"That is SO SWEET man, how about a bro hug bump?"
Nowadays, in the western world, displays of affection between men are discouraged
, on the theory that they are too "girly", or indicative of homosexuality
. A congratulatory clap on the shoulder or back? Fine. Hugging and kissing? Not so much.
Therefore, when two men hug, it usually indicates that they are close friends
, brothers (in blood
or in spirit
) or trusted comrades-in-arms
. This is the Man Hug, also known as Dapping Up.
Usually accompanied by a mutual clap on the back or shouldernote
, the Man Hug is a show of deep trust and close friendship between two men that cannot be broken easily. It may be a show of comfort, a wordless offer of good luck, or even a gesture of greeting. It is often combined with a handshake, so that two men approach, shake hands, throw the free arm around their partner, briefly bump chests, and separate without any further fanfare. However, this can be part of a more elaborate ritual (see the Metal Gear Solid
example, below). Basically this hug says, "Yeah I'm hugging you, but I'm also hitting you." as a way to save face.
On a side note, when you have someone who doesn't follow this trope (usually the Sensitive Guy
), he'll usually rush into a low hug, head about belly-button level, and cling like a limpet with the other guy standing stock still and sometimes slowly lowering a hand in a pat-pause-pat rhythm.
Related to Air Hugging
. May be a sign that two characters are Heterosexual Life-Partners
. Men who aren't afraid to hug
also don't tend to be afraid to shed Manly Tears
. Subtrope of Handshake Substitute
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- While Sin City is usually Rated M for Manly, we have at least one notable example of this trope. When Wallace, the One-Man Army, meets up with a former military buddy to kick a little bad guy arse, he is greeted by a bear hug from the Emotional Bruiser. He mentions that his ribs almost break.
- Averted in one Zits strip, where Jeremy and Hector stop just short of one, recognizing that it's a lot less awkward on TV. By mutual agreement they will never mention it again.
- In Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Bill and Ted hug each other in relief after a close brush with death in the Middle Ages — and then pull away, both blurting, "Fag!"
- At the end of Kangaroo Jack, Charlie and Louis hug, resulting in the following quote (first line paraphrased):
Jessie: C'mon guys, the chopper's leaving!
Louis: Just a minute, we're having a very intimate, non-gay moment.
- In the movie Houseguest, Sinbad poses as a family friend of an affluent family. When he meets Phil Hartman's character at the airport, he quickly finds himself the awkward recipient of the Waist Hug Limpet Cling.
- An incredibly awkward example between Kirk and David in The Wrath of Khan.
- Subverted in Brokeback Mountain (of course). After seeing each other for the first time in four years, Jack and Ennis share a platonic, rugged "man hug". But when they pull away, their faces linger just a leeeeeeetle too close to each other. Ennis looks around to make sure they are not being watched... then pushes Jack up against a wall and they proceed to make out like the world is ending.
- In From Dusk Till Dawn, Seth Gecko gives his brother Richard one of these after reading him the riot act for raping and killing their hostage, but while assuring him that everything will be fine once they get to Mexico.
- Deliberately subverted in Groundhog Day, where Phil, after meeting that one annoying guy for the umpteenth consecutive loop, decides that the best way to get rid of him is with a full-on embrace, held for wayyyyy too long for maximum awkwardness.
- In Blade, the title character exchanges a brotherly hug with a contact who supplies him with his garlic extract.
- Frodo and Sam share a big, tearful hug in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring after Sam risks drowning to accompany Frodo to Mordor. Other examples from the trilogy are Gimli and Aragorn when the latter turns up alive at Helm's Deep, and Boromir and Faramir in a flashback following the recapture of Osgiliath.
- And from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey we have Thorin hugging a surprised Bilbo, after he rebukes the hobbit for facing down Azog and a pack of wargs to prevent Thorin being decapitated.
Thorin: I have never been so wrong in all my life.
- Gandalf and Elrond share a brief embrace when they meet again at Rivendell. Dwalin and Balin are shown hugging and wearily butting heads in a flashback to Azanulbizar, happy to see each other alive.
- The first Back to the Future movie, after Doc Brown assures Marty that everything will be alright, he rushes upon him with a hug that left the Doc wondering how much it actually meant for him.
- In 42, Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey gives one to Jackie Robinson after the latter suffers a Heroic BSOD.
- In Full Metal Jacket, Joker and Cowboy have a rather heartfelt one when they are reunited.
- Initially Played for Laughs in Remember the Titans when Louis Lastik gives Coach Boone a tearful hug while saying "I'm eligible." Turns out he's happy because Boone just helped him get accepted to college.
- Love Actually: The "Billy Mack"-plotline ends with an intensely awkward, but deeply heartfelt Man Hug between Billy Mack and his manager Phil, which is only slightly spoiled by Billy's insistence they spend Christmas getting drunk and watching porn.
- Alex Cross and his childhood friend Samson frequently exchange these as greetings in the novels by James Patterson.
- Sirius and Lupin in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
- Lampshaded in the Chronicles of Narnia, when the narrator explains that since Peter is King, it isn't girly of him to be hugging his men. Or talking animals.
- He doesn't just hug them, he kisses them as well. (Though probably not on the lips.) Specifically, in the scene in Prince Caspian when Peter and Edmund arrive, Peter kisses the badger on the head in (gratitude? reward? greeting?) some kind of affection, because the badgers never wavered in their belief that Old Narnia would return to power.
- In Joel Rosenberg's Guardians of the Flame on one return of Karl's, Walter takes a minute to hug him, which has no cultural hang-ups in the medievaloid culture they are now in.
- In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Ultramarines book The Killing Ground, Uriel and Pasanius embrace when they are reunited after the first two test by the Grey Knights — just before Leodagarius comments on Pasanius's loyalty and Uriel describes it as friendship.
- In John C. Wright's The Golden Transcedence, when Helion and Phaethon reconcile, Helion offers him a legal document for the transactions he made by way of apology. Phaethon knocks it aside to embrace him. Rather later, after some Tears of Joy, the document gets handed over, rather bedraggled.
- In L Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero Regained, Mephisto jumps to embraces Astreus after he regains his wings, somewhat surprising Astreus.
- Very common on Hawaii Five-0. Steve and Danno are quite prone to man hug, especially when one or both has just gotten out of a life-threatening situation.
- Pretty much standard in Full House. With all the hugging that goes on in that show, some of those guys have to be walking around with black and blue busted, bruised backs.
- Heroes: Nathan and Peter Petrelli always, always do this when they meet (except in more angsty moments).
- In the Season 2 Finale of Chuck, Chuck goes in for a man-hug with Casey, telling him that "See? Guys can hug too." Casey is less enthused.
- And in the Series Finale they share another one, this time initiated by Casey.
- Hercules did this a lot, as did Iolaus.
- Chandler and Joey from Friends tend to make a big show of awkwardness around these, but it comes up often enough to be lampshaded in a Clip Show episode.
- In the finale, when they're having a moment, Chandler asks: "So, awkward hug or lame cool guy handshake?" Joey picks the handshake, but after they hug anyway.
- Barney, Marshall and Ted have quite a few of these on How I Met Your Mother.
- Michael and Lincoln share one of these on Prison Break, during a prison riot for a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
- Supernatural often does this with brothers Sam and Dean in Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
- Clark Kent and Lex Luthor share several of these throughout the earlier seasons of Smallville. Most, if not all, make for wonderful Crowning Moment of Heartwarming scenes.
- The Today Show had Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie from The Hurt Locker as guests when the 2010 Academy Award nominees were announced. When Renner's nomination for Best Actor was given, there was a cut to Renner and Mackie hugging each other.
- Also, when the film won Best Picture at the Oscars, the two took the stage with their co-star Brian Geraghty. While the producers were giving their acceptance speeches, the three actors could be seen behind them, arms around each other. They were positively giddy (with Renner even letting out a delighted scream).
- Chase does this to House after he finds out his boss has cancer, resulting in a very embarrassed House and a Crowning Moment of Funny.
- In the first episode of the sixth season of Hogan's Heroes, LeBeau is all set to leave Stalag 13 for good and says his goodbyes. He shakes Hogan's hand, kisses Carter and Baker on both cheeks (very much a case of Real Men Wear Pink), and then draws Newkirk into a hug. He still kisses him too afterwards.
- Tony gives Gibbs a very quick "Yay, you're not dead!" Man Hug in the first episode of the fourth season of NCIS. Gibbs just stand there, though. Too manly at the moment even to slap a back.
- In a second-season episode of Home Improvement, Tim talks about the Man Hug in a Tool Time segment, and tells his guests that he's secure enough as a man to dare hug other men as a token of appreciation. The hug issue is very quickly dropped when Al remarks: "You know, Tim, in Europe, men kiss each other on both cheeks."
- Merlin goes in for a hug with his Heterosexual Life Partner Arthur but is quickly stopped by him.
- But played straight with Merlin and Gwaine in 3x08.
- It continues in 4x02 after Merlin comes back alive and well after the Dorocha attack, everyone proceeded to Man Hug Merlin. But again, subverted with Arthur who just smiles, pats him on the back and pulls him to the fire where everyone else is.
- The two finally hug in 4x06. Notable in that it's ARTHUR who initiates the man hug.
- 30 Rock - Jack is dismayed to find his new boss is a big proponent of the man-hug, and they need to last ten seconds.
- Averted on The West Wing:
JOSH: I apologize.
LEO [shrugs]: Your apology's accepted.
[Josh moves in for a hug.]
LEO: What are you doing?!?
JOSH: It looked like you wanted to hug me.
LEO: Boy, did you read that wrong.
- In LOST when Jack returns alive after being captured by the Others, he and Sawyer do the handshake followed by a pat on the back version.
- Actually Lost loves this trope, when ever a male character returns from the jungle he is greeted with either a man hug from someone in the crew (Hurley is pretty dependable for this, but it could any guy) or a Reunion Kiss from their sweety.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Boy Meets World had a quite a few of these between Heterosexual Life-Partners Cory & Shawn and Jack & Eric and between brothers Cory & Eric and Shawn & Jack. In one episode Cory and Shawn engage in a longer, more amorous hug than usual after they reconcile their friendship which prompts Topanga to say, "Stop it! You're boys!".
- Deconstructed on the Will and Grace episode "A Chorus Lie." When Jack tries to "in" Matt Damon (expose him as a straight man pretending to be gay), they hug and Jack points out the straight-guy no hip contact hug, which Matt (Owen) counters with a description of feeling Jack's pecs.
- Starsky & Hutch tend to do this every now and then.
- The X-Files: Whenever Mulder returned from the apparent death, Frohike would hug him. In "Three Words" he squeezes him very tightly and for a long time. Mulder hugs him back and then he jokes about it.
Mulder: Melvin, I'd be a whole lot happier to see you if you'd just take your hands off my ass.
- At the end of Criminal Minds season two episode "Revelations", Reid gives Hotch a hug. It's a heartwarming moment considering what happened in the episode, though Hotch has a surprised look on his face. The male cast of Criminal Minds actually tends to be pretty physically affectionate, at least for American TV. When you chase down serial killers all day, I guess you don't have much to prove.
- During the last episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a wordless man hug is the only goodbye that Julian Bashir and Miles O'Brien can manage.
- Horatio Hornblower, "Retribution": Horatio hugs Archie Kennedy, his fellow lieutenant and closest friend after he finds out that Archie was hiding from him that he had been shot during a battle.Horatio's very shaken because it's actually a Mortal Wound Reveal. Showing affection among men wasn't uncommon during Regency period and in Wooden Ships and Iron Men genre.
- Barney Miller: After Wojo is nearly killed in a tunnel collapse and returns to the squadroom, Harris grabs him in a sudden hug... which he instantly regrets when the thick layer of dust on Wojo gets all over his clothes.
- In The Musketeers, when D'Artagnan is finally officiated as a Musketeer by the King, he proceeds to hug Athos, Aramis and Porthos.
- A Group Hug version is done in the last episode with all of them.
- In the Sherlock episode "The Sign of Three", John is so moved by Sherlock's best man speech that he offers him a man hug while Sherlock is spluttering in confusion that he made everyone cry.
- In the Pit of Saron dungeon in World of Warcraft the rescued prisoners can remark, "You deserve a mighty man hug."
- Tag-team partners do this all the damn time after particularly hard-fought matches.
- The Curtain Call Incident for The Kliq. Then again, that's hardly the only incidence - those guys are always hugging.
- Whenever a long-tenured wrestler retires, due to injury or otherwise, there tends to be a lot of these going around. Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels and Edge all provided examples of this when they retired.
- Since it's kind of hard to act subtly to a large arena full of yelling people, deep and manly hugs are the standard method of demonstrating that two wrestlers (Face or Heel) are friends/allies.
- Roger and Mark at the end of "What You Own". (Lots of subtext throughout the show/movie.)
- In Metal Gear Solid 2, Snake gives one of these to Otacon at the end of a seven-step Cool Handshake, shortly after Otacon's sister Emma dies and before the latter goes to rescue a number of hostages from the Big Shell.
- In Persona 4 the MC can give one (of the arms-around-the-waist variety) to Yosuke if he chooses the right choice in an earlier scene. Amidst his crying, Yosuke questions the manliness of the hug, saying, "You dumbass... that's for girls..."
- In Jak II: Renegade, Daxter gets drunk and gives his Heterosexual Life Partner Jak a hug while slurring "I love you, man!" Jak looks less touched by the display of affection and more disturbed by it.
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: "What, no homie love? No hug?"
- In Assassin's Creed II, Ezio can give his BFF Leonardo a Man Hug during a scene where he's prompted. Players have been known to go back and reload from a previous save if they miss the prompt the first time.
- In Mass Effect 2, Jacob will give one to Shepard after his loyalty mission is completed. The same happens if Shepard is a woman. Apparently in this galaxy soldierly man-hugs are unisex.
- Cole and Zeke exchange one in the good ending of inFAMOUS 2, just before Cole goes off to face the Beast.
- After the battle with the Master Control Program in Kingdom Hearts II, Tron says goodbye to Sora, Donald and Goofy with hugs (which symbols a promise that they will meet again), in what many fans consider one of the most heartwarming moments in Kingdom Hearts history.
- This almost happens to the titular duo in Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools Of Destruction... they decided on a fist bump instead when they realize that Talwyn is watching them.
- Played straight in Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack In Time, when they believe that they must say goodbye because of Clank's duty as the caretaker of the Great Clock. And this is shortly before the final boss...
- Happens at least once per game in the Mario & Luigi series with the brothers hugging each other when reunited after a brief separation with Mario generally being the comforter. Popple finds this all rather soppy in Mario And Luigi Super Star Saga when Mario rescues Luigi from his tied-up predicament. Actually, they hug each time you save Peach from her temporary kidnapping when the bros. escort her in Teehee Valley.
- In Bleak Expectations a reformed Mr. Gently Benevolent notes his former nemesis looks troubled and offers "Man hug?". The protagonist declines. Repeatedly.
- Harry Biscuit takes him up on it. "Mmmm, nice."
- The two men on the Seal of Kentucky appear to be doing this, symbolizing the state motto, "United we stand, divided we fall".
- Apparently, this is the customary greeting shared between male talk show hosts and male guests.