Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thing 198 Free Hugs

When I was in college I used to get bored of queuing for a seat, so I'd hop up onto a desk, and walk across the top of rows of desks until I found a seat, then I'd plonk myself down. Years later several friends would tell me that they thought I was a giant douchebag. I didn't see the problem at the time - I didn't want to wait, and there was a quick way to a seat. Embarrassment never occured to me. No idea what shame was...

That can be remedied though. Testicle waxing on live radio is a quick way to mortification. Walking through Limerick City Centre with a sign that says free hugs is another way. I don't do embarrassment very well.
I picked clothes out that were inoffensive and relatively easy on the eye - being bearded was also a poor decision. Few people can pull off the beard and still be huggable. Jesus and Santa being prime examples, but other than that, it's not easy to be bearded and have people trust you enough to want to hug you. I went out to the streets armed with my sign and and expecting an unholy and god-awful torrent of abuse.

At the best of times these things are an unpleasant combination - embarrassment and abuse. I'm usually the one dishing out the abuse.
Went well. Not just well. It went amazingly. One kid of about twelve walked past and gave some guff, and some woman who appeared to be in her thirties said she'd be happier to give me hugs if I was good looking (which made me laugh my ass off, and stung the ego a tad). Other than that, there was no abuse, there were loads of hugs though.

Well over a hundred. Pony Boy watched for quality control purposes, and because he knew he'd get a laugh out of it. Three little kids followed me around for about an hour. Advance warning people that a walking hugging machine was making its way through town.

Up and down Cruises' Street, O'Connell Street, Bedford Row, Thomas Street, outside Penny's.

Honestly though, if you think about it, who in Ireland likes having their personal space invaded? I don't. Which kind of makes it a shitty stunt to go invading someone else's for fun. Plus, it seemed like the kind of thing someone would do in California or something. Not very Limerick for sure.

I had every age group, every race, colour and creed. I even had a Charlie Chaplin hug. Parents walking with their kids hugged me, and then their kids did too. I hugged three generations of one family. A group of shoppers walked passed, shook their heads at me as they laughed, stopped came back and hugged the crap out of me.
I was full sure I'd hate today. I didn't. I kind of loved it actually. Spreading the love. It's good for the soul, apparently.


  1. Ya Dan spreading the love is the way forward.....sounds like a good day :) Clara K

  2. Ya might be interested in this,http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cxo3pYBtsk the 2 lads that did this had a great ole time of it, really liked this one Dan, Hello from Peru

  3. 31 days in october just saying bro

  4. EEKKK!!! I met you!!!! Just down the road from Smyths with my Art college buddies! I was the gal who suggested a group hug!!! You REALLY brightened up my day!!! :)

  5. aw dan u have fans, thats so cute ;)

  6. why oh why was i off that day??