving with more fluidity. In all seriousness, her expertise includes indoor air quality, ventilation and airborne infection, which does make her perfectly placed to offer advice. The professor’s other recommendations include not hugging too frequently and to only hug for a brief period. We are also advised not to hug face to face, and apparently this can be achieved by turning your face away slightly. As of yet there are no government-issued diagrams on how to achieve that last maneuver.

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Woe betide the person who goes around hugging all of their friends face to face, although it does sound like a creepy behavior anyway, so full kudos to them for having any friends at all.

The most helpful piece of information offered was that “the reality is that when you hug somebody you are very close to them.” The BBC is full of profound wisdom.

As with many others, I found lockdown a challenge. The last few months felt like a personal hell, living alone, working and going to sleep in the same apartment, unable to socialize indoors with anybody at all. There was no end in sight when the British Government kept extending its lockdown rules, and it is great news that as of May 17, we can socialize indoors, albeit in restricted numbers.

At times the winter felt torturous. The biggest challenge of all was staying positive, avoiding becoming a victim and not having a “pity party” for myself. Few things are less attractive than someone with a victim complex, and what do I have to complain about? I have been vaccinated and did not catch COVID-19. Life is to be celebrated, and next week it’s back to the pub.

Cabinet Minister Michael Gove told a current affairs program that “intimate contact between friends and family is something we want to see restored.” This sounds thoughtful and caring for the mental health of the nation, although for safety’s sake I’ll carry a “hug exemption” card for use when approached by someone I don’t want to touch or be touched by.

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May everyone have happy government-approved intimate relations — just make sure it’s consensual. For now I’ll stick to the “like” button.


Marcus is an actor, filmmaker and business consultant

www.marcusjfreed.com

@marcusjfreed

The post Satirical Semite: Ministry of Hugs appeared first on Jewish Journal.

Source: Jewish Journal https://jewishjournal.com/commentary/columnist/336563/satirical-semite-ministry-of-hugs/

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