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I'm a Rough Rider / Filled Up With Christ's Love
November 23, 2009 11:36 AM   Subscribe

Gimme that Christian Side Hug. That Christian Side Hug.
posted by billysumday (245 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Being a hardcore Christian teenager was very confusing, by the way. On one hand I was internalizing messages exactly like the charming "rap" video posted by Amanda Hess. On the other hand I was a bag of raging hormones. My diary entries looked a lot like this:

"I guess my shirt was too tight because I caught Mike looking at my boobs at Youth Group. OH MY GOD I AM SO EMBARRASSED that I caused my friend to be tempted like that! But I hope he asks me out!"
posted by muddgirl at 11:40 AM on November 23, 2009 [63 favorites]


That is so incredibly stupid that words cannot do it justice.
posted by Dysk at 11:42 AM on November 23, 2009


If you need to avoid the most harmless human contact in order to remove the lurking temptation of frotting someone, I think you may need something a bit stronger than religion.
posted by hifiparasol at 11:42 AM on November 23, 2009 [8 favorites]


In ten years time, this will result in a massive amount of lapsed Christians with a sideboob fetish. I have already registered xxxsideboob.com, sidebooberotica.com and brushuponmysideboob.com.
posted by permafrost at 11:43 AM on November 23, 2009 [14 favorites]


There are moments when you are sure you are being fucked with, but you're not.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:44 AM on November 23, 2009 [37 favorites]


Darwin will eventually inform them that the human genitalia will, over time, migrate to that point on the body which comes in contact with the opposite sex, and the irony will be complete.

Y'all get ready to move those zippers to your hip!
posted by HuronBob at 11:44 AM on November 23, 2009 [7 favorites]


In France, they christian side hug twice: first one side, then the other. It always confuses me.
posted by R. Mutt at 11:44 AM on November 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


To be fair, it's hard to control people if you don't dominate every aspect of their lives, especially anything remotely sexual. It's really simpler if everything not required is verboten.
posted by DU at 11:45 AM on November 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


The problem with FFH (full-frontal hugs), to my mind, isn't the ALARMING possibility of two crotches touching, but the SCANDALOUS possibility that the female half of the hug might have breasts, which will REGRETTABLY have nowhere to go during the FFH but ALL OVER MY CHEST, which is basically like 2/3 of the way to sexual intercourse.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:46 AM on November 23, 2009 [10 favorites]


And yet, they breed like rabbits, these chowderheaded people.
posted by everichon at 11:47 AM on November 23, 2009 [24 favorites]


Aren't the front side and the back side also sides?
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:48 AM on November 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


So I'm guessing the kiss dry hump of peace is out of question?
posted by sjuhawk31 at 11:50 AM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


They can hug my dick side.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:50 AM on November 23, 2009 [16 favorites]


Just to clarify - In order to ensure that youth don't engage in sinful behaviour, these guys are threatening to beat them until they are in a coma.
posted by Adam_S at 11:50 AM on November 23, 2009 [7 favorites]


There are times when LOLXTIANS doesn't seem to be enough.
posted by Reverend John at 11:52 AM on November 23, 2009


They say "Democratic shift in the Congress" but this seems like a pretty authoritarian shift in congress.
posted by wemayfreeze at 11:53 AM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


everichon, well, they are so starved for intimacy that they marry early, just to get some. Then they might as well have kids, and there you go.

I agree with shakesperihan, it's much more about the OMG BOOBEZ TOUCHIN' BOYZ than crotches. In my church, we sidehugged OR did this sort of half-chest hug, so there was still boob, but less of it. Or leaned way over and hugged in a way so that our chins and arms touched on the other person's shoulders, but nothing else.

Also, if you hug really fast, then there's less time to think about it, and guys can distract themselves with whatever anti-boner images/thoughts they rely on for these situations (sports scores or something, I don't know, not a dude, I don't know how you guys walk around with those things, seriously).
posted by emjaybee at 11:54 AM on November 23, 2009


Did he really just say, "Jesus never hugged anybody like that?" Really?
posted by uncleozzy at 11:56 AM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


emjaybee: I don't know, not a dude, I don't know how you guys walk around with those things, seriously

With great shame.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:57 AM on November 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


With any luck, Lucasfilm Ltd's attorneys are in the process of suing them into oblivion for their unlicensed sampling of the "Imperial March".
posted by Joe Beese at 11:58 AM on November 23, 2009


uncleozzy: you saw it too?
posted by Reverend John at 11:59 AM on November 23, 2009


I honestly don't know what to think about this (which may be something to do with the fact that I only got 2 minutes into it before my brain started oozing out through my ears). This is exactly the kind of thing that people at my church would do as satire - I am absolutely certain that if I showed it to any of them they would be laughing just as hard as I was after about 30 seconds.

And yet, I can't shake the nagging feeling that there really might be churches - particularly in the US - where stuff like this is produced in all seriousness. Whether that's the case here, I just couldn't say, and that's worrying.

Incidentally, 1 Peter 5:14:
Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.
posted by ZsigE at 11:59 AM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


errr, heard it, actually
posted by Reverend John at 11:59 AM on November 23, 2009


I only watched a few seconds of the video with no sound, so I didn't get to hear the song. They could have been covering Dr. Dre for all I know. But I did reach one certain conclusion just from looking at them: These guys are lame.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:00 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


The defiant swagger and rebellious incorrigible posturing of Crunk mixes very strangely with iron age moral taboos.

"yeah we don't give a FUCK ... about anything but G-d"

"muthafucka I'm bad, I'll fuck you up ... but I am saved so I know I am going to heaven because I have the pure love of Christ in my heart"

"bitches ain't shit ... and that's why you shouldn't have sex hug face to face until married"

The audacity of the juxtaposition is almost enough to make me miss that mythical time when value systems were not superficial Lego® brand bricks to be disassembled and reassembled at will.
posted by idiopath at 12:00 PM on November 23, 2009 [11 favorites]


Or leaned way over and hugged in a way so that our chins and arms touched on the other person's shoulders, but nothing else.

Yeah, I think some people call it "A hugs", because your bodies make an A-line shape

It's sort of weird, actually, because at the same time we were being told "Wear loose baggy clothing! Don't tempt each other!" A hugs became really really popular. Basically you hugged hi and goodbye to everyone, because we were all part of the army of christ and had to be buddy-buddy with everyone.

I mean, at that age even prayer circle was full of sublimated sexual desire. "OMG you guys you need to help me get next to Tyler before prayer circle so I can hold his hand! It will be magical!" Really unhealthy, actually.
posted by muddgirl at 12:03 PM on November 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


i do the side hug thing all the time and i am not down with jesus at all.
posted by empath at 12:03 PM on November 23, 2009


So these people are afraid to hug each other because of the possible sexual connotations/contact, and yet their messiah kissed other guys and told everybody else to do the same? I'm sure the people who invented this "christian side hug" would like very much to think themselves as helping young people in their church. And yet, they're asking them to remove anything close to physical sexual contact from their lives, while infusing even the most everyday thing with sexual possibility. This is not a good road to go down, really.
posted by Sova at 12:03 PM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


What was fuck was that "Democratic shift in the Congress" bit?

Appropriating gunshot sounds, sirens, and a violence-lauding sub-culture to warn of the evils of possible bumping of uglies in the least sexual way possible? Yeah that makes a whole lot of sense.
posted by fontophilic at 12:03 PM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Not so much the message as the presentation.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:03 PM on November 23, 2009


I am overwhelmed by the urge to give every member of that group a swirly.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:03 PM on November 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Wait, this isn't a joke?
posted by nola at 12:05 PM on November 23, 2009


Punch 'em in the dick.
posted by zoinks at 12:05 PM on November 23, 2009 [10 favorites]


Roundup: Study Shows High Correlation Between Teen Pregnancy and "Religiosity" In US States.

Religion’s Link to Teen Pregnancy.

Reproductive Health Journal (September 17, 2009) study here.

The New Yorker: Red Sex, Blue Sex --"Why do so many evangelical teen-agers become pregnant?" (previous MeFi FPP).
posted by ericb at 12:06 PM on November 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


The Light Fantastic: I am overwhelmed by the urge to give every member of that group a swirly open-mouthed kiss.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:06 PM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intention...

What this would lead to if it caught on is, of course, that you find yourself with one arm free, which in its turn lead you to question whether it is natural to have one arm swinging solo without perceived purpose. The question should come naturally to anyone close to the mind of God. And the answer should follow quickly: A second woman could fill that spot, and before you know it an irresistible urge is created and you might just end up as miserable as this man (note the double Christian side hug that lead to his doom in the first place).
posted by JeNeSaisQuoi at 12:06 PM on November 23, 2009


The whole side hug thing started a little over a decade ago, arguably with the publication of Josh Harris's I Kissed Dating Goodbye which lays out a new pre-marriage program for Christians aimed at preserving innocence. I knew a lot of people who swore by it. I had one Christian friend who, after I started fucking, would come into my house when I wasn't there and leave copies of this book in my bed.

Besides the side hug, it stipulates that you can't be alone together at night, you can lay next to each other (like no hammock dates), you can hold hands but not with interlocking fingers (i.e. you can only hold hands in the awkward parent-child crossing the street way...)

There's a lot that's fucked up about it, and there is no good place to start, but what I find most sad about it is that you know Jesus was a total hugger - I mean, if you're into kinky shit like feet washing, you're defo a hugger.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:08 PM on November 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


Wait, this isn't a joke?

Nope. "The Christian Side-Hug rap comes courtesy of the Encounter Generation Conference, an annual Christian youth gathering which hopes to 'bring the power, authenticity, and relevance of Jesus Christ to their culture.'"
posted by ericb at 12:08 PM on November 23, 2009


Hugs being so sexualized is the outcome of intense sexual repression. So, of course the solution is more sexual repression.
posted by bright knight at 12:09 PM on November 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


they're asking them to remove anything close to physical sexual contact from their lives, while infusing even the most everyday thing with sexual possibility.

Yep, this. It's just a recipe for all kinds of bad things. Like every straight-edge kid I knew in high school is now an alcoholic.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:09 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I haven't watched the video but I will say that I love side hugs. I do NOT want my boobs on anyone's chest but my own (or my hubby's) and if I HAVE to hug a guy (hopefully not that often, honestly) it darn well better be a side hug.
Capiche?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:10 PM on November 23, 2009


As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intention...

What is the good intention behind the Christian Side Hug?
posted by DU at 12:11 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I do NOT want my boobs on anyone's chest but my own

You know, I think your problem could probably be solved by wearing some sort of shirt, or a sweater.
posted by billysumday at 12:12 PM on November 23, 2009 [44 favorites]


St. Alia, a serious question: Do you only sidehug women, as well, or only men?
posted by shakespeherian at 12:12 PM on November 23, 2009


Man, I've not been to church in a long time is all I can think right about now.
posted by nola at 12:13 PM on November 23, 2009


Well, I prefer to sidehug both sexes but occasionally wind up in a front hug, and it feels...awkward. It doesn't help that I'm short....
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:13 PM on November 23, 2009


I do NOT want my boobs on anyone's chest but my own (or my hubby's) and if I HAVE to hug a guy (hopefully not that often, honestly) it darn well better be a side hug.

So you don't mind lesbian hugs?

And honestly, all your side hug does is make the guy think about your boobs. If you just did a regular hug, he wouldn't think about it at all. But when you deliberately avoid the contact, he knows why and now he's wondering/thinking about it. YOU just sexualized the hug, not him.
posted by DU at 12:13 PM on November 23, 2009 [8 favorites]


This also explains why the Mummy walks around with his arms extended: to put sinful thoughts into your mind with a creepy, dessicated front-hug.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:14 PM on November 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


I poked around (oops!) the site a bit, and came across a post where the writer found out his ride from an airport would be driven by a woman. He called and requested that she be switched out for a guy, because he'd "rather not risk it." And I had to ask: "Risk what?" That he'd be overcome and rape the driver? That she'd rape him? Jeebus, what the hell is wrong with these people?
posted by sensate at 12:14 PM on November 23, 2009 [19 favorites]


Well, I prefer to sidehug both sexes but occasionally wind up in a front hug, and it feels...awkward.

That's the teeming lust, I would imagine.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:15 PM on November 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


I can see this being heartily endorsed by the drones in those Palin book-signing lines...
posted by VicNebulous at 12:16 PM on November 23, 2009


I can't shake the nagging feeling that there really might be churches - particularly in the US - where stuff like this is produced in all seriousness.

As an Anglican theology Ph.D. student once told me, "Hey man, they're evangelical! It's an irony-free zone out there!"
posted by deanc at 12:16 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'll stick with the holy kiss of charity.


Seriously, you want to watch out for me at the Meetups.
posted by nanojath at 12:17 PM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I do NOT want my boobs on anyone's chest but my own (or my hubby's) and if I HAVE to hug a guy (hopefully not that often, honestly) it darn well better be a side hug.

See? That's just the point. You've over-sexualized and fetishized mere friendly hugging to the point where you're uncomfortable with it. To the point where you're upset that you'd even need to hug a guy at all!

I don't give people hugs on a daily basis (except my wife, of course), but I greet just about any close friend with a hug when I haven't seen them in a while, and again upon departure if I'm not going to see them soon. I hug both men and women, with the exception of a couple of guy-friends who've made it clear that they're just not really into hugging.

This is the same sort of hug I would give to my father, my mother, or my sister. It is completely non-sexual, but it's a good way to let them know that I love them. And I do love them, I love my friends and I want them to know they're important. A side-hug is the limp handshake of the hug world.
posted by explosion at 12:18 PM on November 23, 2009 [22 favorites]


I had my very first girlfriend when I was fifteen. She let me get to second base on the second date. She ended up marrying a preacher. So, either there's something really wrong with these people, or my first girlfriend was the sluttiest Christian ever.
posted by dortmunder at 12:18 PM on November 23, 2009


For Teenagers, Hello Means 'How About a Hug?'
posted by ericb at 12:19 PM on November 23, 2009


This post is missing the "dirtypillows" tag.
posted by Drastic at 12:19 PM on November 23, 2009 [11 favorites]


St. Alia of the Bunnies: "I haven't watched the video but I will say that I love side hugs. I do NOT want my boobs on anyone's chest but my own (or my hubby's) and if I HAVE to hug a guy (hopefully not that often, honestly) it darn well better be a side hug.
Capiche?
"

so if we ever meet, I am not to hug you. Got it. I'm a big fan of regular old hugs, to be honest, but I also try to be respectful to people I meet, so if regular hugs are against your religion, then I won't hug you.
posted by shmegegge at 12:23 PM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Here's a corollary: My parents grew up in pretty conservative households, but came of age in the 70s man, so they believed in like, open physical expressions of love and all that jazz. Meaning that until I was pretty in high school I felt comfortable kissing both mom and dad on the lips as an expression of affection.

That was, apparantly, completely unacceptable to most people that I knew. Lip kissing, even completely closed-mouth kisses of short duration was something that sexual partners did, not friends and family members. After that was pointed out to me, I felt really uncomfortable and kisses became very sexualized in my mind.

It was a revelation, in my freshman year French class, to learn that there is a whole world out there where pecks on the cheeks and on the lips were not considered tantamount to incest!
posted by muddgirl at 12:24 PM on November 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


See? That's just the point. You've over-sexualized and fetishized mere friendly hugging to the point where you're uncomfortable with it. To the point where you're upset that you'd even need to hug a guy at all!

Look, there's a difference between a friendly hug and a creepy hug. And there are guys out there who have made me the recipient of the latter. Doesn't mean I have oversexualized anything-but while we are at it, men aren't the only ones with sex drives, and like I said, I want to be the boss of where my boobs go. I don't see a thing wrong with that.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:24 PM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I haven't watched the video but I will say that I love side hugs. I do NOT want my boobs on anyone's chest but my own (or my hubby's) and if I HAVE to hug a guy (hopefully not that often, honestly) it darn well better be a side hug.
I feel the need to point out that civilization functioned more or less pretty well for thousands of years before the invention of the "side hug" in recent decades by American evangelicals.
posted by deanc at 12:25 PM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


so if we ever meet, I am not to hug you. Got it. I'm a big fan of regular old hugs, to be honest, but I also try to be respectful to people I meet, so if regular hugs are against your religion, then I won't hug you

Oh, they are not against my religion at all. Nondenominational people probably hug more than any other folk on the planet. Which is why I am a fan of the side hug!
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:26 PM on November 23, 2009


St. Alia of the Bunnies: Well, I prefer to sidehug both sexes but occasionally wind up in a front hug, and it feels...awkward.

Can I ask why? Breasts are not inherently sexual, and activities that only involve breasts via proximity are even less so. In my opinion, being skeezed out by a bodily expression of affection comes dangerously close to body-bad-mind-good thinking that contemporary Christians casually refer to as gnosticism (small g).
posted by shakespeherian at 12:27 PM on November 23, 2009


Nondenominational people probably hug more than any other folk on the planet.
Obviously not. The side hug isn't actually a hug.
posted by vivelame at 12:27 PM on November 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


And here I thought the Internet had stripped me of my ability to be shocked and surprised. I feel like these skeezy Christians have ... saved? ... me from my life of depressed Weltschmerz.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:28 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


So, how do these people hug their children?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:29 PM on November 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Huh. I didn't know this was due to Josh Harris. I have his Boy Meets Girl (which is much more about relationships that are definitely heading for marriage, or "courtship" as he puts it, than it is about starting those relationships in the first place) and didn't think it was full of that much crazy.

It does look particularly odd when you compare this kind of behaviour with Jesus, who crossed cultural male/female lines WAY more than was considered acceptable at the time. He had a terrible reputation for doing things like talking to women alone and suggesting that prostitutes were holier than the religious authorities of the day, and (Dan Brown's witterings aside) he was certainly very close to the women who followed him.

OK, so it's not the exact same situation, but it's bizarre for the guys in the video to be suggesting that they're being remotely Christ-like. Honestly, I think a lot of this weirdness could be sorted out by getting teenaged guys and girls used to physical contact without making it into something sacred and naughty. Mixed sports teams or something, maybe?
posted by ZsigE at 12:29 PM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Look, there's a difference between a friendly hug and a creepy hug. And there are guys out there who have made me the recipient of the latter. Doesn't mean I have oversexualized anything-but while we are at it, men aren't the only ones with sex drives, and like I said, I want to be the boss of where my boobs go. I don't see a thing wrong with that.

But you first of all said that nobody but your husband was allowed to front hug, and that side hugs were for everybody else. You clarified that to include both men and women. Which means that even close female friends or your mother or your children were to receive side hugs. No? Now you're rationalizing this position by saying that some people who give you front hugs are creepy. I respect that as a position for strangers, but for your own families and friends? If you do not (or would not) hug your own mother with a front hug, please can you explain why?
posted by Sova at 12:30 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


DU: What is the good intention behind the Christian Side Hug?

Seriously? Given the ludicrous qualities of this proposed new addition to the mores of our time, I think you should give supposed proponents the benefit of a doubt before label them as such.
posted by JeNeSaisQuoi at 12:30 PM on November 23, 2009


I poked around (oops!) the site a bit, and came across a post where the writer found out his ride from an airport would be driven by a woman. He called and requested that she be switched out for a guy, because he'd "rather not risk it." And I had to ask: "Risk what?" That he'd be overcome and rape the driver? That she'd rape him? Jeebus, what the hell is wrong with these people?
posted by sensate at 12:14 PM on November 23 [1 favorite has favorites +] [!]


Billy Graham had made it a rule to never be alone with a woman except his wife-this is not because he had a selfcontrol problem-but when someone is in public ministry it is an excellent rule to have because there really are women out there who try to seduce these guys. 99 percent of the women out there are perfectly safe but that one percent...many ministries I know of make it a rule not to counsel the opposite sex alone, not to go out to lunch with the opposite sex alone, etc. Human nature is human nature no matter what your religion, and particularly with those who are supposed to live above reproach, this is not an uncommon personal rule to have.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:30 PM on November 23, 2009


St. Alia of the Bunnies: "Oh, they are not against my religion at all."

so if you'll pardon my language for a moment, what the hell is with this side hug video? does it strike you as a little odd that this would even come up?
posted by shmegegge at 12:30 PM on November 23, 2009


The reverse of this so-called "iron age" mentality that people are carping about here is the bullying into hugging. If someone doesn't want more than slight contact with you, why are you faulting them for it?

See? That's just the point. You've over-sexualized and fetishized mere friendly hugging to the point where you're uncomfortable with it.

See? You're projecting your own beliefs into her statement. You can give someone a hug with the right intentions, but they could reciprocate by being overly clingy, or otherwise getting more from the contact than you might think was implied. If someone is not fond of a "full frontal hug" then you're a creep for not respecting that.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:32 PM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is the same sort of hug I would give to my father, my mother, or my sister.

Good point. Do you have to side-hug your mother, your sister? Because, yeah, that seems creepy that ANYONE would think that it was sexual. And if you don't have to side-hug them, then maybe all hugs aren't sexual and maybe you could loosen up and give hugs to other people who need/want them.
posted by meech at 12:32 PM on November 23, 2009


If you do not (or would not) hug your own mother with a front hug, please can you explain why?

I've had enough practice hugging her so we don't play boobie bumper cars. I'm not as particular when I hug a woman, obviously, but I just don't personally like the feeling of "chest contact" with someone I am not married to. Perhaps that's just me?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:33 PM on November 23, 2009


I'd rather not hug at all if it means risking our thighs slapping into one another, thankyouverymuch.
posted by kingbenny at 12:34 PM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I miss the image tag.
posted by nola at 12:36 PM on November 23, 2009


This actually justifies atheism more than evolution.
posted by Avenger at 12:37 PM on November 23, 2009 [7 favorites]


this is not because he had a selfcontrol problem [...] there really are women out there who try to seduce these guys

I saw an ad for a car while I checked the traffic report on TV this morning. I didn't buy a car on the way to work.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:38 PM on November 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Huh. I didn't know this was due to Josh Harris. I have his Boy Meets Girl (which is much more about relationships that are definitely heading for marriage, or "courtship" as he puts it, than it is about starting those relationships in the first place) and didn't think it was full of that much crazy.

But that's just the thing - relationships that are definitely headed for marriage are ALL relationships according to this philosophy. You don't date, er, court unless you have marriage in mind. Of course, you aren't married yet, so you have to side hug, not interlock fingers, etc.

As for the whole thing starting with the Harris book - I wouldn't say that he himself is solely responsible for the entire phenomena so much as he was the one who codified it all in what became an explosive best-seller in the Evangelical community. There was already a marked leaning toward greater and greater sexual conservatism in the Fundamental Christian church, and the book gave it the widespread recognition and dare I say clout that cemented the place of courting in the social lives of Christian teenagers.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:39 PM on November 23, 2009


St. Alia of the Bunnies: Billy Graham

Look, I went to the same goddam college Bill Graham did, and I've got to tell you, that place is fucked up as far as gender relations go. And I'm not even talking about feminism or equality or glass ceilings. Boys and girls don't talk to each other like regular people, and it's entirely because of the fraidypants attitude towards coed interaction that anywhere else is considered entirely normal. I have observed this firsthand at exactly the place that Billy Graham learned it: Wheaton College, home of the Billy Graham Center, is an environment in which casual time spent with members of the opposite sex is treated as sacrosanct and special and as an event rather than as interaction between two people-- if you have a member of the opposite sex in your room, you are required by the college to have your door open at a certain proscribed angle, you must each have at least one foot on the floor, and the dorms are closed to members of the opposite sex except on certain special pre-arranged 'open floor' nights, for which everyone cleans their room and dresses up nice. Violation of these things gets you in administrative trouble. I lived there for four years. I know what I am talking about. Billy Graham didn't spend time one-on-one with women because the belief was instilled in him by his school that men and women cannot interact normally without it becoming problematically sexual. Billy Graham is not someone to bring up in this conversation. The evangelical subculture, and take it from me because I was at the center of it, does not know shit about healthy interactions between members of different sexes.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:42 PM on November 23, 2009 [54 favorites]


I've been to this sort of youth conference before on several occasions. They fill the time between preaching sessions with cheesy/goofy skits and self-parodying songs. I can say with 99% certainty that this "rap song" is intended to be a joke. The side-hug has been a common occurrence in evangelical youth circles for years, and these are just Christians poking fun at themselves and something they're all familiar with. Like any inside joke, if you're not "inside" you're going to think everybody who "gets it" is insane.

I promise you there are no Christian kids earnestly listening to this song on their iPods as if it were Genuinely Good Music or anything other than a novelty they can chuckle at.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 12:45 PM on November 23, 2009 [7 favorites]


Good god people are getting crazy. I lived in Vienna for a decade and the traditional greeting between friends was a kiss. Not a French three-peck, but a full on lip smack. You'd often seen old men giving each other a big ol' smooch. Nothing sexual about it. The US has some serious issues when it comes to sex.

I remember reading in a a book on Roma culture that the traditional greeting among Roma women was a robust boob squeeze. I'm guessing something to do with approving of their fertility and child-rearing abilities.

I'm hoping they make a rap video about boob squeezing now.
posted by misterpatrick at 12:45 PM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


That's just twisted. Despicable, really, summing up the whole anti-human drive of fundamentalism.

And those rappers dance like Mouseketeers. That's what happens when you take the blood out of something.
posted by WPW at 12:46 PM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I would never be able to develop or maintain an erection around one of these fucking lunatics anyway so I don't see this as much of a problem.
posted by turgid dahlia at 12:46 PM on November 23, 2009


I've had enough practice hugging her so we don't play boobie bumper cars. I'm not as particular when I hug a woman, obviously, but I just don't personally like the feeling of "chest contact" with someone I am not married to. Perhaps that's just me?

That's fine if you feel that way about your body, and you consider "chest contact" to be properly reserved to somebody whose relationship with you is marriage. But to suggest that it is fully acceptable in marriage but less acceptable outside of marriage, and more acceptable with women than men (assuming you consider heterosexual relationships the norm), strikes me that you're sexualizing an act that doesn't have sexual intent. I don't believe infusing non-sexual things with potential sexual content is healthy, especially when you then give that sexual potential as a reason for avoidance.

Again, I don't understand why this is a good road to be going down, and why desexualizing bodies and actions isn't in the long run more healthy.
posted by Sova at 12:47 PM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wait, the author has a followup post on the different kinds of Church Hugs!
posted by deanc at 12:47 PM on November 23, 2009


relationships that are definitely headed for marriage are ALL relationships according to this philosophy

I'd probably phrase it more as "relationships that are POTENTIALLY headed for marriage are ALL relationships". Harris would (if I understand him) say that you shouldn't start a relationship if you're certain that it won't lead to marriage, but that the idea of courtship is to find out just how similar you are to the other person, how you would work as a couple, and whether marriage would be a good idea. He goes so far as to say that a courtship that ends in "naah, this isn't going to work" is an entirely successful courtship, because it achieved its aim.

This all makes me wonder whether Boy Meets Girl is really the book he wanted to write when he accidentally wrote I Kissed Dating Goodbye. The scenario I've described above can work, given the assumption (really pretty common among Christians of all stripes) that sex is for marriage and not before. Weird crap like "side-hugs"...well, that doesn't work at all.
posted by ZsigE at 12:48 PM on November 23, 2009


Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall embrace at the flank, that same is he: hold him fast.

And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and hugged his side.

And Jesus said unto him, Hey, Judas, kinda weirdin' me out there.
posted by Iridic at 12:48 PM on November 23, 2009 [30 favorites]


Hello, and welcome to the Peter Griffin Sideboob Hour.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 12:49 PM on November 23, 2009


this "rap song" is intended to be a joke. The side-hug has been a common occurrence in evangelical youth circles for years

Ha-ha, only serious?
posted by uncleozzy at 12:49 PM on November 23, 2009


The Winsome Parker Lewis - Satire and in-jokes can be more effective at transmitting social mores than earnest messages contained in earnest music. I doubt anyone believes that this was a legitimate rap put on by a legitimate rap group, any more than we assume this guy is a touchtone for youth in America. That doesn't change the fact that teaching teens that any physical contact is sexual contact isn't really, really fucked up.
posted by muddgirl at 12:53 PM on November 23, 2009


IS really, really fucked up.
posted by muddgirl at 12:54 PM on November 23, 2009


I just don't personally like the feeling of "chest contact" with someone I am not married to. Perhaps that's just me?

I'm not big into hugs, but sometimes I want to get my heart as close to another person's as possible to mark an emotional moment. Some chests have boobs over their hearts, some don't. The boobs aren't the relevant body part. Furthermore, this closeness I am striving to express requires a full hug, not a "A Frame" hug.

I've been married a long time.
posted by rainbaby at 12:56 PM on November 23, 2009 [8 favorites]


Jesus wouldn't be Christian enough for these guys.
posted by litleozy at 12:57 PM on November 23, 2009 [13 favorites]


This reminds me of something my wife and I saw this weekend, a local-access broadcast of some suburban Megachurch pastor talking about how he discouraged His Flock from going on Facebook because Facebook automatically leads to reconnecting with old flames, which automatically leads to unrestrained fucking. We both just sat there, mouths open, totally amazed at this worldview where you have to maintain white-knuckled control at all times or else you're putting your penis in something you oughtn't to.
posted by COBRA! at 12:59 PM on November 23, 2009 [9 favorites]


I didn't realize it was possible for someone to ruin hugging. Hugging! Next they're going to frown at A Boy and His Blob due to interspecies hugging. The blob smiles, so clearly he is enjoying the hug too much.

This War on Hugs will not stand! Hug the fuck out of 'em, Philippe!
posted by giraffe at 1:01 PM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


You have to wonder about someone who believes in reserving full-frontal hugs for marriage, but thinks it's totally awesome to mimic being murdered in a drive-by shooting.
posted by EarBucket at 1:02 PM on November 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


there is a Catholic priest version of this but they refer to "mouth hugs"
posted by evilgenius at 1:02 PM on November 23, 2009


99 percent of the women out there are perfectly safe but that one percent...many ministries I know of make it a rule not to counsel the opposite sex alone, not to go out to lunch with the opposite sex alone, etc. Human nature is human nature no matter what your religion, and particularly with those who are supposed to live above reproach, this is not an uncommon personal rule to have.

I guess so, but my therapist is female, and I've shared more with her than my family. I don't think we're in a position where either of us is tempted by the situation, but if so we are practicing self-control. I would be pretty bothered if she had said she wanted another person to be present during the sessions for the reasons you mention. In fact I'd find another therapist without hesitation. I know ministry is not exactly the same, but isn't the counseling you refer to more or less talk therapy?
posted by krinklyfig at 1:03 PM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is crap. How the hell am I supposed to dry-hump in church now?
posted by JeffK at 1:04 PM on November 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Aren't the front side and the back side also sides?

Or the underside?
posted by Kabanos at 1:07 PM on November 23, 2009


The inside is also a side.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:12 PM on November 23, 2009 [7 favorites]


You have to wonder about someone who believes in reserving full-frontal hugs for marriage, but thinks it's totally awesome to mimic being murdered in a drive-by shooting.

Not to mention the phrase "I'm a rough rider filled up with Christ's love" sounds more likely to be uttered in a leather bar than a youth group meeting.
posted by electroboy at 1:14 PM on November 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


bright knight : Hugs being so sexualized is the outcome of intense sexual repression. So, of course the solution is more sexual repression.

Well, in fairness, I've had some hugs that were really, really dirty and sexy and...

*gets lost in thought reminiscing*

I'll be in my bunk.
posted by quin at 1:15 PM on November 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


For Christ's sake, god was never big on policing. You shouldn't be either, you youth pastors.

In fact, you should be ashamed - wait, wait, aren't you all anyways, christians.

This from The Father's House - Loving People, Loving Life, I kid you not!

ps. Y'aint no ruff rida' wit dat christian side hug. LOL. swagging.

[musical interlude] :P
posted by alicesshoe at 1:20 PM on November 23, 2009


Let me rephrase: They're not attempting to "teach" kids the "right way to hug." They're making fun of an act which is already common in evangelical youth culture. It's intentionally cheesy self-referential humor. The kids at the conference are supposed to laugh because they tell themselves:

A. The rappers are goofy and rapping about a goofy thing.
B. It's a goofy thing most of us in the auditorium have in common that other people don't, so, in-joke.
C. If we can't laugh at ourselves, we're taking things too seriously.

Yes, evangelicals do possess the ability to recognize their idiosyncrasies, and laugh at themselves for them. (Many have adopted those idiosyncrasies deliberately.) Also, in my experience, goofy parody makes up the bulk of evangelical youth conference comedy because it's about the broadest humor you can get and still be considered "clean" and "appropriate" by event organizers. They "Christianize" things from popular culture but do so exaggeratedly and with a wink and a nod. The kids love seeing intentionally dorky rip-offs of stuff they recognize from the "secular world" mixed with their own religious quirks. It makes them feel that they're not alone, that there are others who have made the same decisions and do the same weird things as them. There's a certain hipsterific irony wrapped up in the whole approach that encourages that togetherness.

Notice I'm avoiding any moral judgments here about side-hugs or evangelicalism in general, and just focusing on the song billysumday originally linked to. This isn't some new low in pentecostal brainwashing, as some have suggested... If you don't get the context, you won't understand what they're shooting for. Whether or not they hit that target, or if they should aim for it in the first place, is another question entirely.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 1:22 PM on November 23, 2009 [17 favorites]


A side-hug is the limp handshake of the hug world.

Actually, it's part of the secret handshake used to find out who's "in the club".
posted by Kabanos at 1:22 PM on November 23, 2009


I guess so, but my therapist is female, and I've shared more with her than my family. I don't think we're in a position where either of us is tempted by the situation, but if so we are practicing self-control. I would be pretty bothered if she had said she wanted another person to be present during the sessions for the reasons you mention. In fact I'd find another therapist without hesitation. I know ministry is not exactly the same, but isn't the counseling you refer to more or less talk therapy?
posted by krinklyfig at 1:03 PM on November 23 [1 favorite has favorites +] [!]


Yes, true...but having been in the church world since 1980, I have seen and heard a lot and frankly would not blame anyone, church or secular, for putting these types of guidelines in place. For any number of reasons. I know a lot of people in ministry and I know they are a target for unstable people, for one thing.

Now I personally have been in counseling situations with someone of the opposite sex in a secular context, and was fairly comfortable with it-but again, this type of rule is for the exception, because that one exception could totally ruin someone's ministry or career.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:24 PM on November 23, 2009


Remember - everyone needs a side-hug.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 1:26 PM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


If you don't get the context, you won't understand what they're shooting for.

You're making a pretty broad assumption that we don't "get the context". I have already admitted to being an evangelical youth. Lots of others here probably were, as well. I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT. No one is claiming that this video was the first ever example of a side-hug. We ARE saying that it is an example of the way in which conservative ideas about inherently base nature of the human body are propagated and spread to youths who may already be struggling with the fact that they are human beings with a sex drive.
posted by muddgirl at 1:26 PM on November 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


I love the idea that preachers who have sex with parishioners are pure and innocent, while the females are, naturally, deviant seductresses and home-wrecking whores. I mean, you didn't state that, of course, but the implication is there and I'm sure that sort of internalizing is just something I don't "get" as a lapsed Christian.
posted by billysumday at 1:31 PM on November 23, 2009 [8 favorites]


My buddies shun me, since I turned to side-hugs
They say I'm missing a whole world of fun.
posted by snofoam at 1:32 PM on November 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Well, in fairness, I've had some hugs that were really, really dirty and sexy and...

Exactly. A side-hug (can we agree to never use this phrase again after this thread closes? ughh) with my wife is always a dangerous proposition, because OMG those hips and that waist... It's not the same as hugging your dad or a pal or some random person out in the wild and one would hope that one's brain is astute enough to transmit that message satisfactorily. Our sexy bits work for us, not the other way around - I've never emerged from a hug with a family member and suddenly come to the realization that I have years of therapy awaiting.

I suppose the teens in my old-school Roman Catholic it's-ok-for-dudes-to-kiss-on-both-cheeks-Italian family are unwelcome at the Encounter Generations Conference. Yet another reason I'm so happy to be TOTALLY TIGHT WITH SATAN.

Hail Satan!
posted by mintcake! at 1:35 PM on November 23, 2009


Yeah, I'm not comfortable with this thing about over-analyzing St. Alia's hugging preferences, or trying to "catch" her in some kind of contradictory stance. It strikes me as profoundly icky - there's an attitude of shaming/pressuring someone to participate in physical contact that they're not comfortable with. Who the hell cares who she decides to grace with her hugs? Commenting critically on what another woman does with her body is pretty gross. I don't care what her religion/politics are.

(This from someone who is neither a fundamentalist nor much of a casual hugger. I like my hugs, but as a rare treat rather than an everyday occurrence. A good hug is like a fine wine - something to be savored, something to warm the body and spirit. Side hugs are the junk food of the hug world.)
posted by Salieri at 1:35 PM on November 23, 2009 [20 favorites]


muddgirl: My comment wasn't directed at you in the first place. There seem to be some folks in this thread who really don't know exactly what I'm talking about, and they're jumping to conclusions about the video. Your points are totally valid. The thing is, you and I are on two different pages here: I'm only talking about the video, which is a symptom, but you're talking about the larger disease.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 1:40 PM on November 23, 2009


I love the idea that preachers who have sex with parishioners are pure and innocent, while the females are, naturally, deviant seductresses and home-wrecking whores. I mean, you didn't state that, of course, but the implication is there and I'm sure that sort of internalizing is just something I don't "get" as a lapsed Christian.

I'm not sure this is what St. Alia is saying at all. I see her addressing two issues:
1) Preachers are human, and having human drives might fall into sin (as they understand it) if presented with temptation. So, they avoid temptation. No judgment on any one person as being more likely to sin than the other.

2) People in high profile positions tend to attract the mentally unstable. When dealing with someone with mental illness, there's always a danger that they will have a perception of an interaction which is wildly out of line from yours. If the two of you are alone, then it's harder to refute this kind of thing. Since preachers have a lot to lose from being seen as falling into sexual sin with their congregation, they'd rather not taking the chance of having to deal with false accusations.

From my perspective, there's plenty of negative gender baggage in evangelical circles, but I don't see it coming out in this particular argument of St. Alia's.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:45 PM on November 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Man, I want to Christian side-hug me some VAMPIRES.
posted by Theta States at 1:45 PM on November 23, 2009


Now I personally have been in counseling situations with someone of the opposite sex in a secular context, and was fairly comfortable with it-but again, this type of rule is for the exception, because that one exception could totally ruin someone's ministry or career.

What I think is more important is that the person in a position of authority should be able to abide by a set of standards. This is how it works with psychotherapy and other positions where you are counseling someone as a licensed professional, and you can have your certification/license stripped if you violate certain guidelines. Although this doesn't prevent all problems, it seems to work better than the bizarre notion that someone in such a position can't be trusted whatsoever and so needs a person there to make sure they don't lose control. I don't care who that 1% of women you keep talking about consists of - IMO, if you can't control yourself enough in those situations, you need to step down from such a position, because most people don't have that problem.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:45 PM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Since preachers have a lot to lose from being seen as falling into sexual sin with their congregation, they'd rather not taking the chance of having to deal with false accusations.

This is true of any position where you are counseling another as a professional. Curiously, only the religious end of it can't get a handle on their own desires.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:47 PM on November 23, 2009


They're making fun of an act which is already common in evangelical youth culture.

So, this is an ironic subversion of the status quo using an ironic framework device? This is their version of a double-edged Monty Python riff?

I think you're giving them waaaay too much credit.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:49 PM on November 23, 2009


Bulgaroktonos: I guess I was trying to say what krinklyfig was saying.

Growing up, I was in a church where the preacher had an affair with a parishioner. And guess what? The dude was a creepy mofo who abused his power by having little flings with women all the time. And who's fault was it, every time? The vile, vile women! I don't think this is all that uncommon in evangelical circles. The belief is that the man just can't help himself around sexy sexy sex women sexy boobs, so it's up to the man to either never be around women in one-on-one situations or it's up to the women to prevent the man from acting on his base desires. It's like everyone is thirteen. And it's bizarre.
posted by billysumday at 1:50 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm not comfortable with this thing about over-analyzing St. Alia's hugging preferences, or trying to "catch" her in some kind of contradictory stance. It strikes me as profoundly icky - there's an attitude of shaming/pressuring someone to participate in physical contact that they're not comfortable with. Who the hell cares who she decides to grace with her hugs? Commenting critically on what another woman does with her body is pretty gross.

You're right, I took it too far in arguing with her. I was assuming in bad faith that she wasn't putting forth her personal preference. She has every right to decide what she does with her body and set her own limits of personal comfort.
posted by Sova at 1:51 PM on November 23, 2009


1) It's sad that this rap is actually better than the shit on mainstream radio today. But maybe it's just cuz it's 10 years behind the times? In 10 years they'll be autotuning with the rest of the secular gang!

2) I think we need Kevin Bacon to make a sequel: Footloose 2: Electric Hugaloo
posted by symbioid at 1:56 PM on November 23, 2009


I saw this posted online elsewhere and watched the whole video, and I have to say that I *just* *don't* *get* *it*. What is the deal? Why does anyone care?
posted by Lynsey at 1:57 PM on November 23, 2009


Growing up, I was in a church where the preacher had an affair with a parishioner. And guess what? The dude was a creepy mofo who abused his power by having little flings with women all the time. And who's fault was it, every time? The vile, vile women! I don't think this is all that uncommon in evangelical circles.

So, I get why, from personal experience, you might be quick to impute the kind of negative attitude toward women that you're talking about to St. Alia, but I don't think it was there in what she said. That kind of "based on who you are and what you believe, I have a whole set of other things that I'm going to assume you believe" it bad form, and it leads to a lot of the worse conversations we have here. It's easy to do(I know I've done it), but I think it's important that we watch out for it.

I'm not going to elaborate more on what I think St. Alia is saying (because that would be bad form), but I think the implications you read into it say a lot more about you, and your beliefs and experiences, than they do about hers.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:58 PM on November 23, 2009


Commenting critically on what another woman does with her body is pretty gross. I don't care what her religion/politics are.

I was just skimming down the posts to see if anyone had commented on this yet. Agree or not with someones opinions, but don't tell them how they should feel about their own bodies and what to do with them.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:00 PM on November 23, 2009


Bulgaroktonos: I was also in a church with a preacher who was probably the most decent man I've ever known in my life, and how he handled all manner of people no doubt colored my opinion of how the church often handles male/female dynamics, so thanks but no thanks for the clinical diagnosis.

Everything anyone needs to know about how St. Alia views authority is evident in the many comments she posts to Metafilter. I'm really really confident I'm not misreading anything there.
posted by billysumday at 2:02 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not going to elaborate more on what I think St. Alia is saying (because that would be bad form), but I think the implications you read into it say a lot more about you, and your beliefs and experiences, than they do about hers.

I do think the idea that a male counselor can't be expected to maintain control, because of a small percentage of women who are unstable or whatnot, is preposterous, and it absolves men of any responsibility while laying the blame squarely at the feet of women. It even allows the male to have an extra person present for this purpose. All I can say is, this is one of the most clear-cut examples of patriarchy and blaming the victim you can ever hope to find, and it's institutionalized within some branches of evangelical Christianity to the point where people defend it as just doing some CYA, and every church has to watch out for those crazy women!
posted by krinklyfig at 2:03 PM on November 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


They're just setting these kids up for a lifetime of furtive side-blowjobs in public restrooms.
posted by felix betachat at 2:04 PM on November 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Am I the only one who feels physically depressed after watching that? I just want to lie down now.
posted by birdie birdington at 2:10 PM on November 23, 2009


Breasts are not inherently sexual

Whoa, which Internet are you posting from?
posted by CynicalKnight at 2:21 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


My love of the hug is well documented here on MetaFilter. I've always been a fan of the full-court press, face to face smashing hug. I don't go as far as my dad or my uncle, who are likely to lift you off of the ground, but I have no problem with human contact.

Having said that, I've noticed that even though the South is notorious for its homophobia, there's a lot of man-on-man hugging going on. Every day, when I'm conducting a service, I get hugged by no less than half a dozen men. Maybe it's because my dad was so friendly, maybe it's because I exude some sort of irresistible man-musk. But dudes always feel comfortable giving me a hug--although it always includes the mandatory "I'm totally straight" back slap. So, just to rock the boat, I've developed a new tactic: whenever a guy hugs me, I make sure to NOT do the back-slap thing. I just embrace them and then step away. It's not much, but it's just enough to unsettle them, without really knowing why. Plus, it cracks my brother up when I do it.

(Side story: my mom and dad really wanted to see "The Passion of the Christ", so...being a dutiful son, I took them. They loved it, I didn't care for it. After the movie, I walked them to their car and I gave both of them a hug and a kiss. I've never shied away from kissing my dad on the lips. Hey, he's my dad! So, I kiss him, and this group of kids who had just walked out of the same theater we did yelled, "Fags!"...I miss my dad's kisses.)
posted by ColdChef at 2:22 PM on November 23, 2009 [18 favorites]


Hey guys, is this the thread where we get outraged about MetaFilter's advocacy of genital assault?
posted by designbot at 2:27 PM on November 23, 2009


Creepy and depressing. God forbid his people experience or feel anything real. I feel even sadder then I felt last week when I learned that Kosher wine is BOILED. Boiled.
posted by applemeat at 2:30 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


than
posted by applemeat at 2:30 PM on November 23, 2009


ass-out hugs anyone?
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 2:37 PM on November 23, 2009


Surely the linked video has nothing to do with counselors or mentors having full frontal hugs with kids though, right? It's more like, this is how peers of the same age group should hug so as not to be sexually aroused by the same-age-opposite-sex uglies being bumped. I think the argument about ministers or whatever was a bit of a derail. Absolutely ministers should not be alone with a child, and college lecturers are taught to keep their office doors open when meeting with students individually. This is about hot teen-on-teen fully clothed full frontal hugging, right?
posted by Nick Verstayne at 3:08 PM on November 23, 2009


I just don't personally like the feeling of "chest contact" with someone I am not married to. Perhaps that's just me?

It's OK, we're only side spouses.
posted by flabdablet at 3:14 PM on November 23, 2009


Absolutely ministers should not be alone with a child, and college lecturers are taught to keep their office doors open when meeting with students individually. This is about hot teen-on-teen fully clothed full frontal hugging, right?

OK, but this is also more broadly about how repression brings about such silliness. What St Alia was talking about was specifically a male-female situation, both adults. Is it OK for the minister to be alone with an adult male? If so, why?

I don't know how we got to the point where we automatically say, "Absolutely ministers should not be alone with a child," but it seems to indicate that ministers are not to be trusted. Why is that?

"college lecturers are taught to keep their office doors open when meeting with students individually."

Do non-religious personal counselors at the school insist on keeping their door open during session? Isn't the relationship between a minister and parishioner more like that of a counselor and patient when it comes to the sort of one-on-one St. Alia was talking about, than one of a lecturer and student?
posted by krinklyfig at 3:16 PM on November 23, 2009


Today we witnessed the toxic cultural side-effects of both the Bible and Eminem blended into a single, hideous hybrid.
posted by EatTheWeak at 3:27 PM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


More than anything, it's all very sad. Side-huggers are people who have somehow misconceived the very idea of a hug, and turned it into something to be feared and avoided. What a loss.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:48 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm with St. Alia on this one. When hugging an ex-gf after getting married: weird. My wife said the same it was the same thing for her when she hugged an ex-bf. So now we only hug each other (besides our kids and family). Does that seem weird to the ex-bfs and ex-gf that we run into? Yeah. And awkward when the oncoming hug is diverted into a handshake or high-five. Does it seem weird to some Mefites? Yeah, but that's okay. It's something we've kind of codified into how we express our fidelity to each other.

I'm not implying that hugs = infidelity or even that they are a cause of infidelity. Just that it's one of the ways that we express it in our marriage.

With practice, hugs can be diverted to handshakes (yeah, sterile), or high-fives (kind of childish). Both of these options are preferable to the extremely awkward christian side hug. I'm off to practice turning an impending hug into a high-five now. In the mirror, of course.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 3:49 PM on November 23, 2009


"Now a question of etiquette, as I pass, do I give you the ass or the crotch?"
posted by bwg at 3:52 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


so just as a small question here, why does it matter how some people choose to hug anyone else? ...what impact does that possibly have on those who post here on the blue? why does it matter in the least to you what people choose to do with their lives?

why is this any different than some adults hoosing to drink raw milk (previously discussed on the blue), going to church, cooking a meal a certain way or anything else.

does this somehow offend people? does it deserve ridicule? i mean SERIOUSLY, what are the reasons for this kind of reaction?
posted by knockoutking at 4:03 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ya' know what hugs lead to? Yep. This. And this. And this! *
posted by ericb at 4:05 PM on November 23, 2009


billysumdays comment reminded me of this David Cross bit about Ashcroft covering the statue of Lady Justice. [about 4 min in]
posted by Uncle at 4:06 PM on November 23, 2009


I don't think this is all that uncommon in evangelical circles. The belief is that the man just can't help himself around sexy sexy sex women...

And men and meth. I'm looking at you Ted Haggard!
posted by ericb at 4:09 PM on November 23, 2009


My last comment has very NSFW language. Sorry
posted by Uncle at 4:10 PM on November 23, 2009


I like to imagine this started with some skeezy youth pastor with a muffin-top fetish.

"Oh! Excuse me, what in G dash d's name are you doing?"
"Nothing! Nothing! I'm... side-hugging."
"Sidehugging?"
"Uh... yeah, it's like a regular hug, only it leaves a lot more space for the Holy Spirit. All the honorable Christians are doing it."
"What's so bad about regular hugs?"
"A pure person could get tempted, and that could lead to straying from God's path. Now who else wants a side hug!?"
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:16 PM on November 23, 2009


I want to hug you like an animal Christian
I want to hug you from the inside
posted by TG_Plackenfatz at 4:17 PM on November 23, 2009 [10 favorites]


Look at these fucking libertines.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:21 PM on November 23, 2009


Wait a sec - it's next to impossible to get wired up with one of those little lapel mikes in the standard tucked-down-the-shirt, transmitter-in-pocket way without bumping shoulders face-to-face. There's sometimes even a bit of chest brushing goin' on. If this catches on widely enough it could all but eradicate nutjob evangelicals from mainstream TV!

Which'd be pretty sweet!

Hey, wait a further sec - if I'm understanding this correctly, I'm pretty sure I was forced into a bodily sin against God by a Fox News associate producer one time. We might have a suit here that could destroy the whole network! I'm off to call my attorney, Jackie Chiles!
posted by gompa at 4:25 PM on November 23, 2009


does this somehow offend people? does it deserve ridicule? i mean SERIOUSLY, what are the reasons for this kind of reaction?

I feel I should give an answer, partly because this is directed at me. The answer is that I'm happy - over the moon in fact - when people choose to live their lives the way they want to. We should all have moral and physical integrity, and that includes having our choices about personal physical comfort respected by others. However, in the context of this discussion, it's clear that people are being taught that certain ways of thinking about bodies and sex are right, and others wrong, for no reason other than religious scruples. Again, I think every person has the right to moral and physical integrity, and I don't believe religions always respect the integrity of their followers. Instead, they seek to possess certain moral and physical decisions made by their adherents.

I crossed the line when arguing with St Alia, because she stated her personal preferences and I ignored that. But I still reserve my original point that the religious view of hugging under discussion is harmful to those who interiorize it as way of understanding physical interaction and human bodies. It matters to me that people are being harmed by this. I hope you take it as a sincere reason for my personal reaction, and I'm certainly happy to discuss it.
posted by Sova at 4:38 PM on November 23, 2009


One of my wife's best friends has lots of fondly-recalled stories about going to summer church* camp as a teenager. Basically, it was like university frosh week without the booze; two weeks of making out and/or losing your virginity, with a bit of pot smoking on the side. She says (and these are her exact words) it was "the horniest environment I've ever been in, including high school." I assume there were very few side-hugs.

Disclaimer: this is the relatively hippy-dippy United Church we're talking about.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:49 PM on November 23, 2009


I have already admitted to being an evangelical youth. Lots of others here probably were, as well. I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT.

Another one here. My little fundamentalist group was mostly composed of young adults and there was this weird few months when there was a marriage frenzy-- like a domino effect; people were falling right and left because marriage was the only way they could have sex.

I was 15 when I joined the church, and I fell hard for a 17 year old surfer with long blond hair and a blinding white smile, named M____ Hopewell (I loved his name!) It wasn't too long before our dates were ending in hot make-out sessions in the front seat of his car. After a few times of touching my naked breast, he told me reluctantly we had to break-up because our relationship was too sexual and he was having impure thoughts. Six months later he was married. I've always wondered how that turned for him.

Hugs being so sexualized is the outcome of intense sexual repression. So, of course the solution is more sexual repression.


I was struck by a news story I read recently about how the religious leaders in Egypt are trying to force women to wear gloves when leaving the house. It isn't enough that women are covered from head to toe, men can still see those sexy, sexy hands which is too much temptation. Hence, the gloves. But I wondered, what about the way they sound? What about the way they smell, the way they move? Short of locking women up and forcing them to stay inside their houses for the rest of their lives, there will always be a female form under that all that garb and I don't think forcing them to wear gloves is going to solve the problem of women being sexy to men.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:03 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


thanks sova for the honest answer (wasnt directly aimed at you or anyone else fwiw), people seem to love to blast that which is different than what they do/were raised doing and thats what i dont understand...

just let people do what they want (as long as its not illegal) and go from there...no reason to ridicule them for choosing to live their life the way want to
posted by knockoutking at 5:06 PM on November 23, 2009


I'm not sure this is what St. Alia is saying at all. I see her addressing two issues:
1) Preachers are human, and having human drives might fall into sin (as they understand it) if presented with temptation. So, they avoid temptation. No judgment on any one person as being more likely to sin than the other.

2) People in high profile positions tend to attract the mentally unstable. When dealing with someone with mental illness, there's always a danger that they will have a perception of an interaction which is wildly out of line from yours. If the two of you are alone, then it's harder to refute this kind of thing. Since preachers have a lot to lose from being seen as falling into sexual sin with their congregation, they'd rather not taking the chance of having to deal with false accusations.


THIS.

Yes, of course I expect pastors to be decent and not take advantage of women. The majority ARE. But I also know about pastors (and about myself) that we are human, and just like any other human can be attracted to folks we should not be attracted to, and that as a way of protection, it's wise to not be alone on a regular basis with the opposite sex because, hey, biology. Hormones have no morals.

But frankly, the second reason stated above is even more crucial. Believe me, oh believe me, there are flakes out there- of both sexes-and you do NOT, do NOT do NOT want to be alone with them because, heck yeah, false rumors can start and without a witness totally impossible to handle. Years ago my husband and I headed up a small group at our church and had to deal with someone who-well, there was a misunderstanding on her part-regarding someone else in our church. Believe me when I say it was taken incredibly seriously.

And as for me and my husband, we pretty much have an agreement that for the most part we do not socialize separately with the opposite sex. I give him exceptions for work (he's in the real estate field) but he tells me that many times he has to blatantly mention me to the women he deals with. It isn't that we do not trust each other, we do, but again, we know that no one is immune to biology, and we are both absolutely committed to be faithful to one another.

We are taught as Christians that we need to avoid the very appearance of evil. Sometimes that means that we avoid even innocent things, but rather that than go over a line we don't need to be crossing.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:08 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wonder if these sort of pro-side-hug-hip-hop performances are enjoyed by evangelical youth in the same way that some rock music fans enjoy the Finnish band Lordi. I mean, no one actually advocates dressing up as demons and wearing Finnish flag top-hats, but when you put it all together, the music is entertaining and a bit of an enjoyable send-up of hard rock.

Seriously, though, on one hand, these unusual cultural practices/idiosyncrasies may serve to bind the evangelical culture together, they also serve to keep others away. I could point to side-hugging and most of the stuff in Stuff Christian Culture Likes (previously) to my friends (the ones I know from church, even) and we'd view these guys as some kind of aliens.
posted by deanc at 5:16 PM on November 23, 2009


I'd heard that refrenced all over the web but this is the firs time I actually clicked the video.

O. M. G.
What is wrong with these people?
posted by delmoi at 5:17 PM on November 23, 2009


> It isn't that we do not trust each other, we do, but again, we know that no one is immune to biology, and we are both absolutely committed to be faithful to one another.

A few months ago my wife went - by herself - to have a coffee with an old ex-boyfriend of hers who was in town for the weekend. You know why I didn't mind? Because I really trust her.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:24 PM on November 23, 2009 [13 favorites]


This thread reminds me why I became an extreme fundamentalist agnostic.
posted by freebird at 5:26 PM on November 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Wow. Just wow. I guess those times I've spent with my best friend, getting shitfaced drunk over at her house, had the appearance of evil and should have been avoided because we are weak, hormonal humans who might end up jumping each other's bones. All the more so because I know she just loves to fuck, and is a single mom; and I know I'd fuck 3x more often if I thought I wouldn't end up snapping my dick off; and, wow, a couple of horny people like us could get in trouble.

Except for, you know, that whole respect for my wife and honour toward our relationship and all that other atheist claptrap that keeps me from running rampant through the world.

But I'm weird like that: I also give my friends full frontal hugs, regardless their sex. I don't think any of us have thought it to be a sexual thing.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:35 PM on November 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


does this somehow offend people? does it deserve ridicule? i mean SERIOUSLY, what are the reasons for this kind of reaction?

There are two reasons.

1) American society is already permeated with a lot of screwed up sexual norms involving simultaneous bombardment of sexual imagery and deep communal shame and repression about all things sexual. So I think the idea of the institution of the evangelical church, which is a very powerful organization politically and socially, attempting to make the HUG an aberrant or deviant act is horrifying to many bleedin' heart liberals (well, at least, to me) who view "the hug" to be a crucial part of human contact that is critical to healthy mental development, health, and society.

2) For the second reason, I direct your attention to the allegory known as Russel's Teapot. Essentially, the idea is this - there exist many systems of belief which are harmless to others, even if incorrect. But certain systems of belief, such as many Christian faiths, are not harmless. They indoctrinate millions of defenceless children with artificial morals, and consistently seek to legislatively or culturally impose their restricted moral system on others. Thus, when someone proclaims that "I don't like hugging", it's perfectly fine, and there is no reason to ridicule or harass them. On the other hand, when a powerful organization like the Evangelical movement decides that "hugging is wrong", it does deserve condemnation and outright hostility from those who wish to remain free to hug whichever way they want.

That's why it matters to me.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 5:36 PM on November 23, 2009 [10 favorites]


I took some liberty with Russel's Teapot, but I think it applies.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 5:38 PM on November 23, 2009


So, how do these people hug their children?

I see some front hugs at this Purity Ball...
posted by delmoi at 5:38 PM on November 23, 2009


Come to think of it, if you're the kind of person who is gonna be having sexy thoughts while hugging me, don't be all up in my full frontal giving me a hug. I don't want sex with you, and I don't particularly want you to be wanting to have or thinking about having sex with me.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:42 PM on November 23, 2009


My buddies shun me, since I turned to side-hugs
They say I'm missing a whole world of fun.


I won't lose a friend, by touching their boob,
And what kind of Christian dry humps without lube?
Others take pleasure in hugs from the back,
I smoke the Christian crack.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:43 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


And as for me and my husband, we pretty much have an agreement that for the most part we do not socialize separately with the opposite sex. I give him exceptions for work (he's in the real estate field) but he tells me that many times he has to blatantly mention me to the women he deals with. It isn't that we do not trust each other, we do, but again, we know that no one is immune to biology, and we are both absolutely committed to be faithful to one another.

We are taught as Christians that we need to avoid the very appearance of evil. Sometimes that means that we avoid even innocent things, but rather that than go over a line we don't need to be crossing.


Man, really? I mean, whatever works for you, I guess, but that sounds like such a depressing way to live.
posted by Caduceus at 6:16 PM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


maybe it's because I exude some sort of irresistible man-musk.

Oh you totally do, ColdChef. We all noticed it.

And if you really want to freak out the hugger dudes, while avoiding the back slap start saying "No homo!" at the same time.
posted by emjaybee at 6:18 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Man, really? I mean, whatever works for you, I guess, but that sounds like such a depressing way to live.

I tell you what's really depressing. Watching all the divorces over the years-people divorcing that I never dreamed would have divorced. People having affairs that I never dreamed would cross that line. Stuff like that.

I know I can never say "I could never do that." The minute someone says that, they are in deception. Doesn't mean they actually WILL do that, but you can never ever say there is no possibility. Again, biology.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:28 PM on November 23, 2009


Man-musk, ColdChef? I thought it was embalming fluid.
posted by The Deej at 6:29 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have a friend who has spent a good deal of time in waziristan and she says that since all the women are in full body burqas that you can only tell the prostitutes by the way they move their feet.
posted by shothotbot at 6:38 PM on November 23, 2009


Come to think of it, if you're the kind of person who is gonna be having sexy thoughts while hugging me, don't be all up in my full frontal giving me a hug.

Come over here and give me a hug you big lug.
posted by nola at 6:49 PM on November 23, 2009


Christians are the new Mormons.
posted by Bageena at 7:02 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


five fresh fish: I also give my friends full frontal hugs, regardless their sex. I don't think any of us have thought it to be a sexual thing.

I think fff hits what is, for me, the very most depressing about this FPP. Up until today I'd spent my entire life free from all assumption that a warm, friendly hug = "a sexual thing."

I want to go back.
posted by applemeat at 7:39 PM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


> We are taught as Christians that we need to avoid the very appearance of evil.

That is the exact same line of reasoning behind idiocy like this.
posted by Stonewall Jackson at 8:03 PM on November 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


I haven't read all the comments, since most of them are LOLXIANS anyway. But in another life I was a youth minister, and we did things like this entirely ironically.
posted by jefficator at 8:11 PM on November 23, 2009


Stonewall Jackson, I'm not sure 404 errors can be blamed on that...
posted by Dysk at 8:12 PM on November 23, 2009


Yes, of course I expect pastors to be decent and not take advantage of women. The majority ARE. But I also know about pastors (and about myself) that we are human, and just like any other human can be attracted to folks we should not be attracted to, and that as a way of protection, it's wise to not be alone on a regular basis with the opposite sex because, hey, biology. Hormones have no morals.

I don't get this. It seems as the logical conclusion is that people lack self control, even people in positions of utmost trust, so we must always assume that nobody is to be trusted. This seems like a sad way to live.

Again, I don't see this problem nearly as much outside the religious circles which seek to suppress sexuality.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:20 PM on November 23, 2009


All I'm thinking of right now is the fact that Princess Jesus Boobies made an underage sex tape for her boyfriend, and now she goes around the country trying to tell adults how to conduct their sex/marital lives.

Fuck these hypocrites. The sooner Christianity dies out the better.
posted by bardic at 8:26 PM on November 23, 2009


I tell you what's really depressing. Watching all the divorces over the years-people divorcing that I never dreamed would have divorced. People having affairs that I never dreamed would cross that line. Stuff like that.

Yeah, but that's life. You always have the option of going through life scared of your own desires, or you can learn to deal with it like the rest of us. You can't control how other people live their lives, but you do have control of your own, including how you react to your own desires.

Of course, everyone has lust. But it's healthier to understand that's different than commitment and act accordingly. You don't have to act on all your desires like a smitten teenager. The fact that you have them isn't something to be ashamed of. But you should be conversant with them, so that you do understand yourself. I think this is really what the chaste life lacks, the realization that these things are human and are manageable, so they become alien and threatening and appear to be from the devil or some such. It's possible to be committed without being terrified. (It's also possible to be happy in different types of relationships than this type, but that's another conversation.)
posted by krinklyfig at 8:30 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


So, umm, why do they all get shot dead at the end?
Is there a West Coast vs. Bible Belt rap feud going on that I don't know about?
posted by madajb at 8:33 PM on November 23, 2009


Holy crap I just got to the part of the purity ball video where dad busts out the "how much do you love me" chart and now her dad's taking her out on dates and oh god yuck, yikes all the purity talk!

I don't know if I can make it to the end - feel free to spoil it for me: how many head of cattle is he eventually able to get in trade for access to his daughter's hymen?
posted by EatTheWeak at 8:34 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm the anecdotal opposite to some of the stories we're hearing here. I hug, I get shitfaced along with my horny single friend, I dance with flirting strangers. I'm an ordinary randy male, gotta get it on several times a week or I'm blue-balling, etcetera. Yet somehow I have maintained a deep, monogamous relationship for well over twenty years.

Maybe it all comes down to character. I can not fathom there being any intimation of sex in a hug with a friend.

I can well appreciate that there are many people out there who have life experiences that might make them shy of physical touch. I think that's a crying shame.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:13 PM on November 23, 2009


Oh, and re: the video: I think it's a crying shame that children are being taught that physical contact is near-exclusively sexual contact; and are being taught to avoid hugging. That is a practice that runs so counter to the demonstrated social behaviours of every human society that it can't help but be damaging. Raising children in Skinner Boxes does not work.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:15 PM on November 23, 2009


Well forgive me for not 'getting it', but I'm not brainwashed that way.

I don't buy into the theory that that act was ironic for those that get it. Then again, I'm not a member of that cult. And it is a cult.

Why do these church groups [from Evangelical to Roman Catholic] hate women so much? The same paternalistic jingoism adhering to the same principles as the Taliban. Gonna burn some witches while you're at it, I presume? Same prehistoric thinking.

Sorry, not welcome in my world. Predators come in all shapes and sizes.



"And as for me and my husband, we pretty much have an agreement that for the most part we do not socialize separately with the opposite sex. I give him exceptions for work (he's in the real estate field) but he tells me that many times he has to blatantly mention me to the women he deals with. It isn't that we do not trust each other, we do, but again, we know that no one is immune to biology, and we are both absolutely committed to be faithful to one another.

We are taught as Christians that we need to avoid the very appearance of evil. Sometimes that means that we avoid even innocent things, but rather that than go over a line we don't need to be crossing."


That.
is
odd.

I don't feel any trust there. Biology you say? oh, boy. Like that side hug, it's an avoidance issue.

If someone doesn't want a hug in greeting, they can just say so - or by immediately sticking your hand out in the form of a hand shake. They may very well give off a vibe they don't want one, but should someone miss that, there are ways of dealing with it and not hugging. By choice, absolutely. A side hug though instead? No. That isn't dealing with it, that you don't want what someone is offering, in short.
posted by alicesshoe at 9:40 PM on November 23, 2009


The side hug + A frame hug + group hug = rugby scrum.
posted by peeedro at 9:48 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I know I can never say "I could never do that." The minute someone says that, they are in deception. Doesn't mean they actually WILL do that, but you can never ever say there is no possibility. Again, biology.

I agree that there are situations where our biology would make the outcomes of some situations hard to predict how we will act ahead of time, but only with the caveats that a) the type of situations defined in this way would be ones that people fear for life and/or b) situations that the person doesn't have the ability to enact their own will by way of well defined boundaries. So hugging and fucking are worlds apart, and if you're using the excuse of "biology" as being some sort of free-agent catalysts where these worlds collide than you should seriously be looking into how you've defined your own boundaries and your will's dictates. If you have and side-hugging, high-fiving, and hand-shaking is your answer than fine and good, but don't make blanket assumptions that all people with different boundaries that make ease of use of hugginess are creepy. That's just plain ridiculous and tending towards hysterics. Also if you know people who have ended up committing infidelity, then let's not blame something as innocuous as hugging, because we all should know that's not an impetus for such things.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:41 PM on November 23, 2009


I find that I am able to avoid impure thoughts if I masturbate furiously right before I hafta hug anyone.

And then I wipe my hands on their back.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:22 AM on November 24, 2009 [7 favorites]


but don't make blanket assumptions that all people with different boundaries that make ease of use of hugginess are creepy

Of course I don't do that. But as fff mentioned some of us do have life experiences that make us...leery.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:09 AM on November 24, 2009


Yeah, and I'm not talking about your experiences or what your boundaries are because I did say if you wanted to shake hands instead of hugging that's fine. But I guess I need to re-quote what you said:

I know I can never say "I could never do that." The minute someone says that, they are in deception. Doesn't mean they actually WILL do that, but you can never ever say there is no possibility. Again, biology.

Which is you expressly talking about how other people may respond to hugging.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:18 AM on November 24, 2009


I wasn't talking about hugging, per se there. I was talking about spending alone time with the opposite sex on an extended basis. Sheesh.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:17 AM on November 24, 2009


Okay, you're expressly talking about how other people may respond to spending time alone with etc, etc.. What I said still stands. Or would you like to bait-and-switch some other part of your argument?
Look, you obviously have a conservative viewpoint on this that isn't open for discussion. So "sheesh" it up all you want but if you're going to state them publicly, in a liberal forum no less, then you should realize some people are going to disagree.
posted by P.o.B. at 4:46 AM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


And hi-fiving? I cannot say that I have given any one a high-five in a non-ironic manner since I was on high school.

I understand the instinct of evangelicals to want to create a self-sustaining culture that is distinct and isolated from the social and moral problems of mainstream society. However, I wish they would realize that the problems they are trying to fight and protect themselves against were not caused by hugging. If you ask me, from my Mediterranean-family raised perspective, this is more about American discomfort with physical contact than any kind of religious/moral issue.

Complain about mysogyny and violence in music? The glorification of violence in society? Sex as a commodity used to sell things to the consumer public? Overemphasis on materialism? These are things I can see drawing a lime in the sand over. The fact that people greet each other with a hug? Not really on my radar, abd I have no idea why it would be on anyone else's.
posted by deanc at 5:53 AM on November 24, 2009


Is it can be side hugs tiem nao?
posted by longbaugh at 6:07 AM on November 24, 2009


I think fff hits what is, for me, the very most depressing about this FPP. Up until today I'd spent my entire life free from all assumption that a warm, friendly hug = "a sexual thing."

I just read House of Cards, and it's strange- the book isn't at all what you'd think it'd be. I thought it was going to be a story about a guy who worked at Hallmark and all the funny things that happened there,. but what the book is really about is all the crazy ways this guy acts out the sexual repression of his youth. And I totally understood it- he grew up in the same Christian youth groups I did. I can't say enjoyed the book, but I'm really impressed with the way he laid out all the really embarrassing things he did (he hires a hooker because he wants to touch breasts- really).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:12 AM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


We are taught as Christians that we need to avoid the very appearance of evil. Sometimes that means that we avoid even innocent things, but rather that than go over a line we don't need to be crossing.

Just wait. I'd love to be a fly on the wall when St. Peter hands each of the Chistians a bong, a bumper of Coke and maps to the various orgies in Heaven. Unfortunately, I won't be there, as Cerberus will be snapping and barking while the ferryman Charon explains the Rules of Hades, as we cross the River Styx: (1) Proper dress at all meals, (2) No 'cusswords,' (3) Lights out each evening at 9:00 p.m., (4) Only side hugging allowed and (5) absolutely no sex permitted!
posted by ericb at 7:26 AM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'll hug everybody. But I'm criminally extroverted to the point of being like an overexcited lapdog. I've been known to even crawl and bed and snuggle non-sexually with friends. Watch out, I might start humping your leg.

It may or may not surprise you to know that I went through a fundamentalist Christian phase when I was in middle school (6th-8th grade) and totally was convinced that hand-holding was the first step to having TEH SEX. I was later kicked out of my youth group for having a boyfriend (who was himself a committed Christian) and totally misplaced my virginity at the precocious age of 14... or 15. I honestly don't know. (It was sometime around my 15th birthday, but the actual event was - dare I say it - too underwhelming to remember the specific date).

So, now I'm a Buddhist snuggle monster (I was actually raised as a Buddhist and the Christian thing was a weird attempt to get my estranged - and also strange - biological father to like me. It didn't work out.) who can count the number of people I've had TEH SEXXX with on one hand with fingers left over.

There is no point to this story other than my hugging you is 99.9999% guaranteed to NOT lead to my having sex with you.

(Also, I spend a fair amount of time in European countries where kissing is the normal greeting, and what the hell are you going to do there? If you DON'T do it, you're actually being totally, totally rude. Say what you will about your own preferences, but go to a place where you're expected to kiss and refuse and you're really stating "EFF YOU!" - it would take a lot of discussion about American Puritanism and your wishes regarding your body to get the other party to understand that it's nothing personal, and that's just exhausting and they may decide that they really don't care enough about your body-phobic norms to continue any kind of interpersonal involvement. Though to be fair, most Europeans are aware that Americans are weird and have some pretty bizarre notions regarding "ZOMG YOU TOUCHED MY BUBBLE.")

Yes, evangelicals do possess the ability to recognize their idiosyncrasies, and laugh at themselves for them.

Huh. This is actually 100% counter to my experience. I guess we've met different evangelical Christans.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:59 AM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just read House of Cards,

BTW, David Ellis Dickerson is MeFi's own.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:01 AM on November 24, 2009


I tell you what's really depressing. Watching all the divorces over the years-people divorcing that I never dreamed would have divorced.
Barna Research Group, an evangelical Christian organization [1999 Study]:
"The highest divorce rates are in the Bible Belt: 'Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama and Oklahoma round out the Top Five in frequency of divorce...the divorce rates in these conservative states are roughly 50 percent above the national average' of 4.2/1000 people. Nine states in the Northeast (Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Maryland) have the lowest divorce rates, averaging just 3.5/1000 people.

...The difference in divorce rates is particularly interesting given the fact that the Christians getting divorced in the highest numbers are among the same Christians who are most likely to raise an alarm about the state of marriage in society. They also tend to be the same Christians who want to deny gays the right to marry on the assumption that gay marriage is a threat to the institution of marriage. If marriage is in any danger in America, perhaps the threat comes from the unstable marriages of conservative Christians, not the relationships of gays or the marriages of godless atheists." *
The Barna Group's 2008 Study.

Evangelicals: Why Do We Have the Highest Divorce Rate?


posted by ericb at 8:06 AM on November 24, 2009 [11 favorites]


BTW, David Ellis Dickerson is MeFi's own.

He doesn't have any site activity at all. I don't think having an account with your name on it autmatically makes you Mefi's Own. If it did, Paris Hilton would be Mefi's Own.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:19 AM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hormones have no morals.

If a person's conscious mind can't keep their hormonally affected behaviour check past their teenage years, they need help. When I get angry, I don't mindlessly lash out at whatever is causing me to get angry. The same goes for desire. Anyone who claims to be a rational adult cannot use hormones as an excuse for their behaviour.

Feeling desire and acting on desire are two separate things. The problems stem from the fact that a lot of religions equate feeling something to doing something. If you covet your neighbours wife, you have already sinned. This is fundamentally denying, as St. Alia says, biology. People should work on refusing temptation instead of avoiding it. I have more respect for a person who says no to temptation than a person who has never faced temptation. Y'know, like this guy.
posted by slimepuppy at 8:20 AM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


deanc: "Complain about mysogyny and violence in music? The glorification of violence in society? Sex as a commodity used to sell things to the consumer public? Overemphasis on materialism? These are things I can see drawing a lime in the sand over."

Agreed.

Though I cannot help making a very bad pun about sand and lime.
posted by idiopath at 8:25 AM on November 24, 2009


Maybe I linked to the wrong account, but there was a recent thread about his videos with a "National Coming Out Day" card where David Ellis Dickerson totally commented - maybe he has two accounts.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:31 AM on November 24, 2009


Billy Graham had made it a rule to never be alone with a woman except his wife-this is not because he had a selfcontrol problem-but when someone is in public ministry it is an excellent rule to have because there really are women out there who try to seduce these guys.


aahahahahahahahahahahahahasdiofh"awer4aw359ssbggszboh i'm having a stroke.

That is a handy excuse!

"She seduced me because I am a righteous man of God and she tempted me with her wiles because she is a tool of Satan and I would never fuck around on my wife but I had no control because she seduced me I had nothing to do with it send more money."
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:54 AM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


> That is a handy excuse!

There's more where that came from in ericb's last link:

Evangelicals: Why Do We Have The Highest Divorce Rate?

Satan must also work over-time to make Christian marriages fail because it is such a poor picture of what the Christian life should be like.


Yeah, that's right. It's Satan.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:00 AM on November 24, 2009


"She seduced me because I am a righteous man of God and she tempted me with her wiles because she is a tool of Satan and I would never fuck around on my wife but I had no control because she seduced me I had nothing to do with it send more money."

You seem to be confusing Billy Graham with somebody like Jim Bakker. I've never heard allegations of anything of that nature going on with Billy Graham, and I don't think it's crazy to attribute some of that to his boundary setting. Ministers, even those who aren't in highly visible positions, are dealing with a lot of people in emotionally-charged situations, and I think it's very wise for them to set firm boundaries between their work and their personal lives, because it is so easy in a position like that for the lines to get blurred.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:17 AM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm still thinking about this. Are hugs a sensual pleasure? They can be. So can eating a wonderful meal with friends and sharing bites of the best foods.

Both cases seem so big a part of the human condition. Both are public activities I see all the time. Not offensive. "Timmy, turn away, those people are sharing food - using the same utensils and making wild noises of joy - cover your ears too - never let me catch you doing that!"

Hugs are more public than private, in my expereince, so I can see the point that if I am hugging a person other than my spouse and nobody is there to see it, I need to use more brain to define if this is a hug, a dance, foreplay, what. But I am a capable of making the definition for me, and if necessary, asking the other party what they are experiencing.

Do teenagers get a kick out of public full frontal hugging? Sure. It's like practice for naked private hugging. That's why we throw supervised dances for them, yeah? Let the kids have something. I just can't believe leaving summer camp at 13 and crying and hugging - no - clinging to other young people I had bonded with led me down this road of sin I travel. I'm pretty sure my brain did that all on its own.

Sexualizing the sensual. It makes me feel awful for people who live with that mindset.

I suppose they feel awful - really truly awful - that I'm going to Hell, so it's a wash?
posted by rainbaby at 9:19 AM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes, evangelicals do possess the ability to recognize their idiosyncrasies, and laugh at themselves for them.

Huh. This is actually 100% counter to my experience. I guess we've met different evangelical Christans.
The satire magazine The Wittenburg Door does reflect a certain self-aware humorous sensibility that one normally doesn't think it possible among evangelicals.

I'm pretty sure, though, that it's written not by the youth pastors and enthusiastic attendees at the youth conferences but rather by the guys getting lectured by the head of the "newsletter ministry" about now "satire is not a fruit of the Spirit!"
posted by deanc at 9:23 AM on November 24, 2009


You seem to be confusing Billy Graham with somebody like Jim Bakker. I've never heard allegations of anything of that nature going on with Billy Graham, and I don't think it's crazy to attribute some of that to his boundary setting. Ministers, even those who aren't in highly visible positions, are dealing with a lot of people in emotionally-charged situations, and I think it's very wise for them to set firm boundaries between their work and their personal lives, because it is so easy in a position like that for the lines to get blurred.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:17 AM on November 24


What on earth are you talking about? I'm saying that blaming these kind of affairs on evil women who just want to seduce helpless men of God is completely ridiculous.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:28 AM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm just making it clear that Billy Graham wouldn't do that, and never did. I don't even think the way St. Alia of the Bunnies described his "rule" is accurate to the reasons he would say he did it.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:31 AM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


I wasn't talking about hugging, per se there. I was talking about spending alone time with the opposite sex on an extended basis. Sheesh.

Once again I can provide real-life counter-examples. I have, for instance, snuggled under the covers with my wife and another woman. We were all frozen solid and exhausted from a day of skiing. We all crashed under a duvet, near-naked, trying desperately to get warm.

And yet we did not have sex. Huh.

Amazing, is it not, that a horn-dog like me can do such things. Why, it is almost as if we alltook personal responsibility for maintaining control of our behaviours.

Maybe this is why I'm atheist: I don't need something else to control my behaviour, I do it all myself.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:43 AM on November 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


I've been the recipient of side hugs and had no idea what the hell was going on. I'm glad to finally have some context; before I thought the person just didn't know how to hug, or perhaps wanted to start a football huddle or cancan dance with me.

(Note: I am from New England and would prefer no physical contact at all, thank you.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:46 AM on November 24, 2009


"Billy Graham had made it a rule to never be alone with a woman except his wife-this is not because he had a selfcontrol problem-but when someone is in public ministry it is an excellent rule to have because there really are women out there who try to seduce these guys. 99 percent of the women out there are perfectly safe but that one percent"

Yeah, because it makes perfect sense that every woman who ever worked for, with, or near Billy Graham has to be treated differently from all the men who work for, with, or near Billy Graham, because he thinks that 1% of woman want to fuck him, and that justifies treating all woman as untrustworthy, second-class human beings who can be controlled by the position of a door.

You know, there are days I don't know who I hate more: The conservative, woman-are-bad, sex-is-worse, lets-control-everybody Christians, or all the normal/moderate/average Christians who won't stand up to anybody who claims to be holier than average.
posted by faster than a speeding bulette at 10:01 AM on November 24, 2009


Billy Graham's point wasn't that being alone with a woman would OOOPSIE end up with sex. It was that he believed some women would falsly accuse him of rape, sexual harassment, or an affair because of his position in the evangelical church, so he thought it best to protect himself by never giving the appearance of impropriety. Personally, i think that's a very uncharitable opinion for Graham to hold about the people that he worked with and for, but I'm not his confessor. Regardless, it really has nothing to do with this idea that a man and a woman can't ever touch each other without inflaming the passions.
posted by muddgirl at 10:05 AM on November 24, 2009


OK, little to do with the idea.
posted by muddgirl at 10:17 AM on November 24, 2009


I had one Christian friend who, after I started fucking, would come into my house when I wasn't there and leave copies of this book in my bed.

Ok, that's just fucking obnoxious
posted by scrutiny at 10:31 AM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


I like that the song begins and ends with multiple gunshots and the sound of falling brass.
posted by alby at 10:52 AM on November 24, 2009


Interesting interview with the ex-evangelical author of I'm Not that Kind of Girl Carlene Bauer.
posted by shothotbot at 11:03 AM on November 24, 2009


now I'm a Buddhist snuggle monster

Best. Religion. Ever.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:20 AM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Either hug or don't. Side-hugs are offensive.
posted by rahnefan at 11:27 AM on November 24, 2009


Billy Graham's point wasn't that being alone with a woman would OOOPSIE end up with sex. It was that he believed some women would falsly accuse him of rape, sexual harassment, or an affair because of his position in the evangelical church, so he thought it best to protect himself by never giving the appearance of impropriety. Personally, i think that's a very uncharitable opinion for Graham to hold about the people that he worked with and for, but I'm not his confessor. Regardless, it really has nothing to do with this idea that a man and a woman can't ever touch each other without inflaming the passions.

I think it has a lot to do with this idea, to be honest. Otherwise, he'd have the same policy with male colleagues, to prevent the possibility of a gay harassment scandal.
posted by explosion at 11:57 AM on November 24, 2009


I think it has a lot to do with this idea, to be honest. Otherwise, he'd have the same policy with male colleagues, to prevent the possibility of a gay harassment scandal.

Billy Graham is 91 years old. How long have gay harassment scandals been a thing? I would think his generation missed the gay harassment scandal boat, though I could be wrong about that.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:17 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't be surprised if Billy Graham was careful not to be alone with an openly gay man.
posted by muddgirl at 12:24 PM on November 24, 2009


I poked around (oops!) the site a bit, and came across a post where the writer found out his ride from an airport would be driven by a woman. He called and requested that she be switched out for a guy, because he'd "rather not risk it." And I had to ask: "Risk what?" That he'd be overcome and rape the driver? That she'd rape him? Jeebus, what the hell is wrong with these people?
This is the original comment which tipped off the "pastors who don't spend time with a woman alone" thread of discussion. The thing is that the author is not a pastor. He describes himself as a "a preacher’s kid/copywriter." It has nothing to do with his position as a pastor. AFAICT, he's a writer and sometime invited speaker. If he would "rather not risk it" when it comes to having a woman driver, it sounds like something completely different.

I mean, maybe my life has been kind of sheltered, but I really haven't faced many sensual risks during the times I've gotten rides from women. Am I missing out on something?
posted by deanc at 12:27 PM on November 24, 2009


Almost forgot -

Metafilter: we don't play boobie bumper cars.
posted by rahnefan at 12:47 PM on November 24, 2009


deanc your last comment is begging to be misinterpreted.
posted by scrutiny at 12:47 PM on November 24, 2009


The last line of the comment rather. For humor, not for judgement.
posted by scrutiny at 12:48 PM on November 24, 2009


I haven't read all the comments, since most of them are LOLXIANS anyway. But in another life I was a youth minister, and we did things like this entirely ironically.

This was apparently an entry in the "Rules Rap" contest of the 2009 EG Conference. The idea is to create an amusing rap number that conveys the message of one of the conference rules.

So, yeah, the over-the-top gangsta rap hoo-ha bit is a joke. The "SIDE-HUGS ONLY" rule is real.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:50 PM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


deanc your last comment is begging to be misinterpreted.

D'oh! I really need to turn up the sensitivity of my double entendre detectors when proofreading my comments.

So, yeah, the over-the-top gangsta rap hoo-ha bit is a joke. The "SIDE-HUGS ONLY" rule is real.

And here I used to make fun of my church camp's "one-piece bathing suits only" rule for the girl campers. Seriously, dude-- this was a rule? America is a strange place, my friends.
posted by deanc at 12:55 PM on November 24, 2009


Another "Rules Rap" for the same conference.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:38 PM on November 24, 2009


This is the original comment which tipped off the "pastors who don't spend time with a woman alone" thread of discussion. The thing is that the author is not a pastor. He describes himself as a "a preacher’s kid/copywriter." It has nothing to do with his position as a pastor. AFAICT, he's a writer and sometime invited speaker. If he would "rather not risk it" when it comes to having a woman driver, it sounds like something completely different.

I mean, maybe my life has been kind of sheltered, but I really haven't faced many sensual risks during the times I've gotten rides from women. Am I missing out on something?


In my subculture, I'm not surprised. But on the other hand one of my male pastor friends (who lives in my neighborhood) gave me a ride up to the church when he saw me walking that direction last year, so YMMV. I do think that in most cases, traveling Christians (writers, ministers, etc) and professional Christians (Pastors, counselors, etc) do tend to either have these rules for themselves or go to churches where this is the rule for staff members.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:39 PM on November 24, 2009


Bible geekery: the quote about "avoiding every appearance of evil" is probably a mistranslation in the KJV, though you might be able to make a similar point from Paul's thoughts about food sacrificed to idols, I suppose.
posted by pw201 at 5:31 PM on November 24, 2009


I mean, maybe my life has been kind of sheltered, but I really haven't faced many sensual risks during the times I've gotten rides from women. Am I missing out on something?

Yeah, I think you are missing the bit in the comments to the original link where the guy who wrote that pops in and says:
I completely understand why you and your readers though Stuff Christians Like might be a serious site...Christians like me have done some ridiculous things in the past. We’ve been judgmental and hypocritical and a whole list of other things that are toxic.

My hope is that by talking about some of the silliness we’ve been rightfully accused of, we can be honest about the clutter associated with Christianity, clear it away and talk about Christ instead.
So, ironically enough that was an example of a Christian being ironic, while using that irony to criticize some of things attitudes and actions of his fellow christians—such as a toxic relation to sexuality, like you know, the whole side hug thing—he finds problematic.
posted by tallus at 5:40 PM on November 24, 2009


my god. so much crazy. why does everyone freak out when the one guy says 'im buying babies like angelina jolie'? why does he say that at all?
posted by mosessmith at 7:00 PM on November 24, 2009


"Defo"?
posted by lore at 8:18 PM on November 24, 2009


[A few comments removed. Don't do that here.]
posted by cortex at 10:19 PM on November 24, 2009


I cannot say that I have given any one a high-five in a non-ironic manner since I was on high school.

Touchdown/home run/goal/three-pointer/daily double/nice hat! *high-fives deanc*

At first, I thought this video was a parody (and I'm sure they don't promote it on the EG Conference page), but I was unaware side-hugging was a real, discussed phenomenon in Christian churches. I thought it was strictly SWPL.

Still, The Winsome Parker Lewis nailed it. This is skit filler between the preaching. They're clearly making fun of themselves.

I wish they would turn the audience lights on to see how many people are actually in the crowd. My guess is 25-30.

Churches don't really prohibit full-frontal hugging, do they? I've been hugged by many a fundamentalist/assemblies of god folk, and they didn't do no side hugs.

The women sometimes do the lean-in, though, which is apparently a variant of the side hug. That's one way to keep your breasts from getting stimulated by other men's chests, I suppose. Personally, I like normal hugs. The lean-in is too much like someone going in for a kiss.
posted by mrgrimm at 7:55 AM on November 25, 2009


My husband and I just got back from an early supper at Waffle House (of all places) and he started getting nostalgic about when he first got saved back in the 70's. He then proceeded to say about how he'd gotten saved in the right church because they believed in hugging people (this meant a lot to him because of the kind of childhood he had, but that's not germaine to this thread.) Since I had NOT mentioned this thread to him, I asked, casually, "Were they side hugs or fullfrontal? "

The answer was full frontal, nonlustful hugs. And I quote.

So there you have it. I still don't like frontal but honestly that's just my personal quirk so I think I can be allowed that.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:18 PM on November 25, 2009


Well, every time you say "full frontal" most people are going to instantly imagine a naked lady and/or dude (don't lie, you know you do!) so there's that.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:21 PM on November 25, 2009


Frat bothers manhugging = full frontal dudity.
posted by cortex at 3:23 PM on November 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


and guys can distract themselves with whatever anti-boner images/thoughts they rely on for these situations

mummified animal faces slowly rolling their eyes forward to look at you while opening their mouths slightly to expel fetid air
posted by Greg Nog at 6:01 PM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


mummified animal faces slowly rolling their eyes forward to look at you while opening their mouths slightly to expel fetid air

You know you just aroused 45% of the internet there.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:20 PM on November 25, 2009


I have never heard of this before, but it's totally depressing that people are afraid to HUG someone of the opposite sex, in PUBLIC, no less. I actually find it so sad that it seems embarrassing that someone would admit to such a thing.
posted by agregoli at 9:05 AM on November 27, 2009


[hugs agregoli non-sexually]
posted by five fresh fish at 9:43 AM on November 27, 2009


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