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Carol Hoenig Headshot

Hugs, Yes, but No Dry Humping

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It's the glare of pink and various sizes of cutout hearts that warned me Valentine's Day is fast approaching. It's a good thing I'm allergic to most flowers and the kind of candy that is sold in those bright red heart-shaped boxes do very little for me. Still, it is a continuous reminder that the world is filled with devoted duets. Lovers. One person who completes the other. If I am to believe the ads, I'm surrounded by cloying couples all eager to shower each other with confirmations of their love on Valentine's Day. Everybody has somebody.

Except me.

Oh, I'm not bitter. Seriously, I'm not. Nor am I buying into it. After all, I've been there, done that and it's not all what the commercially-forced holiday wants us to believe. However, it's a holiday that mocks me, since, well since, I've been physically unattended to for quite some time, and it's making me rather cranky. There will be no need for me to wander into the lingerie shop and it's not as though I long for the sappy heart-embossed card, but I do acknowledge that I am missing out on something very much needed.

Not long ago, on a solo trip to London, I visited the British Museum and came upon a statue of Cupid, which I was able to admire without thinking too much about what this figure represented. However, I then found myself stopping for quite some time and ogling the Greek and Roman sculptures of well-endowed males. It was then that I came to terms with the fact that my situation is more dire than I realized. But I'm not alone. That thought became very clear when Governor Schwarzenegger signed a California bill some time ago barring necrophilia. Certainly, this act is something else all together, but on first glance, I soothe myself with the notion that I'm not that desperate. Never mind that in my museum venture I found the mummy, which had been christened Pete Marsh, kind of cute and vulnerable all curled up under the glass-enclosed case.

But again, I'm not the only one hungry for the physical connection.

I recall coming across an article quite some time ago about a couple from New York City who open up their apartment at least twice a week to strangers who are willing to pay to get a three-hour hug. These creative entrepreneurs have snacks available and don pajamas, pajamas that must be more comfortable and less sexy--the flannel type--and adults cough up thirty bucks in order to have a cuddling session. The rules? There is to be no dry humping. I had to re-read that part. I suppose it's a rule that needs to be reiterated time and time again, because if people aren't getting hugged enough, it's safe to assume that they aren't getting much else. However, I find there is something extremely sad about the whole process of making a reservation in order to pay for a lengthy embrace. And, what if the couples' calendar is filled for longer than the hug-deprived can bear? What then?

I don't know. Paying to have someone hug me? That would make me feel so, well, so unloved. I'd pay to have someone do the tango or dirty dancing with me. At least body movement would be involved and I'd break a sweat. But to put monetary value on something that should be spontaneous and free proves that we are living in a very strange time.

My marriage has been over for quite awhile now and I don't miss the part where I lost who I was, where the dance I did was around his schedule, his moods. Nor am I looking to complete anyone. Hell, if he's not whole to begin with, then once the physical part of the relationship plays out, there will be little left to build on.

So, that leaves me unattended. Hmm.

Perhaps next year, if I'm still in this sorry state, I will go into the store and pick up a bag of those heart-shaped candies inscribed with those fun little sayings and pick out all the ones that are marked with the words "hug me" and freely hand them out to the attractive available men who cross my path.

Depending on the response, then maybe we can tango free of charge.