For anyone worried about the tenor of public discourse in this country at the moment, there was a ‘hug-in’ on South Grand Boulevard a couple of Saturdays ago. There was some prepress of the event, but much less following it. (KMOX Radio said ‘dozens’ of hugs were given out; organizers said it was hundreds!) Perhaps there’s just too much rotavirus going around. But people were offered hugs, absolutely free, at four locations: Jay International Foods, Rooster, the Carpenter Branch of St. Louis Public Library, and Aldi. Volunteers had ‘Free Hugs’ signs, and several merchants— among them Starbucks, Rooster, Qdoba and SweetArts—handed out treats. The nonprofit Gitana Productions co-sponsored the event in an effort to bridge the societal and cultural gaps that widened during the presidential campaign and election. Volunteers said most hug recipients responded positively, and some folks even got out of their cars to join in. Still, some people were just freaked out by the prospect of a stranger grabbing them, although most huggers asked permission first. Anyhow, can pleasant surprise be a bad thing? The regular embracers among us think not.
Town & Style ©February 2017