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Man Hug

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"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. Shaking hands or bumping fists or elbows? No problem. 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. See also Big Damn Hug.


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    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • Asterix: Asterix and Obelix freqently hug, especially when making up after a heated argument.

    Comic Strips 
  • Zits:
    • Averted in one 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 another, Jeremy gives his father Walt a birthday hug complete with back patting... while both are about ten feet apart from each other.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animated 
  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World: Toothless and Hiccup hug one another when Hiccup decides the dragons would be safer if they all stay in the Hidden World.
  • The Lion King (1994): Mufasa isn't shy about hugging Rafiki. Mufasa's son Simba later follows suit. It helps that they're different species, one's a monkey (mandrill) and the other two are lions.
  • Tarzan: Kerchak and Tarzan finally make peace with each other, before Kerchak dies. Despite him being always cold to Tarzan, Tarzan then cradles his dead adoptive father, showing he really did love him. This example serves as a powerful farewell hug to a dead family member.
  • Toy Story 4: When Woody is leaving to stay with Bo Peep, the whole gang gives him a final goodbye, with Woody and Buzz sharing a tight hug. This is a step up from their goodbye handshake in Toy Story 3, when Woody decides to go to college with Andy.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • 42: Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey gives one to Jackie Robinson after the latter suffers a Heroic BSoD.
  • In the 9/11 documentary made by the Naudet brothersnote , the firefighters returning to the station share plenty of these, relieved that everyone is safe. On of the brothers who has made it back pesters the firemen about the other until the other brother finally walks in. At this point, they do their own version of this trope, complete with tears (until that moment, each had feared that the other was dead).
  • Back to the Future:
    • The first 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 Back to the Future Part III, Doc hugs Marty when the latter turns up in 1885.
  • Bill & 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!"
  • Blade: The title character exchanges a brotherly hug with a contact who supplies him with his garlic extract.
  • The Blues Brothers begins with one, when Elwood picks up Jake who is fresh out of prison.
  • 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 little 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.
  • Finn and Poe have an epic man hug upon being reunited near the end of The Force Awakens. Notably, they have already bonded previously while escaping from the Kylo Ren's Star Destroyer at the very beginning of the film, but then lost each other in the ensuing starfighter crash and never got to formalize their bond, so to speak. Their hug thus serves as a long-delayed payoff of the setup at the start of the story.
  • 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.
  • Full Metal Jacket: Joker and Cowboy have a rather heartfelt one when they are reunited.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • Kong: Skull Island: Early on, Packard doesn't hesitate to hold two of his men who served under him in Vietnam in a tight hug when he sees that they survived Kong's attack, showing his tight bond with his men before his obsession with killing Kong completely subsumes his positive traits.
  • 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.
  • The Matrix Revolutions: Neo and Morpheus share one before parting ways.
  • Michiel de Ruyter: there were several of these after the Dutch fleet captured The Royal Charles and destroyed a big part of the English fleet.
  • Coach Gordon Bombay and team captain Charlie Conway share a lot of man hugs throughout The Mighty Ducks trilogy.
  • Near the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Sallah gives Indy a powerful good-bye hug. Indy might've appreciated it a bit more if he weren't in pain from the previous Chase Scene.
  • Remember the Titans:
    • Initially Played for Laughs 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.
    • Fire-Forged Friends Julius and Gerry also share a few.
  • Andy and Red at the end of The Shawshank Redemption.
  • An incredibly awkward example between Kirk and David in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium film adaptations by Peter Jackson:
    • The Lord of the Rings:
      • Frodo and Sam share a big, tearful hug in 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 in The Two Towers, and Boromir and Faramir in a flashback following the recapture of Osgiliath.
    • 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.
  • Maverick and Iceman at the end of Top Gun.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse: Alex Summers and Charles Xavier haven't seen each other in two decades, and their greeting is a handshake which promptly turns into a warm embrace. This gesture is noticeably more intimate than the straightforward handshake shared between Havok and Hank McCoy (a former classmate). It hints that Alex feels a greater degree of fondness and esteem for Professor X, whom he had once looked up to as a father figure and who had played a pivotal role in his life when Alex was a teenager.

  • Alex Cross and his childhood friend Samson frequently exchange these as greetings in the novels by James Patterson.
  • Harry Potter:
  • Lampshaded in the 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 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.
  • The Stoic John Rain reluctantly accepts one from Dox at the end of Redemption Games.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • All in the Family: In "The Stivics Move West", the final scene between Archie and Mike ... where Archie, after some initial discomfort, lets down his guard and hugs a clearly emotional Mike back.
  • 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.
  • Boy Meets World had a quite a few of these between Heterosexual Life-Partners Cory and Shawn and Jack and Eric, and between brothers Cory and Eric and Shawn and 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!"
  • In the Broad City episode "St. Marks," Ilana see two men hugging over a breakup one of them had. She gets so distracted watching them that she forgets to buy a wig, like she meant to.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In "Tabula Rasa" all the main characters lose their memories; Giles and Spike conclude that they're father and son. They still have their antipathy for each other, but as they part ways, Giles initiates the most tentative, awkward man hug ever recorded.
    • Lampshaded in season 4's "The Freshman" when Xander returns from him travels and hugs Willow and Kathy but hesitates at Oz.
      Xander: Do we hug?
      Oz: I think we're too manly.
    • In season 5's "Into The Woods", after Joyce is given a clean bill of health, everyone hugs... except Xander and Giles, who both seem to realise that Men Don't Hug at the last second. After Joyce dies a couple of episodes later, they share a long hug.
  • Chuck:
    • In the Season 2 Finale, 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.
      Casey: One thing Russians do well: they give good hugs.
  • 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.
  • CSI: NY: Stoic Mac Taylor awkwardly returns a hug from his new-found stepson, Reed, at the funeral of one of the younger man's friends during "Some Buried Bones."
  • Doctor Who: In "Utopia", Captain Jack gives the Doctor a huge hug after the latter confirms that Rose is alive and well.
  • Drake & Josh: Three words: "Hug me, brotha!"
  • Fellow Travelers:
    • At the hunting cabin, Hawkins Fuller comforts his former lover Tim Laughlin with a hug when the latter is distressed over the fact that he could spend a dozen years in jail for destroying federal property (specifically breaking into government offices to burn draft cards for The Vietnam War) among other felony charges. Their embrace becomes more sensual when Hawk whispers "I've missed you, Skippy" and then kisses Tim's neck — likely his intention is to initiate foreplay — but Tim tells him to stop and pulls away.
    • Two days before Frankie moves to San Francisco, his ex-boyfriend Marcus requests a kiss goodbye, but Frankie turns him down and gives him a goodbye hug instead.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Game of Thrones:
  • Gotham:
    • Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock will do this a lot, usually of the quick and macho variety, but they're known to have longer variations. Bullock even plants an elated kiss on Gordon's cheek in one episode.
    • When the series starts, Alfred Pennyworth hugs Bruce Wayne as a father would hug his son, as Bruce is still a young child. However, as time passes and Bruce matures into a young man, their occasional hugs start to feel more like this.
    • For all their bickering and even fights, Oswald Cobblepot and Ed Nygma have a genuine Villainous Friendship and share the occasional hug. Played for laughs in one episode when they embrace and then draw their knives, clearly meaning to literally stab each other in the back as per their mutual Chronic Backstabbing Disorder. Hilariously, they both seem to get a little more into the hug than the stabbing, and when they part, conspicuously sniffing, they both have to surreptitiously put their daggers away.
  • 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.
  • Hercules in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys did this a lot, as did Iolaus.
  • Heroes: Nathan and Peter Petrelli always, always do this when they meet (except in more angsty moments).
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • Horatio Hornblower: In "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.
  • Chase does this to House after he finds out his boss has cancer, resulting in a very embarrassed House and a funny moment.
  • Barney, Marshall and Ted have quite a few of these on How I Met Your Mother.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): In "Is My Very Nature That of a Devil", Louis de Pointe du Lac and Jonah Macon greet each other with a hug because they're Childhood Friends who haven't seen each other in years.
  • Janda Kembang: Although they are usually close, Rais only hugs Malik and even cries alongside him to cheer him up when Malik cries after Malik's love interest Salmah agrees to marry Kemal.
  • Legion: In "Chapter 27", Charles Xavier gives a heartfelt hug to his son David Haller as a gesture of love and comfort. The latter is so overwhelmed emotionally by the embrace that he cries on his father's shoulder.
  • 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.
  • Merlin:
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Tony gives Gibbs a very quick "Yay, you're not dead!" 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.
    • A more emotional version at the end of the episode "Keep Going", where Gibbs grabs Palmer into one of these. This time it's Palmer who's too stunned to do anything. (The backstory on this moment is that Palmer spent the entire episode trying to talk a suicidal man out of jumping off a building. In the course of talking to him, he mentioned that Gibbs had never hugged him, indicating that he didn't think Gibbs liked or respected him. Gibbs promptly proved otherwise.)
  • Ethan and Victor share a rather awkward man hug at the end of Penny Dreadful season three while mourning Vanessa's death. This is especially poignant as the two have been keeping a distance from each other, one being a man of action and the other, of science, and it is Victor who initiates said hug, despite being the socially awkward nerd and probably realizing that Vanessa's death hurts Ethan way more than him.
  • Michael and Lincoln share one of these on Prison Break, during a prison riot for a heartwarming moment.
  • 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.
    • Lampshaded just before the actual hug:
      John: If I try to hug him, please stop me.
      Mary: Certainly not!
  • Clark Kent and Lex Luthor share several of these throughout the earlier seasons of Smallville. Most, if not all, make for wonderful scenes.
  • Starsky & Hutch tend to do this every now and then.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: During the series finale, a wordless man hug is the only goodbye that Julian Bashir and Miles O'Brien can manage.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: In the pilot, Neelix gives Tuvok a big hug when they first meet. Tuvok really doesn't reciprocate.
  • Star Trek: Picard:
    • In "The Impossible Box", when Hugh and Picard meet on the Artifact, they warmly embrace each other.
    • In "Nepenthe", Picard and Riker share one; the latter even exclaims, "Oh, man!" as he does it.
    • In "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1", Elnor runs to Picard and hugs him, happy and relieved that his father figure is still alive.
    • In the episode "Farewell" Picard and Q hug before Q snaps his fingers one last time.
  • Supernatural:
    • Supernatural often does this with brothers Sam and Dean in heartwarming moments.
    • Also done by Cupids as their handshake. Cupids are full grown, naked men by the way.
  • Ted Lasso often shows the AFC Richmond players and coaching staff hugging each other to celebrate scoring goals and winning matches, as is completely normal for an all-male professional sports team. But the episode Man City also features a truly emotional Man Hug between tough guys and former rivals, Roy and Jamie, after a locker room confrontation with the latter's abusive father sends him into an almost catatonic state.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Deconstructed on the Will & 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.
  • 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.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Tag-team partners do this all the damn time after particularly hard-fought matches.
  • The ending of the Bruno Sammartino vs. Pedro Morales match at Shea Stadium in 1972 featured the two faces embrace in a show of sportsmanship following their epic 75-minute match, which ended in a draw. Given this was the first major face-vs.-face match, to see two men that entered the match as bitter enemies and emerge once again as friends was unheard of beforehand.
  • 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.

  • 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."

  • RENT: Roger and Mark at the end of "What You Own". (Lots of subtext throughout the show/movie.)

    Video Games 


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • A hilarious subversion of this is in an episode of Justice League ("Savage Time: Part III") after Superman and a handful of the other Leaguers return to the present. Batman had not been with them (well, there was an alternate version of him where they went) so he is given the Man Hug by Superman. To which he replies in a confused, but still utterly deadpan voice: " I missing something here?"
  • The end of a very hilarious lampshaded Home Movies scene tries this.
  • In the fourth season of Metalocalypse, the tension between Nathan and Pickles that leads to the band temporarily breaking up ends at the finale with Nathan finally apologizing for destroying the record and for stealing the woman Pickles was interested in, the reuniting of Dethklok, and a Man Hug between the two men.
  • Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law has the man-kiss, which is similar.
  • An entire day in Smurf society is devoted to hugging among the male Smurfs in The Smurfs episode "A Hug For Grouchy". Of course, Grouchy hates hugs and doesn't like being hug-mugged by anyone.
  • The Simpsons: In "Blood Feud" Burns sends Smithers to have hired goons beat up Homer. But Smithers feels this is too harsh, especially since Burns owes his life to Homer on more than one occasion. So when giving the instructions to the goon, he teeters back and forth between letting Homer off and letting him live, to the goon's exasperation. When he asks what Homer did, Smithers bawls out "He saved Mr. Burns' liiiife!!" and collapses sobbing on his chest, holding him tight. The confused mook looks around and does the pat-pat-pat-on-the-shoulder thing.
  • Final Space: In episode 6, Avocato and Gary hug when they agree to save Little Cato despite the risks. At first both are quite shocked they even want to hug, but Gary encourages Avocato to go through with it.
  • The Futurama episode "Hell Is Other Robots" had Fry deeply uncomfortable while being hugged for way too long by Bender, who has suffered a complete personality reversal after a religious conversion. In general, though, Fry is happy to recieve a hug from Bender, his occasional chokeholds notwithstanding.

  • 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 informal greeting shared between male talk show hosts and male guests.
  • Very much played straight in ice hockey after a player scoring a goal.

Alternative Title(s): Manly Embrace, Bro Hug, Bro Grab, Pound Hug