Monday, January 22, 2018
News Roundup

Hooper: Let's hear it for the hug

Sometimes it's the first sign of affection shared by preschoolers.

Sometimes it's the hors d'oeuvre to a romantic meal.

Sometimes it's the dessert at the end of a loved-filled feast.

Sometimes it's the warm embrace that begins a platonic conversation.

Sometimes it's a long and meaningful moment shared after years apart.

Sometimes it's a man-crush acknowledgement between two guys.

Sometimes it's the only way two feuding friends can resolve the dispute.

Sometimes it's how the winning candidate celebrates with a supporter (see Jolly, David).

Sometimes it's the tearful exclamation point at the end of a relationship.

Sometimes it's the best way to say goodbye when words evaporate and the heart grows weak.

It's the hug.

And despite all the varied things it represents, the hug remains one of the most underappreciated forms of human expression in our society. We even mock it.

Does somebody need a hug today?

I don't mock it. I hug a lot. Maybe more than my friends prefer, but it's as much a part of my makeup as attending Catholic grade school, growing up in Tallahassee and making a living as a writer.

In Tampa, a city steeped in Latin and Caribbean cultural flavors, the kiss is a common form of greeting between men and women. It's initiated with a handshake, followed by a polite peck on the cheek — casual, innocent, respectful — but significant. It's an earned acknowledgement, typically shared only with those with whom you have broken bread or those you have toasted with a drink.

But amid the dignified confines of downtown meetings and business gatherings in Tampa, the hug occurs less frequently than the kiss. I can't quite explain it, but the hug seems to skirt the lines of good taste more. It stands as a no-no in most workplace situations and perhaps should be stored away if you're greeting a friend who is with the boss.

It can, however, be executed with a measure of decorum if you're in the right environment. Simply lean in and lightly touch shoulders. Or try the side hug. People will signal if they want a bigger hug. And sometimes they do.

Hugs among men appear to be a growing trend, one I appreciate and share with guys I really respect. It's initiated with a strong handshake — maybe what we called a "soul handshake" back in the '70s — and then you lean in, make a fist with your other hand and give the person a love tap in the back.

You accentuate this manly hug with an emphatic statement like "What up, my brother?"

Right now, one of my guy friends may be saying, "Hey, Hoop, you never hugged me." And he may be right. It's far from an exact science, but I know the bond builds with the sharing of food, beer and lies about girls you used to date. Shared experiences, such as judging a barbecue contest together, are a factor, and road trips definitely seal the deal.

Ultimately, the hug expresses a gratitude that stretches beyond convention. It's a thank-you for the person who lent you counsel in the past, an appreciation for the friend who seeks your advice today, and an acknowledgement that you know he or she will help you in the future.

Maybe somebody does need a hug today. Give one.

That's all I'm saying.

Comments
Police release photos of men sought for questioning in Florida mall blast

Police release photos of men sought for questioning in Florida mall blast

LAKE WALES — Police say two devices ignited inside a mall in central Florida on Sunday do not appear to be an act of terrorism.According to the FBI, bomb technicians examining the contents of a backpack found at Eagle Ridge Mall in Lake Wales on Sund...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Clearwater police arrest man in taxi jacking near Crest Lake Park

Clearwater police arrest man in taxi jacking near Crest Lake Park

CLEARWATER — Police officers arrested a 38-year-old man they say robbed a taxi driver at knifepoint Monday morning near Crest Lake Park.According to Clearwater police, Samuel Eric Brown, of Clearwater, stole cash from a driver for United Cab, took th...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Solar industry on edge as Trump weighs tariffs on panels

Solar industry on edge as Trump weighs tariffs on panels

Associated PressDALLAS — Some in the U.S. solar-power industry are hoping a decision this week by President Donald Trump doesn’t bring on an eclipse. Companies that install solar-power systems for homeowners and utilities are bracing for Trump’s call...
Updated: 1 hour ago
St. Pete spilled up to 266,000 gallons of reclaimed water into bayou

St. Pete spilled up to 266,000 gallons of reclaimed water into bayou

ST. PETERSBURG — It may be a new year but the city finds itself still dealing with an old problem: spills at its sewage plants.The city announced Thursday that two spills at its Northeast sewage plant at 1160 62nd Ave. NE had been contained.But the r...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Jobsite’s ‘The Tempest’ balances reverence and irreverence in a busy Shakespeare tribute

Jobsite’s ‘The Tempest’ balances reverence and irreverence in a busy Shakespeare tribute

TAMPA — The Tempest begins with shadow play, a ship tossed on high seas. Projected onto a backdrop, the shadow of that ship looks proportionate to the waves that rock it. You see this, even as a daemonic spirit holds a toy replica in her hand, the ac...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa Bay ranks No. 5 for top moving destinations

Tampa Bay ranks No. 5 for top moving destinations

TAMPA — Tampa Bay was the No. 5 moving destination in 2017. Penske Truck Rental’s annual list ranks metro areas based on the number of one-way moving truck rentals to them.The Tampa Bay region, which includes Sarasota, held its position from 2016. It...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Police: Driver rear-ends school bus in Clearwater

Police: Driver rear-ends school bus in Clearwater

CLEARWATER — A driver rear-ended Monday a school bus on the way to Safety Harbor Middle. None of the 38 students on board were hurt in the crash in the eastbound lanes of NE Coachman Road just west of U.S. 19, according to Clearwater police. Most boa...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Teens who spend less time in front of screens are happier - up to a point, new research shows

Teens who spend less time in front of screens are happier - up to a point, new research shows

In recent months, Silicon Valley executives have been speaking out about the purposely addictive designs of smartphones and social media, which make them hard to put down for anyone, but particularly teenagers. Now, a new report puts numbers to the w...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Top 5 at noon: Your insider’s guide to Gasparilla 2018; St. Petersburg spilled up to 266,000 gallons of reclaimed water into Smacks Bayou; and more

Top 5 at noon: Your insider’s guide to Gasparilla 2018; St. Petersburg spilled up to 266,000 gallons of reclaimed water into Smacks Bayou; and more

Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com:YOUR GUIDE TO GASPARILLA 2018Some 300,000 carousers are expected to gather on Saturday for Gasparilla 2018, Tampa’s pirate invasion. All the fuss centers around the legend of Jose Gaspar (nic...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Sirata Beach Resort is getting a $15-million facelift

Sirata Beach Resort is getting a $15-million facelift

ST. PETE BEACH — A year ago, the longtime owners of the Sirata Beach Resort & Conference Center acknowledged they couldn’t afford the improvements it needed. They sold the 382-room hotel to a Texas company.Now the new owner has launched a $15 million...
Updated: 3 hours ago