Alternate title: It’s Only Awkward if We Let it be Awkward


When I was in high school, I randomly developed this weird tic. Tick? Tic. It doesn’t matter. The bottom line is I started laughing like a very very very old man. It was a strange phase, came on suddenly, lasted about a week, and left as quickly as it came. Out of nowhere, my laugh went from being cute and twinkly to hoarse and asthmatic and in the very back of my throat.

16 Year Old Alida: hahahahoarseweirdylaughhahaha
It was actually kind of awesome. We still talk about it. My old BFF Jill and I talk twice a year; on her birthday (October 23rd) and on my birthday (January 23rd). She still mentions it.
My Old BFF Jill: Remember the time in high school where you started laughing like a grandpa for like a week?
Present Alida: YES. That was WEIRD.
I can’t explain where it came from or why it happened but it was fast, it was odd, and it was fairly awesome.
This weekend I met my friend Sage for brunch. I missed his birthday and then had to cancel our raincheck plans and so, like any good friend would do, I forced the recent birthday boy out of bed at the ungodly hour of 10am to have brunch so I could celebrate his birthday right nice. I can’t decide if the best part of brunch was our text exchange before he got to the restaurant:
Sage: (10:01a.m.) I am leaving the house on foot!
Me: (10:01a.m.) You are LATE.
Sage: You are a MORNING PERSON.
OR the fact that I invited my dear friend to brunch so we could celebrate his birthday and then had to say these words when the bill came: “Hey, um, happy birthday and everything but I’m going to have to treat you NEXT time. Ha. Hahahaha. Ha. Um. I’m classy with a K. Sorry. Budgetary issues. You know how it is. Um. Yeah. But I do. So HAPPY BIRTHDAY!”
Luckily my friend is a class act and rolled with both the early rising and the klassy backtrack. I made up for it by driving him home and running upstairs to chat with his sister and hang for a bit. Our friend Super Cute Stephen (I might be the only one who calls him that) stopped by before I left and I enjoyed spending a bit of my morning with three delicious people.
Soon though, it was time for me to go. See, I moved again on Saturday. Not to a new house but into a new room in my current house. I went to dole out goodbye hugs to everyone and that’s where things got tricky. Things were fine when I hugged Sage. My goodbye to his sister was nice but similarly uneventful. When I got to Super Cute Stephen? This is where things got interesting.
After I hugged SCS, I walked to my car and as I put my key in the ignition, I stopped for a moment and had a conversation with myself:
Alida to Alida: Huh. That was new.
At first I thought it was just because SCS is actually very S and very C AND very from Texas. Maybe I had a little crush, I decided, which would probably explain what had happened. I had bigger fish to fry/rooms into which I needed to move, so I couldn’t waste time dwelling on a potentially awkward development. I put the incident out of my mind and went about my day.
The move went smoothly and I’m very happy in my new room. We could play badminton in my closet, y’all. Like, for real. Come over, bring your racket and your shuttlecock (heh) and we’ll get a good volley going. Also, I moved the bed all by myself (two beds, if you’re counting and WHY WOULDN’T YOU BE COUNTING?). I’m a badass.
After I finished the move and got my pictures hung and the floor swept and mopped (my new “hardwood” floors, that is), I had just enough time to get ready for Betty and Barc’s Night of 1000 Tapas. I cannot even begin to describe to y’all how delicious each of those 1000 Tapas were. I love my friends. I love sitting in a warm house, delicious glass of moscato wine in hand, plate of FREAKING BACON DATES in front of me, surrounded by my Chosen Family. But you guys. Those BACON DATES. Barc put them out and I looked at him and asked, “Shout out?” and he winked. That guy. Oh that guy.
I’m choosing to believe it was my affection for that guy (Betty’s guy) that caused the repeat of the Incident from earlier in the day. After many delicious tapas and a glass of wine, I was happy and full and ready to say my goodbyes. I thanked Barc for spending his day cooking and for the BACON DATES and then I hugged him and It happened again.
Then I hugged my friend JoJo goodbye and it happened AGAIN AGAIN.
I shook my head, blamed the moscato wine, and headed out to my car. My car I had parked on a downhill slope. The same care that wouldn’t start because it wouldn’t register it had gas. Whoops.
So I went back inside and Ginger offered me a ride home when she decided to leave. I thanked her and poured myself a healthy glass of sweet tea vodka and lemonade, obviously, since I wasn’t driving anymore.
After another hour of delicious fun, Ginger corralled her posse and off we went. The Incident didn’t happen again for the rest of the night.
The next morning, I woke up at 8:30 and got dressed for brunch with Betty. She was picking me up so we could have pancakes and then deal with my car. As we drove to the restaurant, I was vaguely aware of being hungover. I also began to have vague recall of the previous day and the 3 Incidents that had occurred, which resulted in THIS happening at breakfast:
Betty: Talking about something I cannot remember right now.
Betty: ???
Me: I have developed a potentially-awkward tic! Tick? Tic. IT DOESN’T MATTER.
Betty: ??
Me: I think I’m an Awkward Hugger!
Betty: How do you mean?
Me: Here, stand up. Let me demonstrate how I hugged three people yesterday.
Betty: Okay.
We both stood up and I showed her exactly how I had been behaving during hugs.
Me: Shit.
Betty: And you hugged three people like that yesterday?
Me: YES. But at first I thought it was just because I have a small crush on SCS. But then I hugged Jen like that. AND YOUR BOYFRIEND!
Betty: OMIGOD! I saw you do that! I thought you guys were just having a sweet moment!
We couldn’t decide if my new hugging style is super-endearing or super-strange. So I thought I would ask you, my dear and faithful readers.
Here’s how it’s going down. Picture a normal, sweet hug. Two people. I am one of them. My left arm goes around the other person’s back, as per usual in a standard ordinary hug, with my left hand resting on the person’s shoulder blade/back. But the right? That’s where things are going awry. Instead of meeting the left arm and completing the hug, my right arm stretches up to the person’s face and my right hand then CRADLES the person’s cheek in an affectionate, grandmotherly way. And, while cradling the person’s face, I am also pressing his or her face against my own. A little bit.
So I ask you all. Is it really awkward or is it endearingly affectionate? Am I being sweet and precious? Or am I kind of a nana? Or a great aunt. The crazy kind. With cats.
What say you?
(I can’t leave off on this weird note, so here’s a picture from tapas. You can see my new hair. Kind of.)
(Please still be my friend. Even though I might hug you in a way that makes you very uncomfortable.)