COVID-19 Has Converted Me Into A Hugger

by Katie Cloyd
Originally Published: 
COVID-19 Has Converted Me Into A Hugger
Katie Cloyd/Instagram

I’m a notorious non-hugger. Ask anyone I know. I’ve been tagged in about a million anti-hug memes. My friends all try to sneak-attack me with hugs because they know that’s the best way to get one. Hand to God, I’m actually not against hugs. If you initiate a hug with me, I will go for it. A few people in my life are major huggers, and I let them hug me almost every time I see them. Hugs don’t make me uncomfortable.

My brain just doesn’t tell me to press myself against other people very often, even if they are people I love very much. Even if someone is crying and I feel very concerned, my first response isn’t to touch their entire torso with my entire torso and wrap my whole arms around their body. I get it in theory, but in practice, “hug” just isn’t my default setting, I guess.

It’s inconsistent because deep connection is my favorite. I love being very emotionally close to people, and I reveal my soul in writing fairly frequently. I love a deep conversation, and I will elbow you out of the way for the chance at a baby snuggle. Cuddling my kids to sleep almost every night is my favorite, and if I’m near my husband, there’s pretty much a 100% chance that I am going to be touching him.

Affection is a go for me, for sure. Hugs just aren’t really my jam.

Or at least they weren’t up to now. COVID-19 has transformed me into a new woman. I am hereby publicly boarding the Hug Train. Next stop: EVERYONE.

When this virus stops crapping on our happiness and we are allowed to be out and together again, the world better buckle up. I have thirty-five years of hugs stored up just ready to be sprinkled around like confetti. Isolation has changed me, and I am now here for it. Officially.

Since I can’t physically hug anyone right this minute, I’m going to dole out some virtual bear hugs. If I could collect these people in my arms and squeeze them tight right now, I would so do it.

Essential Workers

Doctors. Nurses. Grocery Store Employees. Military members. Government workers. Cleaning crews. Restaurant employees. The list goes on and on. If you have remained at work so the rest of us could stay home, I am sending you the biggest virtual hug. The biggest.

My Kids’ Teachers

Get over here, you gorgeous, brilliant women. Let me just give you a big squeeze of thanks. I can’t imagine keeping up with thirty kids in person, never mind digitally during a pandemic. You’re out here sending my kids gifts, putting together scrapbooks, creating lessons they can do from home, and teaching Zoom lessons while wrangling your own kids. You’re the real MVPs of this pandemic shitshow, and I salute you.

Hair Stylists, Waxers, and Nail Technicians

I always knew I loved you, but your absence has made my ungroomed heart grow even fonder. My nails look like I’ve been washing clothes by hand in a bucket on the back porch. My eyebrows are about to reach my lash line. I got “brave” and cut my own bangs. It did not go well. I am a whole entire mess right now, and I just want to give you a quick snuggle and thank you for making me beautiful. I didn’t realize this is what I looked like without you.

Delivery Drivers

I know you just want to leave the package at my door and get back in your truck. I know you don’t want some wacko mom with cabin fever to throw open the front door and greet you with a sincere embrace. But you have made this pandemic survivable. Literally. You enable the rest of us to stay the hell home like we are supposed to, and still have what we need. If I could run out to that truck and throw my arms around your hero neck, I’d do it. (I’d ask first.)

My Husband’s Barber

My love for all beauty professionals runs deep, but my current affection for my husband’s barber surpasses them all. Since this pandemic, I have had to cut my husband’s hair myself. We don’t have the appropriate tools for that job, and I damn sure don’t have the appropriate skills. It’s itchy. It takes me forever. I suck at it. It never looks better than “probably not embarrassing from a distance.” And my husband tries to touch my boobs the whole time. The day my man can safely occupy a barber’s chair again will be cause for celebration. I would envelop that beautiful barber man in a giant hug right this minute to express my retroactive thanks for all the haircuts I haven’t had to do up until now.

Professional Photographers

Since self-isolation started, I am the proud owner of 7,586 photos of my kids with their eyes closed. I took over two hundred photos of my kids in their Easter clothes to try to get one that I could print for a frame. My baby turned three months old, and I had to attempt to do milestone photos on my own. I kind of had fun, but it took me three days to get ten shots that were not a blur or a disaster. I am not efficient. When I can hire my pro again, I’m going to have to physically stop myself from greeting her with a hug and an, “Oh, thank God!

Leslie Jordan

“Well, shit. What’re y’all doin’?” I hope the answer is, “Watching Leslie Jordan on IG.” His short daily videos make me laugh every time. You might know him from Will and Grace or American Horror Story, but you want to know him on Instagram. His Southern accent and hilarious observations about life during quarantine brighten my day and make me want to give him an appreciative squeeze. If he’s not your kind of funny, I still recommend finding someone to laugh with online. He’s one of many people breaking the monotony and putting a little laughter into my days, and I appreciate that more than ever.

My Girlfriends (and their kids!)

I’ll never make another one of my girlfriends hug bomb me again. The next time one of my ladies comes in for a snuggle, I’m adding a kiss on the cheek. I love these women so much. Being without them for two months has been horrible. Women need other women, and I can’t wait to group hug every single one of mine every time I see them forever. I’d cuddle their offspring like my own right now if they’d let me, too. I miss those babies!

My Parents

Do I even need to explain? I haven’t seen my mom since January, and my dads live just a few minutes away, but we have barely laid eyes on one another since the pandemic started. Even as a non-hugger, I do hug my parents once in a while! Not being able to is maddening. I need to squeeze my people!

If COVID-19 has taught me anything, it’s the value of human contact. Staying connected digitally has been a lifesaver for me during this isolation, but there’s nothing like spending time face-to-face with the people you love. When it’s safe to hug again, I’m going to be doling out free hugs every chance I get. I’m an ex-non-hugger now. I’ll never take that privilege for granted again.

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