"Love? What kind of man tells another man that he loves him?"In fiction, every guy usually follows the Bro Code. One of the rules of the Bro Code is that guys do not hug each other. They also don't talk things out or get emotional, because that's what chicks do; either that, or it's gay. Sensitivity is never a priority for guys, no matter how they appear on the surface. Every guy is like this, even the most understanding guy will not want to seem sensitive, for fear of being called a pussy or "gay". Also, don't expect teenage boys to be sensitive even with their own fathers. After a rare personal talk, no matter how short, always expect an awkward silence followed by a throat clearing, and a quick mumble of "I gotta go" or "that was a good talk, son". You can also expect lots of nervous hand shakes, but never a hug, at least not any longer than three seconds. This is a relatively recent trope, and of varying geographical distribution. Until around the eighteenth century, it was expected of "men of sensibility"* to show their emotions much more openly (as in The Song of Roland, in which the heroic French weep and faint away in groups of twenty thousand at a time). Even PDA between males was much more common as little as a hundred and fifty years ago, though generally more restrained in Anglophone countries (with their Puritan traditions) than elsewhere. (Nineteenth century English diarists record their horror at seeing male Frenchmen and Germans kissing each other on the mouth, though this gesture had been actually more common among all genders in England than elsewhere up to the time of the Civil Wars.) This is a huge Double Standard, as it implies that men who show affection are weak, but it is normal for women to be affectionate. As the title implies, examples of this trope are almost Always Male, but inversions are welcome. This also only usually applies to male bonding. See also Man Hug, Accidental Hug, Men Don't Cry, Rated M for Manly, Sensitive Guy and Manly Man, All the Good Men Are Gay, Ho Yay.
— Cotton Hill, King of the Hill
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Berserk: Zigzagged in spades. The main male characters, Guts and Griffith, can be described as ambitious, ruthless, Jerk Asses, uncultured in the case of Guts, and a monster in the case of Griffith (and almost with Guts), but one thing for sure is that they're not afraid to talk about their feelings in very poetic manners, especially to one another (making certain implications arise). In the case of Guts, he can switch from being a gruff jerk to being very tender and caring.
- Chonchu plays with the concept. While the eponymous main character may appear as a your regular Ax-Crazy Blood Knight who lives to kill, deep down he really wants to be shown affection, especially from a woman who could soothe his damaged mind and calm his outbursts. And the only woman who can do that in the series so far is, quite ironically, his nemesis' fiancée.
- Death Note: Interestingly inverted, where Light Yagami's hatred of female affection cements his status as Ambiguously Gay. A Serial Killer Badass Gay, but gay nonetheless.
- Ranma ½: Played straight with Ranma and his father, Genma. They never hug or tell each other that they care; they very rarely have personal talks. The thought of getting parental affection from his dad is so weird to Ranma that Genma once used an attack against him that consisted only of an overly affectionate hug, which totally freaked him out. Growing up with the Real Men Hate Affection mindset could explain why he doesn't really like being touched and seems to only have love/hate relationships with the people he's closest to. (i.e. Ryoga, Akane, etc.)
Films — Animation
- The Emperor's New Groove has this at the very end. Kuzco and Pacha finally get the potion, embrace... and then separate, looking rather embarrassed because guys don't do this... see it here, at about 2:50.
- Discussed in Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs:
Manny: Guys don't talk to guys about guy problems. We just punch each other on the shoulders.Ellie: That's stupid.Manny: To a girl. To a guy, that's like six months of therapy.
- In We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story, Louie believes this at first, as he leaves home because his mother embarrasses him by slobbering kisses all over him, and refuses to kiss or show affection to Cecelia because he's been led to believe that showing any sentimentality is "unmanly."
Films — Live-Action
- Averted in Across the Universe, with Max and Jude. They only knew each other for about a year, yet they are doing the Meadow Run by the film's end.
- The two Bill & Ted movies both have moments where the boys respond to a display of male affection with "Fag!" In the first, it follows a Man Hug between the boys when it turned out that Ted wasn't killed by an evil knight. In the second, the boys say it to their evil robot duplicates to try and stave off death; the robots deliver the line, then throw them off Kirk's Rock anyway.
- This happens again with Rob Schneider in Fired Up, except the one confessing his feelings calls his friend out on failing logic forever.
- In Groundhog Day, when Rita describes her ideal man:
Rita: He's kind, gentle, sensitive. He's not afraid to cry in front of me...
Phil: This is a man we're talking about, right?
- And then he later subverts it when weeping bitterly after the homeless man continually dies after Phil's repeated attempts to save him.
- In The Hot Chick, the eponymous hot chick's boyfriend describes his feelings for her to a friend, expecting a similar confession from the friend, who calls him gay.
Actually, pursuing a woman you have heterosexual feelings for... not gay.
- The Lord of the Rings movies averted this - however, that can be chalked up to Values Dissonance due to the when the original books were written.
- Averted in Pain and Gain, as one of the main promotional items of this movie is how tender and emotional these burly body-builders are around each other.
Live Action TV
- All in the Family: Archie hates showing affection, and is disgusted by Mike and Gloria for doing so.
Gloria: You know, Daddy, that's the trouble with your whole generation! You're afraid to show affection openly.Archie: We ain't afraid the show affection openly! We believe in showing it openly where it belongs, behind closed doors!
- CSI: NY: One season 1 ep has the group questioning someone at a 'cuddle party'. Danny makes it clear that he does not cuddle. (although it's quite likely that's changed by now, between Lindsay and Lucy lol)
- Drake & Josh: Despite the two being brothers, they are too embarrassed to hug in public, so whenever they share a tender moment, they will give each others a "quick hug" which involves wrapping their arms around each other for a split second and then looking away. Averted in private, though.
HUG ME BRUTHA!
- Everybody Loves Raymond
- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Anytime Carlton wants to hug Will, or even spend time talking to one another, Carlton is all for it, while Will puts on his Manly Face and bears it. Occasionally inverted. In the episode where Will gets shot he asks Carlton to give him a hug and Carlton is reluctant to do it. Possibly because Carlton started carrying a gun and didn't want Will to see it.
- Friends: Averted with Chandler and Joey who were very close, did talk about their feelings and often engaged in hugging. Chandler even lampshades this trope, joking "Do you think we do this too much?" but they rarely let it bother them.
- Hawaii Five-0: Averted. Steve and Danny talk about feelings so much, hug enough and, in one instance, cuddle on a couch, that they are well across the line into Ho Yay. Despite otherwise being really badass action guys.
- Home Improvement:
Tim: Oohhh, you're getting that "I'm going to hug you" look; I don't like that, Al!Al: Just a little one!Tim: No, Al, I— [Al glomps him] AAAA! You're fired!Al: I am not, you big friend, you!
- Addressed more than once, as it tackles a lot of "man stuff". In general, Al and Tim are a Sensitive Guy and Manly Man, and Tim is occasionally put off by Al's shows of affection. For instance, after he sticks up for Al and keeps him from being fired:
- Tim isn't afraid of showing some affection himself. One episode is driven by the fact that his son Brad is embarrassed by Tim telling him "I love you" in front of his friends.
- In one episode Tim's boss and friend Mr. Binford dies. Both Al and Tim's wife Jill get on his case for not mourning openly, while Tim wonders why it's a big deal if he doesn't turn on the waterworks like they do. At the same time, Brad compliments him for taking the loss "like a real man" and not crying, which bothers Tim greatly:
Brad: You don't let stuff get to you.Tim: Stuff gets to me!Brad: Well, the great part about it is, no one can tell.
- How I Met Your Mother
- Averted with Marshall. He is very affectionate and emotional, and he tells his father everything, literally.
- Averted with Barney. He tells anyone who will listen that he is Ted's best friend (despite all the evidence that points to Marshall having that role), and he and Marshall at one point get into an argument over which one of them Ted would be most likely to have a gay dream about.
- iCarly: The Father and son talk variant is inverted in an episode. Spencer and his younger sister Carly are both visibly uncomfortable as Spencer tries to give Carly The Talk.
Carly: We are not having this conversation.
Spencer (clearly relieved): Thank God!
Merlin: I thought you were going for a hug.
- There is a scene where Merlin and Arthur have a Friendship Moment, and Merlin moves to hug Arthur, feeling it was the logical follow-up. Arthur doesn't quite see it that way. After an awkward moment, Arthur rolls his eyes and leaves. Merlin just smiles.
- Averted between Gwaine and Merlin. Gwaine has no problems hugging Merlin.
- My Name Is Earl: Brothers Earl and Randy, despite being unusually close to each other, are embarrassed by the thought of saying "I love you" to each other.
- The Office (US):
- Jim post marriage to Pam gets mocked by Dwight for openly showing affection.
- Angela is the rare female example, hating affection as much as Dwight, making them perfect for each other.
- Scrubs: One subplot of the episode "My Half Acre" had Dr. Cox refusing to kiss his young son Jack and Jack's mother Jordan complaining about it. Perry confides to Carla that he worries about not being able to be an affectionate enough parent, though he does kiss Jack at the end of the episode. Considering the relationship Perry had with his own father, a violent and abusive Alcoholic, it makes sense.
- Star Trek: The Original Series: Kirk and Spock's complete aversion of this trope led to the creation of the first Slash Fics. Particularly interesting since Vulcans dislike showing emotion in general, so Spock's obvious affection for Kirk effectively breaks two sets of social rules. That said, Spock does try to exhibit some propriety on occasion. For example, after having saved Kirk's life by taking control of a Klingon warship, Kirk goes in for the Man Hug...
Spock: Please Captain, not in front of the Klingons.
- Supernatural: Dean Winchester often acts like this, rather to Sam's annoyance. Mostly because Sam is more straightforward about his emotions, whereas Dean is notorious for wallowing in Mangst and then denying it.
- That '70s Show: Red and Hyde both hate to express any kind of affection. Hyde actually denies even having feelings.
- Inverted in A Brother's Price; Eldest Whistler explains to Jerin that she doesn't blame him for being too trusting, as that's how boys are brought up - she notes that his little brother would allow himself to be hugged by a stranger, while the girls would check for weapons, first. Due to male Gender Rarity Value, boys are sheltered and cuddled and spoiled, which makes them much more prone to displays of affection than the girls (who are brought up to be able to defend themselves and their brothers).
- In Harry Potter, Ron's usual display of affection was clapping Harry on the back.
- They do hug in Deathly Hallows, however, after some intense issues are worked out (including an Imaginary Love Triangle with Hermione). J.K. Rowling noted that her American editor (or someone like that) wanted them to hug during a similar but less intense scene in the fourth book, but according to J.K. British men do not show affection that easily.
- In Hurog, Ward has an emotional scene with his brother Tosten, and lampshades this trope by pointing out that, thanks to his father (who was an affection-hating real man) he still isn't able to properly show affection to his brother. Averted in other parts of the series, he's very affectionate towards his sister, Ciarra, and occasionally shows his caring side when Oreg is having one of his PTSD-moments.
- A repeated gag in the works of Dave Barry. Just as men cannot comprehend why women would buy entirely useless gifts for people they met maybe once, so women will never understand that men do not need to talk at length about their feelings even among friends (since they function at a more basic level).
- Played with by "A Father's Love", sung by Bucky Covington and High Valley (not sure which is the original and which is the cover). The song talks about the singer's dad and how he wasn't all that affectionate, but helped out with home maintenance, checking the oil and filling the tires his car, and so on. The singer admits that "I didn't see it then, but I see it now: he was saying 'I love you' the only way he knew how." It's treated just as valid as physical affection, just more subtle. (Also averted by the singer himself, by the line "I knew he'd stiffen up, but I hugged him anyway.")
- In Pippin when the title character returns home from the university of Padua, he and his father almost hug, but wind up shaking hands. Pippin then attempts to talk to him about his feelings of emptiness and quest to find something meaningful, but his father fobs him off with cliches and 'well I've got to go.' By the way, his father is Charlemagne. Yes, that one.
- In Final Fantasy V, Bartz, Galuf, and Faris might not hate affection, but they are absolutely terrible at expressing it to each other, whereas don't have issues being emotional with Lenna and Krile. Case in point, Galuf asks Bartz why he, Lenna and Faris leave their homeworld without knowing if they can ever return, in order to help Galuf protect his own planet. The reply?
Bartz: ...No particular reason.
- Final Fantasy X: Jecht, Tidus' emotionally abusive father, truly did love his son, but was merely bad at showing it. At one point, the party can find a sphere Jecht left behind in which he tries to give a sentimental message to Tidus, but ultimately gives up:
Jecht: Remember, you're my son. And... well, uh... never mind. I'm no good at these things.
- Played for Laughs in Buster Wilde Weerwolf when Hector is slightly disgusted◊ by Buster and Gordon's over-the-top reconcilation after Gordon slapped Buster.
- Dave and Dirk Strider in Homestuck both attempt to maintain their "cool stoic badass" personas by avoiding any open demonstrations of affection. When Dave finally gives in to his emotions and hugs Dirk, he apologizes repeatedly and calls it "fucked up" (Dirk agrees that it's fucked up, but hugs him back anyway).
- In Sinfest,
- In the pimp story, this produces Allergic to Love.
- when Squigley confesses to a Trike Feminist about his attempt to quit porn, he realizes he's getting all emotionally vulnerable and purposefully retreats.
- Achilles and Guardsman of the Global Guardians PBEM Universe love each other like brothers. They support each other and are there for each other when it's needed. But they do this all without ever actually demonstrating their feelings for each other in any way, shape or form that isn't "100% manly".
- Yahtzee from Zero Punctuation does this often.
- This was mockingly invoked by The Nostalgia Critic and CR when they examined Baby Doll, and see her Villainous B.S.O.D. at the end of the episode, bringing them both to the verge of tears... before brushing it off as making them want to lift weights.
- The Simpsons: In "Bart the Genius", Bart is shocked when Homer kisses him.
Bart: You kissed me.Homer: Now, now, there's nothing wrong with a father kissing his son. I think.
*Homer places his arm on Bart's shoulder*Homer's Brain: You're leaving the arm there too long. You want to make it worse? (Abruptly removes it)Homer's Brain: No, no! He'll know you're on to him! Quick! Shake his hand!Homer: (shaking his hand) Just remember son, whatever happens, I'll always I love you.Homer's Brain: (fearfully) As? As?Homer: As a father! Uh, a father! Regular father! *sighs with relief*
- In the "Homer's Phobia", Homer, fearing Bart was gay, took him out to try and spend time with him. It does not go well.
- Most of King of the Hill is like this, with Hank being mortified whenever Bobby doesn't follow this trope.
- Hank is an extreme version of this, unwilling to show any more affection than a handshake to his own mother. It's implied that this is due to emotional abuse from his father. Ironically, his greatest fear is that his father will die without ever telling him that he loved him. Which was exactly what happened, so Peggy (who dared Cotton to just die already with reverse psychology) made up some nice last words for him to have said about Hank while nobody else was around.
- In Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, a large portion of Freddy's Oblivious to Love status stems from his mistaken belief in this trope and like Hank above, was due to his father, Mayor Jones, though the Mayor is not really Fred's father, he still raised him as such.He gets over it, though his obliviousness continues to shine in other respects.
- Averted in Avatar: The Last Airbender where the main characters often share hugs and other shows of affections. The ones that are arguably most poignant are Zuko and his Uncle Iroh; when the two of them embrace in the finale, its widely considered a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
- Sokka, with his obsession with being "manly", starts out as this. He loosens up by Book 2.
- In the Sequel Series The Legend of Korra, this is slightly rarer due to the absence of non-adult males, but Mako and Bolin have shown at times an affectionate streak (most notably when Mako and Korra broke up for good), and Bolin is a very sensitive and overall touchy-feely person who isn't portrayed as malicious or unmanly.
- In the Steven Universe episode ''An Indirect Kiss'', Amethyst tries to invoke this on Steven, apparently forgetting that this is Steven
Amethyst: Steven, why are you getting so worked up? Why, do you care about me or something?
Steven: (teary-eyed) Yes!
Stand Up Comedy
- Comedian Bill Burr has a theory that men have a lower average life expectancy than women because of all the stress that builds up from their asshole "DudeBro" friends calling them "fag" any time they show any signs of caring, kindness or sensitivity.
- He might be on to something. At least one study said that women might live longer because they process stress and emotion better. If a woman feels bad, she'll have a good cry or talk it out with her friends, whereas a man tends to bottle it up. All that stress wears on you over time.
- The higher suicide rate in men is probably a related issue- even the fact that men are more likely to ignore symptoms of illness for too long.
- Another comedian: "The only time a man is allowed to show any emotion is when he is sitting at his dying father's bedside. Only then is he allowed to say 'I love you" and allow a Single Tear (just one!) to fall. But what if he pulls through? I think I'd actually have to kill him 'cause neither of us would be able to stand the embarrassment."