Male characters show discomfort expressing emotions, particularly affection towards another man. Often results in a "hug" with no physical contact, an obviously awkward hug, etc. There's also the version where females can hug with their bodies close but guys hug while their lower halves are far away, so they have to lean over more to hug.
See also: Ho Yay
, Real Men Hate Affection
, Man Hug
- ElfQuest uses the "lower bodies separate" version near the end of Fire and Flight, the very first graphic novel. This despite their Everyone Is Bi policy.
- A particularly confusing example comes from Young Avengers, where Hulkling and Asgardian, who are a pair of boyfriends, are frequently shown hugging with 45 degree torsos.
- One of the older examples in movies, Grease.
- An excellent example is a 'hug' between Will Ferrell and Adam Scott in Step Brothers.
- In Lord of the Rings, Legolas and Aragorn have a habit of placing one of their hands on each other's shoulder and looking at each other for a moment.
- Parodied in Groundhog Day where Bill Murray turns his daily meeting with "Ned" into an extended and and quite uncomfortable hug.
- Everybody Loves Raymond, "What's With Robert?"
- Chandler and Joey did this on occasion in Friends.
- They also lampshaded and averted it in the finale when they decide on the "lame cool guy hand shake" over the "awkward hug", but end up giving each other a real hug, anyway.
- In Monk, Adrian and his brother Ambrose did this when they met for the first time in years in season two. Although, both those guys also just have a problem with physical contact in general.
- In the episode of Will And Grace guest starring Matt Damon, his character (who is pretending to be gay) does the second type to Jack. He gets out of the suspicion by claiming that by having his pelvis away from Jack's, he can then check out Jack's shoes.
- Horatio Hornblower, "Retribution": When the dynamic trio of lieutenants Bush, Kennedy and Hornblower return gloriously from a suicide mission, everybody is chuffed beyond words. Horatio comes aboard and Matthews welcomes him very cordially. Matthews has been a member of Hornblower's division since his very early days in the Navy and who later acted as Horatio's mentor, that is, as long as an experienced boatswain can be a mentor to a young and highly competent lieutenant. He goes for a hug, but remembering his rank, he just grabs his arms with both hands and shakes them, and he laughs with apparent pride and relief that his young hero is back safe and sound. This trope is often played to feel awkward or express problems showing affection, but this particular Air Hugging is very sweet.
- In a Dilbert book on etiquette, Dogbert discusses Air Hugging, saying that it is not the best time to reveal your sensitive side, and not to let people see you get the creeps afterwards.
- Discussed in this Herb And Jamaal strip.
- Zits had a strip (seen above) where Jeremy air hugged his dad on his birthday, with his mom commenting "Happy male birthday, honey.".
- There's always the patent "reaching out patting each other on the back we're-not-gay-honest hug" which seems to be endemic to all males of a certain age when formality dictates some form of physical embrace.
- A related version to this comes from the infamous instance of the 'Christian Side Hug'. It's a rap. About how hugging frontwise leads to... y'know what? Just google it.
- This has also been referred to as "A-Frame hugging."
- There's also a thing where guys look like they're going to shake hands, but they instead each put one arm between their bodies and get close while pounding on the other guy's back with the other hand. Also known as a Man Hug. This has a habit of showing up in situations where protocol demands you shake hands but emotional/personal background demands you hug.
- The following situations may require the use of "Distance Hug":
- When a person is sick and doesn't want to pass germs.
- If one person has a really nasty sunburn and the others want to show sympathy without causing pain.
- In psych hospitals, where physical contact is prohibited, but patients wish to show support for one another nonetheless.
- On webcam in online relationships or when partners are apart.