DEAR MISS MANNERS: At events I'm often coerced into having my picture taken with others. Inevitably those next to me reach out to hug me for the photo, I'm sure expecting me to hug them in return.
I don't want to hug or be hugged, but this has somehow become the norm for photos, as if we're all some bonded tribe that must show our brotherhood for the camera. And if I'm wearing a suit, the jacket is raised up and makes for a terrible shot.
My theory is that the practice is an outgrowth of the festive "party pics" of the '80s where the subject was keen to show how much fun she/he was having and how much love was shared. I know; I was once one of them.
Regardless, I would like to stand and have my picture taken if I must, without being hugged by the stranger next to me. May I say, "Thanks but no hugging, please?"
GENTLE READER: Or worse. Some public figures have gotten themselves in trouble by thinking that picture-taking is an excuse to get to know their subjects better.
Photographers should take the lead here and learn to distinguish between getting people closer for a better shot and forcing people to touch. If this is not established beforehand or the subjects do not pay attention, Miss Manners advocates for the well-timed yelp of surprise. This alerts everyone that there is a problem and allows for an opportunity to announce the aforementioned no hugging policy to all.