First things first: I don’t hate hugs. They’re not my favorite form of physical contact, but a hug is nicer than, say, a punch in the face. Particularly when under the influence of whiskey and surrounded by tall male friends who have torsos ripe for wrapping my arms around, I love the hell out of hugs. My problem with the now-ubiquitous form of affection is simply that it’s not very New York. Because once upon a time, we were a city of kissers.
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A typical NYC greeting used to be one quick peck on the cheek. At my New York middle school, girls would walk each other to class then kiss each other goodbye, parroting their elegant mothers, as they parted ways for 42 traumatic minutes. It was cosmopolitan, grown-up and most of all—for a group that spent much of its day fighting for inches of concrete and subway pole—pleasantly devoid of too much bodily contact.
The Brits have their two kisses; Spaniards do too. The mom of a friend I grew up with was Belgian, and we would kiss a dizzying three times. You know who hugs? Midwesterners. And now, it seems, New Yorkers. We hug all the time! It’s just so…quaint.
New York, we are not quaint. If you want to add a quick hug right after a kiss, I won’t complain, but don’t skip the kiss. That’d make us no better than someone from Ohio! And hey, if you’re from Ohio and just moved here, welcome! We’re so happy to have you. But like Montell Jordan said, this is how we do it—with this being “kissing” and it being “greeting each other in the best damn city in the world.”
So what do you say? Let’s put down arms and get back to civilized, ain’t-got-no-time-for-hugs kissing. Pucker up, New York.