The "guy hug" or "man hug
" is a strange and often awkward social phenomenon
. Its purpose is usually to send one or more of these messages:
1. I love ya, man!
2. I am not gay.
3. My girlfriend likes sensitive guys.
4. I know you're my uncle and it's Christmas, but I hardly know you and you smell like TV dinners.
5. You are my best friend in the whole, wide world and I love you unconditionally, but people are watching.
There are several common varieties of man-hugs. One is the "handshake-hug." One hand is extended for a handshake while the other lightly embraces the huggee. Another variation is the "one-arm" or "classic guy hug," in which the hugger slings an arm around the shoulder of the other, squeezes briefly, and lets go. Yet another variety is the awkward "oh-my-God-my-best-friend-is-crying-what-the-hell-do-I-do," in which the hugger will typically pat the huggee uncomfortably on the back, plead with the hugger to stop crying, or excuse himself and run out of the room.
Hugs and hugging-related actions that guys typically avoid:
1. Any hug that lasts more than two seconds
2. Any hug that involves making contact below the shoulders
3. Hugs in which the hugger approaches from behind (a.k.a. "the Brokeback Mountain hug")
4. Giggling, sighing, or--god help you--air kisses