A Man Hugs Another Man So Hard That He Has: Thoughts

Joel Golby

So recently, and I will admit to this plainly and without reservation, I made something of a faux pas, in that: I hugged a dude. I hugged a dude, Internet. I hugged a dude.

Men hugging is, yes, technically acceptable – in these enlightened and metrosexual times it is an okay thing, to do – but there are codes and practises in place to keep it (the hug) from veering away from a brief man-grab to a tender-feelings sub-grope. When men hug it is less of an embrace and more of a wrestling move – there is a rule, unwritten and unbreakable, which is: I am going to try and slap the goodness out of this other guy’s back.

There are situations involved, also and obviously. The oldest trick in the book is a dude to proffer a dude another hug, in front of a lady, and (and you will have to excuse italics, here) they will do it all chap-like and blasé as though that is a thing that they regularly do, and then turn to the girl all ‘come on you, your turn‘ and she quietly relents and the dude, the hugger, suddenly goes all tender and covertly smells the huggees hair, and basically nobody comes out of the hug trifecta smelling exactly of roses, the whole thing suddenly taking on a totally grimy vibe. The tertiary dude in this isosceles lock of cuddles is basically a low-level victim of sexual assault, here, used only to get at the main prize: a lady.

Some people (dudes) take this move, like, too far. A recent development, in the World: girls have this new trick, of late, in nightclubs and such, to get the attention of men (when such advanced tactics as having breasts and mostly also eyes has failed), and it is this: they turn to each other and say ‘LET’S, LIKE, TOTALLY MAKE OUT!’ And so they do. Men slathered in cheap aftershave and striped shirts gaze open-mouthed and like not even remotely subtly as two girls do completely delicate and sexless kisses on each others’ lips and that is it, our future politicians and nurses and such, either swapping saliva or losing it down their front, that is it. I have seen this move performed once, only: it involved i. a completely normal looking girl in that plainly-pretty and dressed-up sort of way, and ii. a lady who looks like a melted dude [1], and my primary reaction was basically ‘ugh,’ swiftly followed me ‘it is imperative that I have another drink [2]’

[1] I don’t mean ‘a melted dude’ with that sort of derogatory ire that some people save for chunky girls, in that: yes chunky girls (and this girl was chunky, most definitely)(and squat), we know you exist and it is okay there is someone out there for everybody yes but I myself do not especially have a place in my heart for you. BUT: when you boil it down you are watching a girl who looks like a sturdy dude, w/ acne, get kissy with another girl. You are basically watching an ugly dude smooching. This is the future of sex.

[2] and, further, move cities

Now, at my old school, when this trick was just getting big, on the scene, two especially keen dudes (whose names I will not divulge, no, but whose Facebook profiles are here and [not found]) thought that the best way to inspire two willowy girls from the lower year to do this here trick with the unerotic kissing was, demonstrably, to do it themselves. To each other. For five seconds. And they went first.

Here is what was meant to happen, here: the two dudes peck each others lips, nervously, and the ladies, all swoony at their bravery, get basically illegal on each other’s faces and, [scene deleted], everybody is smoking a cigarette under freshly soiled duvets and there is nary an intact cherry in sight. Here is what actually happened, here: for five whole seconds, eyes closed, two men kissed behind a windy bikeshed, and the two girls, with the impending fate of Lesbos hanging heavy around their shoulders, ran the hell away because ew, gross and told everyone.

Compare this to my hug – kissless and relatively chaste, although without any back-slapping to man it up any – and the World can continue to revolve and I can theoretically finish Sixth Form titter-free, yes – but a seven-years-old-now dude-kiss does not an acceptable clinch make. And we were clinching. I had taken the ‘enveloping bear’ approach, to hugging this man, this poor man, and as such took a second or two for me to untangle from it.


I was startled, was the thing, when I hugged this man. I was walking through Angel with these new completely sound muffling earphones on (a Christmas present)(it was not long after Christmas, this hug) and then I saw my friend, James [3], tottering through the crowd washing in the opposite direction to mine and it is just so rare to see anybody you actually know in London and it has been ages since I’ve seen him anyway and OH NO WHAT AM I DOING I AM DOING A HUG.

[3] hereby, ‘The Victim’

Mid-hug (it really was quite a long hug) I had some thoughts, namely: I had to do a leap, into this hug, like a run up, and; oh no actually I saw [The Victim] just before Christmas, actually, it was probably only like three weeks ago, and; this is an awfully long hug and this is going to turn into An Awkward Thing.

Unfurled from the hug, we made nervous post-coital chit-chat along the lines of “uh yes hello how was your Christmas mine too” (“yes you may have noticed I put on a 24-packs’ worth of mince pies in weight around my middle as I tried to hug you just, yes”) but the damage was already done. I had made a bad hug decision.

Offer me a World when men don’t hug and women don’t kiss WKD from one mouth to another and right now I would take it, yes, but it doesn’t mean I won’t find a way to be a social hand grenade in further and more exotic ways. In Dubai, for instance, I would probably be arrested for this sort of thing and basically, quite rightly.

—July 27th, 2011

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