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On Saturday morning I reluctantly went to class as usual. As usual I walked up to the one person, (a guy) in the class I actually know from a previous course and said hi. As usual he got up to give me a quick hug. Only problem was, this hug was different. This was not the usual lean forward, one arm around the shoulder, pat on the back, no real physical contact type of hug we usually share. He put both arms around my waist and almost lifted me off the ground as he pulled me close. He let go almost instantly but the difference had already registered in my mind. After class, I idly began to process the fact that I categorise hugs. Just for a little tongue-in-cheek fun, I thought I would share those categories.
 
1. The church sister/brother hug/ex schoolmate
 
This is usually preceded by a slightly high-pitched, just a bit too loud “hi.” The hug follows immediately and involves a quick lean in, one arm around the shoulder and cheek contact. No other part of the body is involved. There may be a pat or two on the back. This hug is very quick. Perhaps one or two seconds. It begins and ends in one smooth motion. Sometimes a short awkward and predictable conversation will follow.
 
It may also be used for former schoolmates who were not really friends but who you can’t walk past in the mall because they have made eye contact and they recognise you. It is important to hug such people immediately when you do not remember their names.
 
2. The guy /girl who is interested in more than friendship hug/asking you out
 
This individual will often hug with more body contact. Rather than put an arm around your neck, both arms will go around your body and they will pull you close. The hug is relatively short but it will linger only a second or two longer than a friendly hug. This individual will try to make eye contact immediately after hugging you.
 
3. The friendly hug
 
This may have a number of variations ranging from gentle bear hug to a vigorous bear hug. The vigour involved is directly proportionate to the amount of time that has lapsed since you last saw that person. The longer it is, the more vigorous the hug. It is usually preceded by an exclamation of the hugee’s name. “Chuwe!… [insert hug here]” The volume of the exclamation is also proportionate to the amount of time that has lapsed since you last saw that person. The longer the time, the louder it is. All contact is completely non sexual and the hug may turn into holding both hands or one hand as pleasantries are exchanged.
 
4. The lover
 
This is usually a slow lingering hug and all body parts that can touch will touch. The girl will usually put her head down on the guy’s shoulder or chest depending on her height. He will in turn rest his chin on her head or rest his cheek against hers.
 
5. The manly hug
 
This is when men clasp each other’s hand almost as if its a handshake and then immediately step in for a quick, forceful one arm hug. The hands remain clasped during the hug. It is an interesting mixture of handshake and hug and usually involves far more force than necessary.
 
6.The hug from a child who is really happy to see you
 
This warms my heart the most. I have no children yet but most of my friends do. When their toddlers hug me and squeal with delight when they see me, my heart positively melts.

ps – my classmate on saturday went on to do something else unusual. He proceeded to pick up all his books and came to sit next to me. For two years we have studied together and said “hi” and “bye” and we have never sat next to each other. I always sit alone at the back and he sits with his buddy somewhere in the middle of the rows.

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