I Like Nametags. I Like Asking About Hugs. I Like Getting It Right For People.

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 3.618% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

You know what I wish everyone wore all the time?  Nametags.
Because I’m bad with names.  I’ll look at a friendly face and remember all the times we’ve been at cons together, and that great conversation we had about Steven Universe, and that time we had a bourbon tasting up in my room… And I’ll get a sort of stoners’ paranoia whenever I talk to them, going “Do I remember their name right?  I know their Twitter handle.  What if someone asks me to introduce them, I can’t introduce them by their Twitter handle, this is going to be awkward.”
I love the nametag.  Because it ensures I get things right, and don’t embarrass people who I know.
Know what else I love?  Asking for hugs.  “Oh, it’s so good to see you!  Are you huggable?”  And they either answer “Yes” and fling themselves into my arms, or they answer “No” and I wave gaily, and I love that answer either way because I’m positive that I’m carrying out their preference.
I don’t want to wrap my arms around someone and feel them stiffen.  I don’t want to surprise people with ninja hugs they didn’t want.  I absolutely adore asking people because I like satisfying their needs when I’m satisfying mine.
And I hear all the time about folks at conventions who Don’t Get It, who run up and hug people who they barely know just because they’re happy to see them – “Oh, it’s an author I like!” or “Oh, we met once!” or “Oh, they’re tiny and they look huggable!” – and it strikes me as a sort of whacko narcissism, wherein people make that very necessary distinction between “I like this” and “Others like this.”
Some people have past traumas where being suddenly mauled is Not Pleasant for them.  Others reserve their physical touch for people they feel comfortable with, which may not be you.  And still others like bodily autonomy.
What I like is being free of that stoners’ paranoia when I’m hugging someone I like.  What I like is being absolutely certain that when I am hugging someone, they have specifically okayed me to hug them, and that they are not merely tolerating my presence.  What I like is feeling someone hug me back instead of that stiff-bodied “Oh, fuck, they’re going to tell me off, aren’t they?”
I like getting it right for people.
Which is why I like to ask.

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