Poor Ray Kelvin, I bet he could really do with a hug right now. I was aghast to hear the news that the CEO of Ted Baker is now facing a staff mutiny in light of a 'forced hug' working environment. Personally I'm a hugging man. Unless I'm fresh from the gym and haven't had the chance to shower. So this current news article really resonated with me. Are we still living in a Joey and Chandler universe where hugging is deemed an every 10 minute occurrence?
Does this mean that Jurgen Klopp won't be allowed to run on the pitch and hug his goalkeeper anymore? Personally I'm a fan. The keeper is always left out of the hugs. It must suck being a keeper.
Why do we hug?
Early forms of communication we give to our children to comfort them. As children we liked to be hugged by our parents, it makes us feel good. The brain releases a special little chemical called oxytocin.
Otherwise known as the love drug. As we move into adolescence we no longer get hugs from our parents we replace them with hugs from friends, siblings, or even our friends in the office.
The exact origins of hugging is unclear but we can assume that we're born with the knowledge and desire to hug our loved ones.
Hugging be cultural and societal based, hence hugging is less prevalent in places like Asia and more prominent in others, South-America for example.
Where did Ray go wrong?
Maybe where Ray went wrong was not just allegedly asking staff if they would like to sit on his knee (weird) or if they would like an ear massage (kinky) but apparently he never had an office!
He would work out in the open with other employees, that's just bananas. Every man in power needs an office. That way we can earmark boundaries of professionalism and authority.
The wider issue
Soon we're just going to nullify any form of body contact in the work place. These headlines aren't going to cost the brand 400 million like the Dolce & Gabbana racist screw up. But this could stem to another mini me-too movement with other work places indicting their bosses and co-workers.
Put simply, guys, just play it safe from now on. Keep your hands in your pockets and play with your balls. No one will be signing petitions against that.
When is it ok to hug?
It's ok to hug me anytime any place. I'm going to turn up to the next Ted Baker press conference like Clubber Lang gate crashing the unveiling of a Rocky statue. "Hey chump, I'll hug you, anytime any where."
But lets take a look at other hugs that are still, for the time being, deemed acceptable behaviour.
The celebration hug
The hug born out of spontaneity. Usually at a point of immense jubilation. Intense and uncontrolled.
Appropriate when: a celebration is in order.
The tight squeeze
Long lasting hug with arms and legs interlocking.
Appropriate when: greeting siblings, relatives and close friends. Only applicable with someone who is comfortable with this close level of proximity. Greeting an old friend having not seen them in a long time.
The A-frame hug
The casual hug between guys who don’t really want to be seen in a hugging embrace for fear of it reducing their masculinity. Called A-Frame as it symbolises the shape of an open A-Frame ladder.
Appropriate when: Greeting someone that you've established a relationship with over time or have shared a unique experience with.
The back-pat hug
A hug that is necessary, but indicates awkwardness. A pat on the back is a non-verbal way of communicating that it's time to let go.
Appropriate when: you are looking to be polite with someone that is initiating a hug.
On a final note.
Why is hugging widely ignored in Asia?
Catching germs and getting dirty is one reason why some Asians aren’t keen on hugging. Being clean is something many of us pride ourselves upon explaining why asians remove shoes at home and in restaurants.
More reserved by nature. This is a culture that is respectful of personal space and physical distance.