Julie Rottenberg’s piece about the end of hugging hit home for a lot of WryTimes readers. But one reader, Leo Erikson, is not letting go of hugs so easily. Leo, an autistic self-advocate, sent in this impassioned plea to keep hugging alive, and some tips for doing it safely.
It may be a bit scary to try hugging again but it’s important, and the person who will benefit most is you yourself! Hugs need to continue, which is why I convince many many people to hug me. There’s no reason not to do it if you have a mask and a motorcycle helmet and a face shield (or multiple), and a sheet/curtain, and do it for a quick second, and hold your breath, no reason to worry about getting COVID.
Yes, stay six feet before and after each hug, but you can hug multiple quick times or once a visit without getting COVID. I’ve hugged hundreds of people since March, including my 84 year-old grandma Joanna, and 89 year-old grandpa Kai, but it’s safe in the way we do it. You could get rapid tested before you hug. Maybe there are alternatives to handshakes and high- fives such as fist-bumps and elbow bumps, but there are no alternatives to hugs, and those mentioned above are not alternatives to hugging, nor will they ever be.
I made a video explaining and proving hugging is okay and safe under any circumstances with anyone, as long as you have the proper gear for it (see above). Don’t worry about getting COVID from hugging, or any of the negative side effects—focus on the positives of hugging. ❏
Leo is a 20 year-old autistic self-advocate and avid hugger.
Video directed and shot by Becky Mode.