Our parents taught us that the proper way to greet someone was with a handshake unless the individual was a close family member and even then, I recall my uncles towering tall above me greeting me with a smile.
They would often with a head slightly in my direction as we shook hands say to me, “well hello there young lady” or to my brother, “hello there young man.”
When we met someone knew, attended to business, ran into a friend, old friend, etc., we were offered a hand to shake and vice versa. It is tradition and professional, no lines were crossed. It is about respect and also about one staying in one’s space. (The latter, for me, is a big deal.)
The greeting of strangers, co-workers, etc., with a hug can open the door to the blurring of lines, as we witness in the headlines today.
Unified Patriots by Bob Montgomery
One desirable outcome from all these “groping” and “inappropriate touching” scandals crowding the ethernet and the airwaves these days would be if all of the politicians, celebrities, academics and business people would start shying away from the obligatory “hugs” when they greet each other or introduce each other in a public setting. I have long thought it absurd and mildly grotesque that grown adults who barely know each other, aren’t related and didn’t , for example, serve in combat or survive some horrible experience together would engage in the perfunctory “hug” up there on stage, often, if it’s male and female, accompanied by the peck on the cheek.