Are Hugs the New Handshakes?

From the White House to The Real World to your office, greetings are getting warm and fuzzy

Illustration by Jonathan Carlson for TIME

The Hip-Hop Hug

If White House etiquette is any indication, you should be getting a random hug soon. The Obama family was always cuddly on the campaign trail, and last month the President bestowed no fewer than nine hugs on senior male staffers at a single meeting. (See pictures of Barack Obama behind the scenes on Inauguration Day.)

The Hugger in Chief didn't start the trend. At work and at school, even on first introductions--at least among the latest inhabitants of The Real World--the hug is gaining ground on the handshake. There are many iterations, including the hip-hop hug (a manly shake-and-squeeze...