Monday, May 10, 2010
I was in Rittenhouse Sq. the other weekend at the Spring Festival in Philadelphia. Spring Festival is a euphemism for saying we celebrate May Day but we aren’t Socialists. Anyway I took a picture of this man, well actually there were a bunch more people in the photograph but I cropped them out, they weren’t the ones that I was interested in. He, like the others, was carrying a sign that said “Free Hugs” and I wanted to get my hug. There are some days when you are in need of little love and affection and you will get it anyway you can. But this day wasn’t going to be one of those days for me.
From a distance he seemed like he would be taller than me and I hate to be dominated physically by anyone so that would defeat the purpose of getting hugged. Plus even though my first instinct was that straight black men don’t hug other men. I had seen him hug other men but with that bearhug type mentality thing where he would wrap his arms around someone, lift them off the ground while squeezing their chest against his and whispering….I’m starting to digress. I think I need a moment here.
So, I think what I was trying to say was that whatever motives I had for getting a hug were probably not the motives that this young man and the group had for giving a hug.
I posted a black and white version of this picture on Facebook and a friend of mine had said that he had seen a group of people doing the exact same thing in Union Sq. in New York but he had thought that it was some sort of joke. That made me do a little research on the net and sure enough there is a website dedicated to free hugs that explains how the idea came about and was created by Juan Mann and that’s it’s really nothing other than being able to share empathy with another human being.
Could there be a movement traveling the entire world that I was blithely unaware of?
Is Juan Mann a real name?