What is with all the man-on-man that’s been affection going on lately? That’s what Matthew Bell over at The Spectator wants to know.
In a new think piece titled Why I can’t embrace the man-hug, Bell writes, “Meeting men used to be so easy. I don’t mean that in a Grindr sort of way.”
(For the record: Bell is a straight white male who is married to a woman and, we assume, has probably never met a man on Grindr, though we could be wrong.)
“When a chap bumped into a chap, you knew what to do,” he continues. “Stick out your paw and shake his hand and everyone could move on.”
But these days all guys seem to want to do is hug.
“The handshake, once such a simple act of courtesy, now seems too stiff, too formal, too English,” he writes. “It has become absurd to shake hands with your father, or your best friend. You might as well tell him you don’t like him.”
“Something more is required — a back slap or an arm squeeze, perhaps even a man-hug.”
God forbid! Not a man-hug!
Related: PHOTOS: A History Of Man-On-Man Affection
“Masculinity has been in crisis for years,” Bell continues. “Now we don’t even know how to say hello.”
(Matthew, if you’re reading, yes we do. All you have to say is “hello.”)
To be fair, Bell says he’s not totally opposed to hugging. He just doesn’t like “awkward hugging.” Though, if he’s really honest, pretty much all hugging is awkward, especially when it’s between two men.
“I hate an awkward hug,” he writes. “It is worse than no hug at all. If it’s going to happen, you want to get it right, though really I would rather not have to think about it.”
In some places, he continues, dudes don’t just hug. They kiss. This also freaks him out. He recalls a recent trip to Italy, where he was constantly dodging other men’s lips:
It is normal for Florentine men to peck each other on the cheek. Several times I have caught myself recoiling–even ducking–before realizing what was going on. Similar embarrassments occur back home, usually when meeting someone under 30. That generation of millennials grew up watching Skins and Glee. They can’t believe anyone could be so pompous as to shake hands. And if you try, they look at you with bemusement or simply wave your hand aside and pull you in for a hug.
So what would Bell like done about this situation that makes him extremely uncomfortable?
“Someone needs to lay down the rules on male greetings once and for all,” he writes. “My proposal would be to scrap all man-hugging except with family members, and bring back the quick and friendly handshake.”
Related: Are You Finally Ready To Embrace The Idea Of ‘Inclusive Masculinity?’
While we’re at it, he says, we should also do away with women hugging and/or kissing women. That makes him uncomfortable, too.
“For them, it’s kisses all the way, be it with best friends or strangers,” he says. “It can’t be pleasant for women to have so many faces pressed into theirs.”
Not to mention the “accompanying hygiene hazards.”
Until this is figured out, Bell says, every day for him will be “fraught with the possibility of being made to feel either uptight or overfamiliar.”
“It’s time we ended the ghastly dance of uncertainty,” he concludes. “This is a call to arms. Or rather, hands. Men, get a grip.”
Get a grip, indeed!
Related: 93 Percent Of Hetero British Guys Say They Love Cuddling With Other Men
Bell has Daddy/men issues. Probably was sexually abused. A good dose of therapy could do wonders for his psychosis. Not to mention a weekend or two at the baths.
That’s insulting and ridiculous.
So is freaking out over men hugging.
LOL – see the comment thread below. Brian/Richard 55 thinks all this hugging is a GREAT idea. Do you really want to side with him? 🙂
Of course not, the guy is a total psycho and would only hug brutally handsome guys who would never hug a creep, and then blame his desires on women bc he’s that wierd and unhinged. He’s a wingnut from creepville.
But that brings up a question about you and your seemingly separating yourself from your ‘gay friends’: with a screen name like that, are you a gay bi or str8 guy who is uncomfortable w hugging?
Ah nevermind, I see below the answer. I would pose the question though, what’s bad about men hugging and why does it make you uncomfortable and judgmental? Even over hugging. Just a profile on my idea of hugging men: it’s only friends that I hug and that may be every time I see them occasionally. Some I don’t hug since we see each other regularly. This is men and women, I treat them the same.
@Josh447: So in reality we’re probably not THAT far apart on hugging per se. I just think it’s more of a special occasion thing.
But you made a really vile, disgusting remark in your very first post: “Probably was sexually abused”! And you’re blaming HIM!!! (Do you blame victims of priest pedophilia also?) Are you now going to say you were kidding? And while you’re at it: you’re assuming this guy is probably gay, while at the same time you’re saying I must be bi or str8 because of my screen name? WTF?!? (Re: my screen name – uhhhh, dude, it’s a joke. Not sure YOU are kidding, though.)
I agree. I think we are not that far apart regarding hugging. I simply do not have the negative response to lots of hugging by men irregardless of their sexual orientation. Yes if a guy over reacts to this hugging business, I don’t rule out sexual abuse, even if it’s simply mental sexual abuse by learning to abuse homosexuality in one’s mind. There is a spectrum to sexual abuse, religion abhoring gays is but one form which causes them to be tossed from buildings by homophobic zealots. That’s one extreme. It runs the gamut. This tedious reaction to men hugging could be a lighter inner form of self flagelation outwardly spoken. Nevertheless, it’s the judger that has the bad feelings, not the huggers thereby he is the one that needs to tend to his fright, noone else. It’s after all, his fright and anger. He needs to take care of that inner frying circuit board. Himself. Huggers will keep hugging away, and love it with good heartedness. Onlookers can feast or fry, their choice.
Many ingredients. All in the soup.
I’m not anti-hugging, but for me it’s more of a special occasion thing, IMO my gay male friends hug WAY too much. We’re definitely friends, but most of them I don’t spend a lot of time with. What’s with all the hugging? I don’t get it. So I totally sympathize with a straight guy being freaked out by all the hugging nowadays.
And just because millennials do something doesn’t necessarily make it a good thing. I’m not going to get a tattoo, or wear shorts to a funeral.
“…wear shorts to a funeral.” LOL
Wait a minute, you think it’s odd that they want to hug you after not seeing you for a while?
@Dark Zephyr: I guess I should define how often is “often.”
Two months, even a month w/o seeing someone, no I wouldn’t think it was odd. Only a week? – yeah it’s sort of odd.
Gees, us American are so prudish and Victorian. Get out into the world, guys. Most other cultures men meet with a hug, hand to the chest or other similar showing of affections and respect.
And yet most of those cultures are homophobic in the literal sense.
This is proof that many straight men are extremely homophobic, hate any signs of male affections towards one another; this is why I hate the ridiculous notion that “most” homophobes are secretly gay.
Even gay men say that and it drives me nuts too.
Someone stick a d!ck in his mouth because nothing good is coming out of it.
Women fear male-male intimacy. I see the rise of male-male intimacy as a male rebellion against women. Note that I said “male-male intimacy” – I did not attach a sexual orientation to it.
In the West, liberals have allowed feminism to create inequality that puts all men at a disadvantage. This includes gay men. From the cross-dressing double standard to the bisexual double standard, women are allowed to get away with things that men can’t.
Women have an exploitative nature. If you let them get away with things, they will do so. Women – especially young women – don’t stop and think whether their actions are fair to men.
I see the rise of male-male intimacy as a form of male empowerment over privilege-seeking Western feminists and liberals in general.
Gay, 43 here. I’m uncomfortable hugging people… family, friends, etc. It’s one of those things I just allow to happen, because it means more to other people than not being hugged matters to me. I dated a younger dude who actually cried, because I never wanted to hug and broke hugs off as soon as possible. After he cried I just started giving in to him and others.
Similar with me, except I enjoy hugging an actual BOYFRIEND. It’s all these near-strangers wanting to hug, and non-sexual friends, etc. – I just don’t get it.
I don’t know what his problem is when all he has to do is watch professional sports and he will see teammates hugging kissing patting each other on the butt and sometimes even a dick grope. This has been going on in sports for decades it’s not new. Sounds like just an excuse to write an article when he couldn’t think of a better topic.
In my experience the men who complain the loudest are the most intrigued.
What I find uncomfortable is anyone, straight, gay or whatever one wants to label oneself, telling everyone else how they should behave. The poor guy doesn’t like men hugging him, fine. He should let others know he doesn’t like it. But to insist that everyone not hug because he’s uncomfortable with it is very arrogant and just plain stupid.
Nope – I’ve tried that and it doesn’t work. They just get offended. (Or pretend to? Everyone gets so “offended” at minor things nowadays.) And then the next time they go ahead and do it anyway!
I have no problem with men hugging me – so long as they are muscular and brutally handsome.
But what if they had a similar rule? Then you would never get any hugs.
He’d have a really tough time in Europe where the men kiss each other on each cheek.
Wow, that’s the wildest generalization yet. Maybe in parts of southern Europe, among very long-time friends (not strangers meeting for the first time).
You definitely won’t see that in most of northern Europe. Especially Finland where the people are very, very reserved & undemonstrative. Finns consider Americans to be disturbingly over-friendly!
I have to laugh at the “from the waist up only” male/male hugs … both guys stick their butts out so their crotches won’t touch (chuckle).
I WAS startled in the 1960s when I was staying at a Benedictine monastery … Old Rite, everything in Latin. But at the Kiss of Peace, the celebrant came back to the visitors’ pews and REALLY hugged everybody. Not having a problem with hugging probably dates from then … I talked it out with one of the monks.
This was before all the scandals in the RC Church, and there was definitely no sex (at least not with or among the guests) at THIS monastery.
Straight guys in India walk holding hands. On the streets.
Gay sex is illegal in India.
Yes – Gay sex is illegal in India, Billy Budd – even for 15 year olds!!! – lol
Another thing thing straight guys in India do: gang-rape women and throw acid in their faces. But gee, I guess it’s nice that they hold hands!
Oh, I know what you’ll say – the British, it’s all the fault of the British. It’s weird how India has been independent for 70 YEARS but still, any bad thing there is somehow the fault of the British. Apparently the Indians are too simple-minded to, like, change their own laws or something.
Heywood, or shall we call you Anitablowme. You have issues with men hugging and touching too much, we get it. Deal with it.
Well there’s nothing wrong with hugging another man but why do you have to mention that he is straight white male?
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