Tuesday, January 22, 2013

To Hug or Not To Hug?....When in Doubt, Don't

Once upon a time, in a mountainous land far far way.... (in between Idaho and North Dakota to be exact) I found myself having a lovely dinner party with some locals who worked with Trevor during the summer.  One person in particular, who I met on this very brief single occasion and talked to maybe not at all directly, had come back into my life five months later in the form of the head of the search committee for a job that Trevor has applied to...

I am on my way down to San Diego to meet Trevor at the infamous "job market conference."  I'm running late because to get to San Diego from Santa Barbara I have to drive through the hell on earth that is Los Angeles rush hour traffic.

I arrive about half past nine at the Ol' Spaghetti Factory in the Gas Lamp District of the sunny city that births the best people on Earth (myself included along with fellow model citizens: Nick Cannon, Ted Danson, Wyatt Earp, Aaron Rodgers, and Frank Zappa). 

Trevor texts me that the gang is at the bar on the top floor, so I zip past the hostess, and trot up the stairs, on the way recognizing and catching the eye of the economics department search committee chairman sitting alone at a table as I pass.  I look away.  He looks away.  I run up the rest of the stairs to the bar...

"Well hello Trevor darling! I'll take a Blue Moon please!"  As I wait for my blood-pressure-reducing beverage to arrive I peak over the railing, down the staircase to see if that really was that guy from the dinner party this summer?....hmmm... yea I think it is himmmm... dangit...eye contact...... After  seemingly avoiding him on the way in, and now having been caught blatantly stalking him from above... I am really not doing Trevor any favors in the non-socially awkward department.

I tell Trevor that his "friend" is downstairs and I tell him what I've embarrassingly done.  He says "it's fine, it's fine..let's go say hi!"  Ok, fine, but you first.  We go down to introduce ourselves... or more accurately, for Trevor to introduce me.  I am feeling slightly dumb, but whatever, here we go. 

"Oh hello again!  You remember my fiance, Julie?!" 

We are standing right next to this man's solo dinner party table.  He cannot offer us to have a seat since there is only one extra chair.  So the gracious, non-awkward thing for him to do is stand up, so we are all talking and shaking hands on the same level.  However, me and my expert social cue interpretation skills deduce that this series of events (first the introduction of me by Trevor, followed by the movement and standing up of this professor) can only possibly lead to one thing...

We are going to hug.

I realize after it is too late...right at that mid-hug point where you are just far enough into it that you can no longer see the others' face...but that last glimpse of his wide-eyed face a millisecond prior to this point of no return confirmed my uncomfortable fears....This was not expected.  This may not even be appropriate.   This is weird.  What is wrong with me?! 

The rest of the external conversation was in all honesty a blur... 

The internal conversation went something like this:

"Damnit Julie, why do you always think people want to hug you?!"

"That hug could have cost Trevor a job!"

"I will never hug anyone outside of my immediate family again!!"

"Ok some friends I can hug.  BUT for the love of life, Julie, remember that not everyone is your friend.  Not everyone is huggable."

"New life rule: If you don't have that person's cell phone number, you cannot hug them."

--- Resume external dialogue---

"Yes it was nice meeting you again too!  Bye bye! Have a good night!"

Phew.  At least I'm not alone in the awkward hug department...


Bridget said...

I am so good at awkward hugs too! :)

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