This morning I cuddled with my friends’ 2 1/2-year-old daughter. She sat on my lap and we read together. Then I picked up her giggling squirming body sideways and did a few bicep curls punctuated by belly kisses. After, I found myself thinking that it was too bad that belly kisses and giggling generally disappeared from an adult world — only re-introduced when children make an appearance. I missed them. This whole “sexual attraction” thing really messed up a basic joy, something that we should all share.
This must be another reason I’m happy to be back in the Bay Area. My friends here hug. And we hold each other while dancing. But I think even more, it’s the hugs. Last night, in a jazz bar, a large group of us hung out together, and joking/hand holding/casual touching/sitting close is just part of that scene. And I know that I’ve felt better ever since my return.
Science has made it official: people need to be touched. Hugs can make stress less damaging and are especially beneficial for women. A recent study looked at the long-term impact of a childhood without hugs (and other “loving parenting”). Raised in their first years without love, those kids did not develop essential hormones.
Do you have an abundance of hugs? If you have some to spare, spread them around.