Join 3,561 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Affectionate Men
August 13, 2010 10:00 AM   Subscribe

Bob Bragman has been collecting images of men being affectionate with each other for many years. Here is a small part of that collection posted on sfgate. Some are tender, some are awkward and some are from long ago.
posted by agatha_magatha (34 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
Beautiful, thanks for posting.
posted by hermitosis at 10:04 AM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


These are wonderful, but it's a shame the SFGate site is so poorly designed for browing photos. It shouldn't be necessary to reload an entire page just to flip through an album.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:05 AM on August 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ah, these are lovely. I liked the Affectionate Women collection as well, but men in our society have so little space to be platonically affectionate with each other that makes these photos very moving.
posted by rtha at 10:08 AM on August 13, 2010


Man straight guys get smacked with the Patriarchy stick in terms of always having to be on guard against seeming "faggy" don't they? This seems to be changing in some social circles, but it can suck that you can't have close male friendships or relationships without dude-brah sidehugging-nohomoing everything.
posted by The Whelk at 10:10 AM on August 13, 2010 [8 favorites]


I like this, I really do. I hate the pervasive idea that men aren't "allowed" or shouldn't be physically affectionate toward one another. I was born and briefly raised in Russia (and around Russians in America) and physical affection between guys was never a thing. It was okay for guys to hug in the non-bro-slap manner, albeit that sign of affection is totally fine as well. It was okay to kiss on the cheek (and for the older generations, on the lips.) It was okay to sit around with your arm slung over your buddy. All of this was okay without the assumption that the affection was the platonic sort, and not the romantic (an aside: women, I've noticed, get a lot more room w/r/t platonic physical affection.) I liked that. I have male friends who I truly love and I hate that the cultural ether says that it's not okay to physically express it. And it is twice as bad that the reason why affection is discouraged is because it may be mistaken for homosexuality, and it's okay for that to be a reason.
posted by griphus at 10:13 AM on August 13, 2010 [11 favorites]


Man straight guys get smacked with the Patriarchy stick in terms of always having to be on guard against seeming "faggy" don't they?

Yeah, definitely. As a straight white protestant American middle-class male, I'm really not in a position to complain about much of anything. But it really pisses me off that I've been socialized to avoid physical human contact except in romantic contexts. It's soul-strangling.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:17 AM on August 13, 2010 [12 favorites]


HOORAY.

This is wonderful. It's a shame that that it's so unusual to see men being affectionate toward one another, because ... well, because it's awesome when people love each other and show it. Nobody should be afraid of that or think it's strange or wrong.


EVERYONE NEEDS A HUG.
posted by louche mustachio at 10:17 AM on August 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


In a culture where men are starved of nearly all male physical contact, they are pretty much bound to romanticize or sexualize it when it does occur. That's the insane negative feedback loop that these well-meaning Christian types are perpetuating for their own kids along with everyone else's.
posted by hermitosis at 10:20 AM on August 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Now now, shakesperherian, men can have physical contact!

It's just that it has to involve knuckles*.

* Exception for fisting
posted by adipocere at 10:23 AM on August 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


One of the cultural aspects which caught me quite off guard when I visited Hyderabad, India last year was the large amount of affection that teenage boys show each other. It was not uncommon to see them walking with arms around necks and holding hands/wrists. Very cool.
posted by yoyoceramic at 10:24 AM on August 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Fisting isn't supposed to involve knuckles?
posted by lumensimus at 10:25 AM on August 13, 2010


As a gay guy - I am paradoxically even more careful about physical contact. My close friends are mostly straight guys whom I love unreservedly BUT unromatically. I am always mindful (perhaps paranoid) about not making them feel uncomfortable. But yeah - it's always good to spread affection around and all guys felt more relaxed about it.
posted by helmutdog at 10:29 AM on August 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


but it can suck that you can't have close male friendships or relationships without dude-brah sidehugging-nohomoing everything.

Notice how he leans away from me.
posted by ColdChef at 10:29 AM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


As a gay guy...straight guys...I am always mindful (perhaps paranoid) about not making them feel uncomfortable.

I was hanging out with a gay friend, my girlfriend, and one of my friend's gay friends, and when it came time to leave this other guy gave my friend a hug, gave my girlfriend a hug, and then when he came to me he awkwardly stuck out his hand for a handshake, presumably because he thought I would have been offended or something by hugging him. I would have much preferred to just hug the guy.
posted by Dr. Send at 10:36 AM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


One thing I really like about gay culture is that while sex and romance are abundant, there is LOTS of perfectly friendly physical contact that is not inherently sexual. I mean, that's just my experience, maybe based on the friends I've made, but I imagine it's not unique.
posted by hermitosis at 10:37 AM on August 13, 2010


I have no problem hugging other men, but maybe that's because I grew up in a very affectionate family. My wife's family, on the other hand, is almost the opposite. We're Polish, they're German so I wonder if that has something to do with it. Maybe it'll change as the links back to the "Old Country" fade.

Outside of family, it's all over the map.
posted by tommasz at 10:52 AM on August 13, 2010


I would have much preferred to just hug the guy.

Hot.
posted by matty at 10:54 AM on August 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Mr. Wikipedia, what is homosociality?

I'm glad you asked.

"In sociology, homosociality describes same-sex relationships that are not of a romantic or sexual nature, such as friendship, mentorship, or others. The opposite of homosocial is heterosocial, preferring non-sexual relations with the opposite sex. In group relations involving more than two individuals, the relation can be either homosocial (involving same-sex social relations) or bisocial involving social relation with both sexes. It is not uncommon for people in a homosocial friendship to be physically affectionate with each other, not implying sexual bonding or desire. Holding hands, hugging, and teasing are all common features of homosocial relationships, as are frank discussions about sexuality, life, and health."
posted by Fizz at 11:04 AM on August 13, 2010


A lot of interesting photos there. Looking at them I had numerous questions and thoughts pop in my head. it may be difficult to succinctly express them all but here's an attempt.

- I think the would have been more accurately described as photos of men in physically contact with one another. I know the word affectionate coves a wide gambit before it crosses over into "love" territory, but it seems like too intimate a word for many of these photos.

- I wonder if the dynamic of many of these photos would have changed if there had been women present, even if they where not the focus of the photo.

- In some of the older, posed, photos I also wonder if some of the contact was at the photographers direction. When you have to hold a pose for a length of time it may be easier to do so holding on/leaning against something/someone.
posted by edgeways at 11:07 AM on August 13, 2010


I have no problem hugging other men, but maybe that's because I grew up in a very affectionate family

I was raised in a house where you hugged someone when you left and when you returned. I've passed on the same to all of my friends. It's just something we do. Everyone in my circle hugs and no one seems weirded out by it. It's nothing sexual. It's just affection.
posted by Fizz at 11:19 AM on August 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


A lot of these make me feel pretty damn warm and fuzzy. This is a beautiful collection, and I'm frankly sick of the cultural weirdness we have about physical contact between men (and being a queer person just makes it even more complicated). Until I went to college and had a group of friends who were very physically affectionate, I had no idea of the difference a good hug or walking arm in arm with a friend could make.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 11:31 AM on August 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Kinda related: The Most Homoerotic Vintage Ads Of All Time.
posted by ericb at 1:12 PM on August 13, 2010


i am basically run on touch, and i do think that homosociality is under rated in our culture--and unexamined, the LDS critic and historian D MIchael Quinn has written a book about the culture where these fotos were taken called Same-Sex Dynamics Among Nineteenth-Century Americans: A Mormon Example that elucidates a spectrum os affectionate responses b/w men that range from wholly sexual to wholly social. I don;t have my copy around me, but it's well worth reading
posted by PinkMoose at 1:31 PM on August 13, 2010


I noticed how much, much less nerve-wracked and anxious I was after I joined Drama Club and hugging was damn near mandatory.
posted by The Whelk at 2:00 PM on August 13, 2010


the whelk--

would you like a hug?

ase
posted by PinkMoose at 2:23 PM on August 13, 2010


Note: Everybody needs a nug
posted by The Whelk at 2:30 PM on August 13, 2010


These were sweet. Slices of life- and touching.
posted by a3hourtour at 3:21 PM on August 13, 2010


I'm just going to leave the crap that is the Christian Side-Hug, here. What I'm afraid of is that essentially demeaning any sort of physical contact will lead to a twisted ideal where the only time you touch another person in any capacity beyond a simple handshake will inevitably be sexualized and frowned upon.

(Also that video makes me want to punch whichever pastor and church decided that was even remotely a good idea)
posted by kurosawa's pal at 3:34 PM on August 13, 2010


Christian Side-Hug is satire. Sort of. It's made by a Christian group for a conference where they do insist that physical contact is kept down to a minimum, but the video is an elaborate joke.
posted by griphus at 3:56 PM on August 13, 2010


Previous FPP: Gimme that Christian Side Hug. That Christian Side Hug.
posted by ericb at 5:28 PM on August 13, 2010


hug.
posted by PinkMoose at 7:35 PM on August 13, 2010


some are awkward

Awkward? I don't think that means what you think it means.

Awkward. Not awkward.

I hope that helps. Other than that, beautiful post, agatha_magatha. Brava!
posted by Mike Mongo at 7:45 PM on August 13, 2010


agatha_magatha, never mind. Just a breathtaking post. Thank you thank you thank you.
posted by Mike Mongo at 7:53 PM on August 13, 2010


I always thought the ‘I read Playboy for the articles’ line was meant to be tongue in cheek. I mean, I’d seen porn magazines, and any ‘articles’ in there are certainly not things you’d go out of your way to read. It wasn’t until years later, at the house of a girlfriend who loved collecting all things vintage, that I actually looked at a Playboy for the first time. It was then that I realised they do, indeed, have proper articles and that these articles were things you may want to read.

Anyway, in this particular issue (April 1969) there was an interview with Allen Ginsberg, and in it he expressed something that I’d often struggled to put into words:

"Becasue of the suppression of feeling in America, the overemphasis on competition and rivalry - a tough guy, macho, hard, sadistic police-state mentality - American men are afraid of relationships with each other.
It's almost as if there's been a plot to separate man from his heart by making him afraid of being a fairy, a faggot, or a queer."
posted by twirlypen at 10:05 PM on August 13, 2010


« Older Yesterday the conditions for the Hindenburg Omen, ...  |  12 Events that Will Change Eve... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments