Everyone seems to be signing off letters with "Hugs," or "Kisses," these days.  I find it alarming because I already have problems knowing how much affection to show in person, and this just adds another arena in which to display my awkwardness.  (And also, why do I always see the plural used? Not only A kiss, but more than one kiss? Or does the sign-off encompass each singular kiss, given by both parties involved?) 

There are a few people I know I will hug when greeting them or taking my leave (my mother-in-law, some friends) and there are many people I know I will NOT hug (my bishop, the greeter at Harmons), but the in-betweens leave me flustered.  The worst is when you think the other person is going in for a hug, so you hold out your arms and then realize with a sinking feeling that it was only meant to be a handshake.  No doubt some of you have become embroiled in such an exchange, perhaps even with me (sorry, Melissa) and can relate.

I should be grateful, I suppose, not to live on "the Continent" where you have to add kisses ("Bisous!") into the mix: one cheek?  Both?  Even (in a positive orgy of affection) three, on alternating cheeks?  What an emotional minefield!

Anyway, now that the internet has supposedly made us all isolated and distant from each other, are we trying to compensate with virtual uber-affection?  Or are there people who really mean "Kisses!" to all and sundry, and would actually distribute those kisses if they were physically present?  Perhaps the only reason I don't receive such greetings regularly myself is because of the prickly "don't-touch-me" vibes I give off?  I suppose I often sign emails with "love," but that seems a little more ambiguous: Yes, I love you, but don't worry!  I won't be too demonstrative when we meet!

Or maybe people are being forced, through social pressure, to use sign-offs that don't accurately express their sentiments.  For such people, I offer a few possible alternatives to "Hugs," and "Kisses,":


Friendly slaps on the behind,

Fond smiles,

Thinly disguised grimaces of relief,

Cordial Nods,

Poorly executed fist bumps/finger snaps,

and my favorite: the ambiguous

"As ever,"


  1. Ok, that list is HILARIOUS!
    Out here in New England people hug and kiss cheeks when they meet. At least most of the people Kris works with who are from out here do. It is SO awkward for me. I forget it's going to happen every time until it does and I'm totally unprepared. I almost never manage to kiss cheeks back. I just stand there like a confused idiot. It's weird. And I like to hug and stuff, but only certain people, like you say. It's so confusing.
    But I'd hug you.
    So hugs.
    Oh, and poorly executed fist bumps too,


  2. That's it, next time I see you I'm gonna pucker, just to make you squirm. :D

  3. Hagoda

    Those are my favorites

  4. I couldn't agree more. And I'm not sure what happened to warrant an apology, but what in the world was I doing trying to give you a handshake in the first place? My mission made a rogue over-handshaker out of me. It's unnatural.

    I once went out with a man from Spain who gave me a traditional a kiss on both cheeks at the end of the date. I just stood there like a statue. Needless to say, we were destined for failure.


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