“Happiness is an unexpected hug.” ~Author Unknown

“Everybody needs a hug. It changes your metabolism.” ~ Leo Buscaglia

I was back in rehearsal this morning – a one time only (most likely) appearance as Calpurnia in one of my best friend’s productions of Julius Caesar.

It was early – very, VERY early by theatre standards – and there were more than a few people who looked like they’d rolled out of bed not too long before. I’ve already talked about how much I love people first thing in the morning when they are fuzzy with sleep with a foot still in the dream world and inhibitions dialed down, so imagine my pleasure when I was greeted with hugs by many of my fellow actors.

Ahhhh… BLISS… giant, full body, all embracing, agenda-less hugs.

Theatre people tend to be more touchy-feely than most… I’ve always joked that if anyone ever sued anyone else for sexual harassment, the whole industry would grind to a halt. If you do it right, acting is a little like doing psychology from the inside-out. You have to be brave and comfortable enough to be vulnerable, which, in turn, breeds intimacy and familiarity with your cast mates.

Especially if you spend lots of time with them at the crack of dawn.

I’d forgotten, being out of the business, how good this casual intimacy feels… how good it feels to be greeted in body.

(I wonder if the banking business might be less cut-throat if the CEOs started their meetings off with a great big group hug… 😉 )

I remember being told by my college roommate, a stage manager, how her high school director had banned “A-Frame” hugs on stage. An A-Frame is what you get when you stand 2 feet away from someone and lean in to hug them around the shoulders without actually touching bodies at all. The director was insistent that no one really hugs like that…

One can understand why high school students, with all those rushing, surging hormones complicating everything, might feel compelled to A-Frame… but it seems to me that we have become an entire society terrified of physically connecting. We’re so riddled with sexual harassment suits these days that everyone is afraid of touching. I know teachers in the public school system who long to hug hurting students, but fear the repercussions too much to risk it.

We are starving for connection, and there is nothing more visceral than touch…

According to the experts, the leading cause of Failure-to-Thrive in infants is lack of touch; how is the lack of physical contact affecting all the rest of us?

All I know is that I am MUCH better for having gone to rehearsal this morning… thanks, guys!

“Hugging has no unpleasant side effects and is all natural. There are no batteries to replace, it’s inflation-proof and non-fattening with no monthly payments. It’s non-taxable, non-polluting, and is, of course, fully refundable.” ~Author Unknown

Leave a reply