Man, am I ever glad I'm not in high school now—this trend would kill me.
Girls embracing girls, girls embracing boys, boys embracing each other—the hug has become the favorite social greeting when teenagers meet or part these days. Teachers joke about “one hour” and “six hour” hugs, saying that students hug one another all day as if they were separated for the entire summer.
I don't hug—I don't strangers, I don't friends. Hugs are for partners and family members. I've always resented being pulled into hugs by people I barely know; I dread the appearance of a huggy co-worker at my desk on her last day at work; and I've been known to leap across a room to extricate myself the arms of someone who was attempting to hug me without my consent. You could call it hang up, if you want to put your pro-hug bias on display. I prefer to call it a preference: I would prefer that you keep your arms at your sides, thanks. Back to the NYT:
A measure of how rapidly the ritual is spreading is that some students complain of peer pressure to hug to fit in.
When I went to high school my peers pressured me to use drugs (didn't), date opposite-sex partners (dissembled), and speak Latin (delinquo), and I barely survived the ordeal. I would've cracked—and dropped out—if I'd also been under pressure to hug my classmates every morning and afternoon. Oh, for the days of comparatively innocent rainbow parties!