Hug an Atheist — but ask first!

Some movie makers are trying to raise money to distribute their film, and it looks good and sends the right message. It’s titled Hug an Atheist.

I don’t mind an occasional hug, but remember, though: some people are very uncomfortable with personal contact, and being an atheist is not a label that says you have permission to cross boundaries.

Except at the mandatory Satan-worshipping orgies. Oh, wait, did I let that slip?

(via Lousy Canuck.)


  1. nora says

    I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to hug outside of immediate family so I sometimes have to steel myself in certain settings. I’m also sensitive to others on this. I’ve told my children not to instruct their children to hug Grandma. No matter how young, their bodies belong to them and they have the right to NOT hug or kiss.

    (most will hug me anyway)

  2. ludicrous says

    Thanks Nora @1

    Now that you have instructed your children on this lets kick it up a notch and commit the social crime of instructing the aunts and uncles, grandparents and neighbors to check boundaries of children and respect them. For some reason the big people think the little people are there for their hugging and fondling pleasures. Dare I notesome irony in that when it comes to children women physically aggress as much or more than men.

  3. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Be prepared to sometimes get a NO when you ask a person whether they want a hug.

    Just because you were polite, the other person is not required to oblige you. That doesn’t make them impolite or rude, so don’t be an asshole about it.

    ‘I asked nicely and s/he said no!’
    Well, that’s why you’re asking. To give the other person an option to refuse, not just to give a show of politeness.

    (Of course, the other side is raised with same expectations (by this I mean women especially), so they might say yes to a hug even if they don’t want it, afraid of being rude in answer to someone politely asking. To them too: It’s ok to refuse.)

  4. ludicrous says

    Beatrice @ 4,

    “Well, that’s why you’re asking. To give the other person an option to refuse, not just to give a show of politeness.” Good point

    Most huggers who do ask do not specify what they intend. An honest request would go something like, “May I squeeze our bodies together for a moment”?

    As an older male I get a lot of hug requests (actually they very rarely actually ask first) from women in my age cohort and I feel guilty refusing (usually don’t see it coming anyway) Also if it’s someone I am attracted to, I don’t want any unintended excitement.

    I think little check boxes on name tags could be useful Hugger?, No, Yes, Ask first, Usually, Depends, Drink first, Upper body only, Other______.

  5. HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr says

    While I very much like hugs from people I know and like, surprise hugs from people I don’t are, because of my own issues, really neither happymaking nor entirely safe. Asking first means the answer will likely be yes. Not asking (especially if you do the surprise hug from behind!) means thanks for the panic attack, buttface.

  6. Olav says

    That reminds me. I taught an aunt of mine to not just grab & hug me. When I was ten. Thirty-five years later she still hates me for it.

    (I was told that I bruised her shin quite badly.)

  7. ludicrous says

    Olav @7 Good on you for protecting your 10 year old self.

    Your experience serves to point up the advantage in power that little boys already have compared to little girls. Girls are rarely allowed that kind of definite response, they would be shamed at least.

  8. rnilsson says

    Yes, ask first – AND RESPECT THE ANSWER!

    At ten or eleven a school mate offered to show me an awesome wrestling grip. I declined repeatedly, but he would persevere and broke my clavicle. Of course he was devastated afterwards, since he had only meant to be friendly. That was very helpful.

    Other injuries may be less obvious. That does not imply green light to go ahead.

  9. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    My best friend in elementary school couldn’t walk properly for a while, after she surprise-hugged me from behind and I kicked her in the shin with all my strength. Reflex.

    And I used to wear Dr Martens at the time. She was lucky I didn’t kick her with the front of the shoe.