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Monday, June 30, 2008

Arms are for Hugging

Circle time is still happening; if you have something for Show and Tell, come present it to the class.

On Sunday, The Order of the Plastic Uterus (otherwise known as more informally known as the DC Bloggers) got together at the same restaurant where we met over a year ago for the first time. There are so many terrible stories about the Internet--I'd like to counter it with this one.

Once upon a time, a blogger named Lindsay called together all of the DC Bloggers to meet face-to-face and we've gotten together at least once a month since then. We've sat with each other after a miscarriage or distracted each other in the two week wait. We've eaten enough calories to fuel a small country and drank enough alcohol to leave twenty frat boys vomiting with a hangover. They are my girls and I know for a fact (not that this has been actually tested) that we would collectively chew someone a new asshole with our razor sharp teeth if they ever messed with another member of the Order.

After lunch, I took a photo of everyone at the table to take with me to BlogHer. I plan on transferring the photo to my palm pilot and then setting my palm pilot on the panel table. This (1) makes me look super serious and super prepared--ready to toss out infertility questions like breakdance moves--and (2) gives me confidence, knowing that I can look down as I quake in my seat and feel the power of the Order radiating across the Continental states--from D.C. to San Francisco.

It is interesting how simply seeing someone can make one feel as if everything is okay even when everything is decidedly not okay. M once mused about Mick Jagger that if she was ever walking at night on a deserted street and coincidentally passed him in some dark back alley, just seeing him would make her feel okay. Safe.

It's strange because she doesn't know Mick Jagger--she has no clue if he would or would not come to her aid. But it's just a gut feeling. Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, and even Keith Richards don't bring out this same feeling. This feeling of a small comfort.

I have made long lists of celebrities that I would like to hug during a nervous breakdown--that sense that holding on to someone would keep me from drowning or bumping into them on a deserted street would make you feel less alone and scared. It begins with Anthony Rapp simply because he seems like a lovely person based on his book. As I read it, I thought to myself, if I was in the center of New York, panicked and lost (which often happens to me in New York), he would be a face I'd love to see. And it would be comforting for him to walk by, ask me if I needed anything, and then give me a small hug before sending me on my way. The hug is crucial for me--it's a connection. A clear statement that the person has interacted with you and touched your life. Plus, who doesn't enjoy a good hug? A good hug is like finding an unopened pack of m&ms in your purse right before a movie begins.

In a writing crisis, I'd like to bump into Peggy Orenstein. I consider her a writing goddess. I would also fare well and probably calm in the presence of Anne Lamott or Elizabeth Gilbert. With a run-of-the-mill emotional breakdown, I'd love a hug from Rosie O'Donnell or Ellen DeGeneris. I think both radiate love and warmth. Sally Field, Frank Warren (from PostSecret), K.D. Lang, Dolly Parton, and Alton Brown round out the list.

I base some of this theory on actually hugging Grace Paley. And in that moment, having the world right itself as it thrashed about in such a tumultuous time in my life--even if it was just for a short time--and I am so eternally grateful still for the breathing space and clarity I gained from her hug.

So, who--living or dead--would be on your list?


Sunny said...

You brought tears to my eyes. I loved spending time with you! You always amaze me. I know you don't necessarily see it but you are.

Jill said...

How cool is it to have such an amazing support system!

Celebrities I'd like to hug:
Tom Hanks (my all time fave and he seems so nice!)
Christian Bale (Just because he's a hottie)

If I was feeling blue, I'm sure Roseanne could make me laugh or Kevin James.

Tash said...

Anyone who has lost a child: Prince, Eric Clapton, elizabeth edwards, Joe Biden, the guy who wrote Freakanomics . . .

And believe me, if you had told me 10 years ago I'd want to hug Prince, I would've laughed myself silly.

Lollipop Goldstein said...

Oh, can I add Elizabeth Edwards to my list too? And Michelle Obama. They both make me feel like things could be okay.

niobe said...

I'm not really into hugs and the number of celebrities I can name could be comfortably counted on the front paws of a three-toed sloth. But I'd love to meet all (or at least a large subset) of the bloggers who live near me. There are lots of other bloggers I'd like to meet too, but it seems less likely to happen.

Lisa said...

Aw, you make me wish I still lived in the DC area!

Funny you should post this. As I watched a lame prime-time game show the other night that has celebrities working with contestants, I grew more and more enamored with one of the celebrities. I had always liked him, but, watching his confidence and, yes, adorableness (if I may be permitted to make up a word), I stated, out loud, that Neil Patrick Harris probably gives a great hug! So, put him on my list!

emilythehopeless said...

i am so jealous. seriously. i would kill for a group like that. anyone live in CT?

um.. i think i'd like to hug elton john. or maybe martin crane from fraiser.. he seems like a sweet old man.. and ditto the tom hanks mentioned.

Rebecca said...

Just Some Guy by Anthony Rapp is one of my favourite ever songs :)

STE said...

Celebrities? Hmmm. I couldn't say, though everyone people have named -- esp Elizabeth Edwards -- mmight be a good place to start.

I got a lot of hugs when I came back to school after I lost my boys, which I certainly appreciated, but a real *hug* means so much. There has to be some other connection.

One of my best friends, JH, has one the best laughs I've ever heard, and gives some of the best hugs, too.

This sounds really corny, but I would love a hug from my mom. She gave really good hug. There's a picture of my mom hugging my sister on her wedding day, about a month before my mom died -- the goodness of the hug radiates through the picture. I *know* what that hug feels like.

Hope2morrow said...

I think I'd like to hug Mother Teresa, Big Bird, Ellen, Marissa Winokur, and Robin Williams.

Lollipop Goldstein said...

I'd like to also tack on that I'd forgotten Sesame Street. Actually, I would love to bump into anyone from Sesame Street during an emotional crisis. But Big Bird probably would give the best hugs.

Also Wendy from Peter Pan.

Kim said...

Ooh, I was going to say Wendy from Peter Pan! And I second Tom Hanks, Robin Williams, Elizabeth Edwards, Rosie and Ellen - and Muppets! Maybe not Miss Piggy though! I want to add Rachel Ray, Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs), Whoopi, Sally Field, James Spader, Michael J. Fox, Barbara Walters, Brett Favre. Hmmm I am sure there are more ....

NJ is not too far from DC, I might have to make the trip one day - that is if an out of towner is allowed! lol

Io said...

You! You're kind of a blog celebrity, so you count, right? And you can kick dark scary alleyway assailant ass, right?

Kim said...

I'll second Rachael Ray and I'll add James Earl Jones, very grandfatherly

Kymberli said...

Funny, the first person I thought of in response to this was Grover from Sesame Street. He was always my favorite and as a toddler, a stuffed Grover was my equivalent of Linus' blanket.

I'd like to hug Maya Angelou - I'd try to soak in her grandmotherly wisdom. Stevie Wonder is on the list. Most of all, I'd like a hug from my great-grandmother who we called Big Mama. She passed away 7 years ago and I'd give almost anything to have more time with her.

BTW - I still haven't received my assignment. I think my email hates me.

Julia said...

I was going to say that I am so bad with celebrities, and am not really into hugging people I don't so much know. But then I read Tash's comment, and I see that I can definitely go for Elizabeth Edwards. Who else? Two poetesses long dead whose names I bet nobody here would know. There must be more, but I am not coming up with much right now...

LJ said...

I bet Patrick Dempsey smells nice when he gives a hug. I'm just sayin'.

Piccinigirl said...

wow, you sure know how to make tears spring to my eyes. Beautiful post Mel..Gorgeous.

these are not going to be popular but:
Jesus (cause I think he probobly hugs pretty good)

Jerry Orbach (because I love Law & Order so much I call him "my uncle Jerry"

Kathy Lee Gifford or Kelly Ripa ( I think they probobly love to hug)

my mom , my husband and my BFF Lisa are also the kind of huggers that make me feel safe.

and yes Maya Angelou, Good hugger, I can tell.

wish I lived closer to DC, sounds like so much fun. :)

luna said...

I'm still thinking about who I would like to hug in a crisis. But in the meantime, I've got a good story about a powerful hug.

It was when I first went back to work after my son died. Our receptionist/admin asst. is a small quiet woman who speaks minimal english and keeps to herself, never sharing anything personal, etc. When I walked in the door, she stood up and enveloped me in the biggest tightest hug. She didn't say a word, but it spoke volumes. Of course I just started crying. Ah, so much for compartmentalization...

Oh and my SIL just HAD to hug Winnie the Pooh when we were at Disney -- it didn't matter that everyone else hugging Pooh was under the age of 8... she really gave him a big one. so cute.