2016: Humanity has sure come a long way in the last five years. We don’t even have to ask people to take our picture in front of the “I Believe in Nashville” sign anymore … with 20 ft selfie sticks and sticky cams and who’s its and whats its and whatever…. we don’t need NOBODY!
Something I also never thought would be a thing but also is much cooler than selfie sticks? Driverless cars. I mean we don’t get to use them now but they do EXIST. Soon enough we’ll all be driven around by robots and we can take as many selfies as we want on road trips without scaring the living daylights out of cyclists and pedestrians.
But then ONE DAY we will be on a road trip in our driverless cars taking selfies and ten hours later we will suddenly find ourselves at the BEACH and guess what: we will still have to ask someone these words:
“Hey… umm… can you do my back?"
Yes, I’m talking about sunscreen. I mean, I don’t foresee a future of self-applicating sunscreen. Unless it’s like a spray tan booth except with sunscreen. But who wants to pay for that and will it actually be on the beach? I don’t know.
Applying sunscreen to each others backs is probably one of the more intimate things we do with each other these days. I mean we don’t even look each other in the eyes anymore when we’re standing in line waiting to order E.Coli - oh sorry, I mean Chipotle.
Every time we wait in line we just stare at our screens and scroll on our phones and double tap this and double tap that. But then all of the sudden you aren’t ORDERING E. Coli. You’re on vacation and you’re on the beach and you’re with a bunch of people you kinda know but have never seen half-naked before. But also you’re in your mid-twenties or early 30s so you DO care about not getting skin cancer so you HAVE to ASK someone to RUB SUN LOTION ON YOUR BACK. And that person is literally going to get a one-way ticket to feeling your bod. They will literally rub your body. Moles and bacne coming right up!
Now, don’t get me wrong, this might be an exciting opportunity for six-pack Jack who isn’t getting any love. But for someone with a couple of love handles to boot, it’s very vulnerable. Take that Brené Brown! Who’s daring greatly now?
I am not sure if I am thankful that sunscreen is bringing us together. I am also not sure if I am thankful that hugging brings us together. Have you thought about how intimate the act of hugging is, and how often we do it?
When you hug, you’re literally pressing your body onto someone else. Like, probably 40% of your body is touching 40% of that other person’s body. Can anyone tell me why we do this in America instead of kissing on the cheek? I mean kissing on the cheek is like 3% of a person’s body touching 3% of another persons body. Granted you always run the risk of a lip slip BUT I think the risk:reward ratio is still pretty great! The only thing you worry about with a “kiss on the cheek” greeting is how many times you’ll do it. Just once… or just each side, or maybe even three times. With hugs, you have so many factors that go into hug quality. Let me name a few:
1) HEIGHT. You almost always want height differentiation, because it helps you figure out where your arms go. Do the arms go over or under? Hard to determine if you’re the same size. But also if there’s TOO MUCH variation in height, there are different problems. If you’re the short one, it just feels like you’re hugging a roman column. All torso baby. If you’re really tall? Well I don’t know what that’s like.
2) LENGTH. We all know a hug that too long is never good. Too short we can deal with, but then what is the point of the hug? A good hug is when neither party feels like they are forced to continue past their comfort zone of hug time. But then again, someone people are never comfortable upon entering a hug, because when they approach you, they don’t even touch your body. Which brings me to my next hug factor:
3) SPACE. There’s always that person who doesn’t touch you and leaves an inch of “air” between you and them. Then they probably give you that little back pat and say “It’s soooo good to see youuuuu" and then you wonder if they’ve ever hugged someone before. But then, you realize you’re thankful for that person, because you remember that guy you barely know who squeezes your body like he squeezes the little stress reliever ball at American Red Cross donating blood to keep the blood pumping into the little bag that’s gonna save lives! And then he lets go of you and you pass out instead of him. Then you hope he went through Red Cross CPR Certification, but he didn’t - you were wrong all along and he doesn’t DONATE his blood, he SELLS his blood! Which brings me to the last factor when it comes to hug quality:
4) DEPTH OF FRIENDSHIP. How well do you know this person? Did you know that they sell their blood? Did you know that they weren’t hugged as a child? This all contributes to how well the hug goes. If you know them well, and the hug sucks, well, it doesn’t matter because the fact that they’re your best friend means they TOTALLY REDEEMED THEMSELVES! But if you don’t know them well, everything is ruined, and you should send them back to the blood bank.
While I can endure just about any hug from a friend, my favorite strangers that get to touch my body are TSA agents. Have you ever gotten to the airport, waited in the security line for an hour, and just when you think you’re gonna make your flight you’re “randomly selected” for a pat down?
For me, the process has gone annoying to thrilling. It’s much less comfortable for the agent than it is for me. Not only do they have to pat you down, they have to narrate everything they’re doing too. “I’m going to touch the inside of your thigh now.” Oooh! Sounds like a thrilling romance novel by Nora Roberts. Sometimes I think about what it would be like if I responded to them with the hot/cold game.
“I’m patting down your calf now.”
“I’m moving up your leg now."
“I’m going to touch the inside of your thigh now."
“HOT, HOT, HOT!!!!"
But the end result is always more or less anti-climactic because I’m a normal human and I’m not trying to bring anything dangerous on an airplane… Let’s be honest though - it’s more likely that I get stopped by the TSA because I bring a bottle of sunscreen in my carry-on bigger than 3 oz. And if that’s the case, I might as well just utilize the agents’ pat down skills to lather up and let it soak in before I hit the beach!
“Yeah, you can throw away that bottle. But first… can you do my back?"