4.Aug – { Church, Hugs, and Boundaries } with Tina Enagbare


Church Hug (v):  1. (Chiefly African-American.) A church hug is a hug in which a female hugger deliberately avoids pelvic and chest contact with a male huggee to prevent him from pressing up against her for cheap feels.
2. A hug for people that you are obliged to like, but ultimately don’t, such as people you meet in church. Its typically a very half-hearted hug.”

I have been trying to hold off on this post for years. Literally years. But it must be discussed – we have to address it.

For one moment I’ll note that this life must be challenging for some of the men who are trying to be the good guy. I mean, ever toeing that line of cool colleague / sexual harassment at work, avoiding being labelled as “THAT guy” at the bar/lounge/club, and as if there weren’t enough minefields for you all to navigate through >> “street harassment” is gaining traction. And now here I am to ruin your Sundays (& the occasional special service or Bible study). Men can’t catch a break in this world. Well we all have our crosses to bear. Pun intended.

It has been my experience that some of the men at church are intentionally overstepping their boundaries when it comes to invading my personal space. I’m fine with the good old Sunday church hug once a week, but YOUR hugs, sir, are a little too tight, last a little too long, & then you linger. It is creepy. And when you start kissing my cheek and pinching my arm — we have a problem. I shan’t be hugging you again.

This is the only church hug that is acceptable unless you’ve been told otherwise. This counts if I see you in church or outside of church. It should last a maximum of 3 seconds and include only one squeeze. 

Aside from this one allowance, the same social rules that exist outside of church apply within the church.


If I’m doing the damn matrix to keep from having your saliva on my cheek – back off.

If you insist on having a conversation with a woman even though we’re clearly not interested in this conversation – back off.

I’m a Christian so yes I will pray for you, but I have no interest in being your prayer partner – we will not be exchanging contact information.

No, I don’t need a ride to the Young Adult Ministry event. Stop asking.


I know that single folks meet at church. Some even date. Some even go on to get married. And that is beautiful. But that usually happens in the normal, non-creepy way – one party clearly expressed interest and the other party accepted. But that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about men who are clearly taking advantage of the fact that we’re in church and therefore I’m less likely to curse you out or read you because I literally just left the altar. But I don’t need this on Sundays. Church hugs are for healing, I’m not here for your date-deprived arse to rack up on free hugs. I am on to you. And I’m not playing this game anymore – in Jesus’ Name.

Church may be where believers come to touch and agree, but from now on – you shall receive a head nod from the balcony. Good day.

***Editor’s Note: Tina knows not all of the the men in church are creeps. This was written for the specific population of men who are.