Hmmm...that's kind of awkward, though.
I do think (unless the whole damn shebang is so customary that everyone does whatever is de rigeur automatically) that a hugger has an obligation to be sensitive, as the huggee has some obligation to indicate to the hugger if they don't want to be hugged.
I don't think the onus is just on one party.
Personally, I'd find it VERY hard to SAY "Please don't hug me" to a person in a social situation. I'd more likely just do a very quick hug, and be stiff and awkward and then feel bad!
I think it's usually pretty obvious via body language if someone is not wanting a hug, and I think huggers need to respect that.
I'd hope the hugger would assess my desires as they moved in.....if I don't know someone well, and there is not an established hug protocol between us, I would normally ask if it was ok to hug, actually, or start to move in, and do a body language "is this ok?" thing before actually making contact.
I feel exactly the same way.
I think observing the huggees body languagae when approaching them needs to be observed and respected.
I don't know if it was in this thread, or somewhere else, but something was said about someone saying "may I kiss your hand?"
That is just freaking bizarre, if you ask me.
I mean, assuming you're in a situation where you want to be pleasant with this person, how are you supposed to refuse what they consider a friendly overture?
Personally, I'm not sure it is a friendly overture, but that's another story.
So you say "no, I prefer you not kiss my hand (ass clown)". This refusal is just....hanging out there. Uncomfortable.
I think I've had someone kiss my hand maybe twice in my life. Whether it was once or twice, I know I found it disgusting. I think I, without even knowing I was going to do it, rubbed the back of my hand on my pants. While doing it, I realized THAT seemed rude, but it had already been down.
Actually, maybe it was ok that the hand kisser saw me do that. I would hope it made him realize not to do that (at least to me) again.
Jesus, keep your damn lips off my hands, that's just gross, for both of us. Who knows where my hands have been?