Could it have started with Nancy Reagan? A few years ago, Women's Wear Daily ran a memorable full-length, front-page photo of the First Lady locked in a beaming embrace with a fellow female socialite. The caption for the picture said how warmth and wit had now returned to Washington.
Now it seems that the trickle-down theory is turning out to be true, at least in the case of school girls and the style they pick up from older social mavens. Hugging is all the rage on high school and junior high school campuses. Filled to the brim with girlish glee, trendy Valley teen-agers often clasp each other to their bosoms in a manner previously seen only at cocktail parties.
"It's sometimes really annoying," says Robin Brooks, a Sherman Oaks 15-year-old who does hug friends, "but not on a daily basis." Certain people, she explains, "have a habit of running up to you in the hallway when you're trying to get to class. It makes them look like they're close to a lot of people."
Still, there are worse social habits, and at least this one isn't going to get teen-agers in trouble with parents. "All of a sudden I noticed them giving each other these big bear hugs," says Robin's father, Dick Brooks. "I sort of like it. I think it's very nice and warm. When I was a kid, I never hugged anybody. I'd just trip 'em up or maybe give 'em a whack on the back and say: 'See ya, buddy.' "