Hug Alternatives

I’m not much of a hugger. On top of the deep vulnerability issues that caused years of therapy, I don’t really come from a touchy-feely family. My brother and I tried hugging once and we vowed to never speak of it again…crap. Sorry, bro.

So, if you’re like me, and come into a moment where it might be socially appropriate to hug, but you’re all, “Hey now, that seems a little intimate. Like, I barely know you, grandma,” here is a list of alternatives that may or may not be just as uncomfortable, but they will get you out of a hug.

  • A nice pat on the shoulder. Of course, you don’t want to pat too hard so it may come across as more of an attention-getting tap, so make sure to pat three times on the shoulder if you want credit for your affectionate and well-meaning gesture.
  • A half-hug. Sure, it’s still kind of a hug, but way more bearable than a whole hug. If you can, try it while one of you is sitting down to add the teensiest bit of that panicked “Don’t touch their butt” feeling.
  • Grab their shoulders and kiss the air next to them. You create the illusion of endearment toward another human, but really you’re saving the earth by kissing the booboo in the ozone layer.
  • Exclamations and excuses. As soon as someone expresses their salutations, good news, or goodbyes, you immediately reply with an over-enthusiastic, “Hello!” “Congratulations!” or “See you!” And then book it to the other side of the room, where you simply must answer the phone that probably rang, address a digestive emergency, or suddenly be trapped under something heavy.
  • Become a miser. Then no one will want to hug you. I find this to be the easiest and most frequently used tactic.

Now, I know you must be thinking, “But Jillian, these all seem so awkward and complicated. Wouldn’t it be easier to just hug?” What can I say? I make life hard.


An Open Letter to Winter

Dear Winter,

Why you gotta be so cold?

You’re seriously like an ex-boyfriend. I remember you semi-fondly until you show up on my doorstep and test all that’s left of my patience.

Some of my animosity toward you is due to the harsh reality of growing up. I remember when a snow day was a magical experience: a day full of endless possibilities, full of games and glory, a day to live! A day where I could grab my shiny toboggan and glide down a hill, feeling weightless and free. I thought I could regain some of this magic when I started working at a school again. But, when you’re 26 and live with your parents, a snow day does not mean a day to rest or dream. It does not mean your dad is going to load you up in the car and head over to the local golf course. It means he is going to hand you a shovel and tell you you’re on your own.

I also remember when winter meant Christmas, and Christmas meant people would be cheerful and generous and I could skip about thinking, “Gosh, I’m blessed,” as I tore open presents under the tree. Now winter/Christmas means, “Crap, I forgot to get my brother’s roommate’s girlfriend’s hairdresser’s cousin a present this year. Everyone is gonna be so upset with me,” and, “Thanks for the socks.”

Perhaps it’s not you, winter. Perhaps it’s me.

But I kind of think it’s you, too.

Because even when snowy days and Christmas were awesome, they only made up about 3 of your days.

Because, also like an ex-boyfriend, you screw with our heads so much, there’s an actual disorder named for you. And its acronym is S.A.D. You make people S.A.D. Why do you like darkness so much? Do you think it makes you deep? I feel like if we personified the four seasons, you would be the guy who wears all black and writes haikus on a typewriter in the park.

You suffocate us, winter. You make it impossible for us to breathe fresh air without it feeling like we’ve been punched in the chest.

But my least favorite thing about you is that every day, for your entire duration, my co-workers walk into the office and inevitably say, “It’s so cold outside.” To which I am required to respond, “…yeah.” You create idle chit chat, winter, and for that I will never love you.



P.S. I probably don’t hate you that much. I just hated having to slip and slide my way to work today. Forgive me, winter. As far as weather goes, you probably top tsunamis.


10 Things You Don’t Need to Know

I was at a loss for topics this week. I’m in kind of an intellectual funk because my senses have been overloaded with politics and menial work tasks, so instead of learning new things (as I so very much love to do!), I’ve been watching a lot of episodes of New Girl and listening to Bunhead Bros in the car.

If anyone has a suggestion for something they’d like to see me write about, please leave it in the comments. I’d love to give the people what they want.

So, for this week, I found a random question generator, and I will be answering the first 10 questions that generate. Woot.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

The first thing I can remember wanting to be was a figure skater, but that dream quickly died when I found out it required a certain amount of grace and you had to get up early. After that, for many years, I wanted to be a psychologist. I used to practice one-on-one sessions with my Barbies, even created a support group for the divorced ones. You can imagine my parents’ reactions when, at 17, I decided to study acting instead.

What was your worst restaurant experience?

My worst restaurant experience was probably when I was working in a restaurant and a customer threw a menu at me. Though there was also a time a customer bit me on the arm, and a time two customers pulled an elaborate grift to get out of paying their bill, a time a customer wrapped their child in the tablecloth…maybe I’ll write about this one day.

What is one weird thing about you?

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL Where do you suppose I start?

Since I was talking about it yesterday, I’ll throw it out there that I love raw onion. Love it. It may be my favorite food. I can eat a Vidalia onion like an apple.

What is your favorite meal of the day?

Second dinner.

What is your morning routine?

Wake up, deny responsibility, close eyes, repeat.

What is something you miss about childhood?

Not having bills was nice.

What is something you regret?

When I was a kid, I was really uncomfortable with affection, whether it be physical or verbal. My grandpa would ask me for hugs and I would tell him no or I would hide. Once while I was hiding, I heard him say to my grandma that he thought I didn’t like him. But that wasn’t true at all. I just didn’t like being vulnerable. I tried to be better about it after that but a part of me is worried he died thinking I didn’t like him. Even though I’m still really uncomfortable with it, I try to make an effort to hug when a hug is needed and to express gratitude and love when it’s necessary. I suck at it, but I’m trying.

If you found $100 on the ground, what would you do with it?

Give it away. I can’t handle that kind of karmic pressure.

Who do you envy?

Anyone with any degree of effervescence.

What is your earliest memory?

I can’t be sure if it’s the earliest because I have a bunch of random snippets of memories from when I was 2ish, but I have this vivid memory of running around in a pull-up, chasing after my dog, with waffles from the morning stuffed in my cheeks because I used to ration my food like a squirrel (you call it weird. I call it evolution). Then again, this could have happened at any point in my life. Maybe the earliest was when my dad got me a Jasmine doll.