I found myself recently going through a ton of YouTube videos of people reuniting with their loved ones. These clips tug on your heartstrings as the emotional reaction to one person seeing someone else that have been away for a prolonged period of time is nothing short of beautiful to witness. And yes, I cried like a baby throughout all of them.
There was, however, something that was quite frustrating to watch. Its an issue that has been discussed for many years when it comes to strictly being a man. So many of these videos where it was a guy reuniting with another guy show them warmly embracing for maybe a second and then going into what I refer to as the “bro hug”. Meaning they do a bunch of taps on the back and then stop touching one another.
That, to me, is annoying as hell. It signifies that we still have a ton of toxic masculinity in our world as there is this idea that men can’t hold each other in a public place out of fear that they’ll be judged.
I could go the comedic route here and make light of this situation. Do these guys expect porn music to start playing and a camera man getting up close and personal with them should they hug for more than 5 seconds? Could they be thinking that their Aunt Carol or Uncle Bob will be raising an eyebrow in the background of their emotional reunion should it go too long in their eyes?
And it dives into the gay/straight relationships I’ve encountered in the past. I’m someone who is a major hugger. I’m also a bear. Meaning that when we see each other, as long as you’re my friend and are cool with this, a big squeeze will be coming your way.
This has been problematic for some of my heterosexual male counterparts who instead want to do a cool handshake or a “bro hug”. Umm, no. Me hugging you does not mean that a Falcon Studios scene is about to start. It means that I am happy to see you and this is my way of showing my affection in a non-sexual way. Calm down, BRAH. I’m not trying to get in your pants.
This also happens in the gay world as well! I’ve gone to so many bars and parties where you hear whispers from other men on the relationship status of two guys if they decide to hold each other for a while or enjoy a couple of rounds on the dance floor with one another. Could something be happening between them that goes beyond friendship? Yes, but can’t they just enjoy their moment without gossip about them potentially f**ing or s***ing their way through the weekend together?
So many famous friendships have had to endure these kinds of questions in the past. Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King, Sir Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart & Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine are just three that come to mind. Its very sad that we haven’t progressed that much in 2020 when it comes to the battle between what pals are compared to something much more serious.
I do think this topic plays a big part in the toxic masculinity world that was brought up earlier. This can understandably happen in your younger years, IE middle and high school where this issue will probably never go away, but when you get older there’s a thing called maturity and wisdom that comes into play. At some point you should be able to not focus on what other people think about you and do what you want as long as its mutually beneficial.
So straight guys… go in for a big, fat freaking hug if you want to. Even kiss your friend if you think the moment allows it. It doesn’t mean you are gay, it means you strongly care for the person you are with. Let’s normalize two men being affectionate with one another.
This is the opinion of one contributing writer and not that of Instinct Magazine or other contributing writers.