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? No problem. Hugging and kissing? Not so much.
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.
- DEVILMAN Crybaby: Akira and Ryo are fond of showing their affection to each other by hugging. In the very first interaction they have as teens, they jump at each other and hug.
- ALEXANDER LOUIS ARMSTRONG, of Fullmetal Alchemist, being the Emotional Bruiser that he is, doesn't settle with "Pat on the Back hug." No, he goes for a full-on Bear Hug.
- Tiger & Bunny's Wild Tiger is not afraid to give his bros hugs◊.
- Soul Eater's bro hug between Black Star and Soul. While the hug itself could pass as completely heterosexual, their choice of words before the hug made it look less so.
- For all its machismo, Slam Dunk has quite a lot of hugging, particularly after an impressive game.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Lion King: 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.
- In 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!"
- 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 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.
- 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.
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:
Thorin: I have never been so wrong in all my life.
- 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.
- 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.
- Back to the Future:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- In 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.
- Maverick and Iceman at the end of Top Gun.
- The Blues Brothers begins with one, when Elwood picks up Jake who is fresh out of prison.
- Coach Gordon Bombay and team captain Charlie Conway share a lot of man hugs throughout The Mighty Ducks trilogy.
- 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.
- 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.
- In The Matrix Revolutions, Neo and Morpheus share one before parting ways.
- 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).
- Alex Cross and his childhood friend Samson frequently exchange these as greetings in the novels by James Patterson.
- Harry Potter:
- 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.
- The Stoic John Rain reluctantly accepts one from Dox at the end of Redemption Games.
- 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!"
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!"
- 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:
- Robb Stark and Jon Snow give each other a farewell hug before the latter leaves Winterfell to join the Night's Watch. Sadly, this would be the last time they saw each other.
- Likewise, Jaime and Tyrion Lannister in "The Children" after the former helped the latter escape from being executed for allegedly poisoning Joffrey.
- 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, "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.
- 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 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!
- Lampshaded just before the actual hug:
- Clark Kent and Lex Luthor share several of these throughout the earlier seasons of Smallville. Most, if not all, make for wonderful Heartwarming scenes.
- Starsky & Hutch tend to do this every now and then.
- 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.
- In the pilot of Star Trek: Voyager, Neelix gives Tuvok a big hug when they first meet. Tuvok really doesn't reciprocate.
- 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.
- 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.
- RENT: Roger and Mark at the end of "What You Own". (Lots of subtext throughout the show/movie.)
- In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, 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..." Of course, there is only one hug animation for the MC.
- 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. And they do it without a prompt whenever they meet in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
- 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.
- Ratchet & Clank:
- 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.
- Gorons in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time greet each other with a massive hug. After Link saves the cavern that is their food source and chief Darunia adopts him as a blood brother, they offer to hug Link en masse, but because Gorons are made of stone, he declines. Which is to say, he runs away in terror.
- In the Pit of Saron dungeon in World of Warcraft the rescued prisoners can remark, "You deserve a mighty man hug."
- Rean Schwarzer in The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II gives one towards Machias when they reunited for the first time since the Civil War started and Rean waking up from his one month coma. In Cold Steel IV, he delivers the mother of all man hugs to Crow while sharing the life energy that Valimar is absorbing to Ordine, back to Ordine to save Crow's life. It also ends up tying their lives together.
- Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff features the "bro hug bump", which is presented with as much dramatic buildup and as many superlatives as possible.
- Averted, however, in Homestuck itself when Dave actually meets Dirk and (after a lengthy heart-to-heart conversation) grabs him in a completely un-manly clinging hug.
- Johnny Wander: Do the bro hug! Hug like bros!
- Narrowly averted in El Goonish Shive in these two strips.
- In Rusty and Co., in gratitude — followed by a threat if he ever tells.
- RWBY: Jaune and Ren share one when team RNJR has to go their separate ways at the middle of Volume 4. This is specially noticeable for being the only pair to hug during the goodbye.
- Lampshaded and parodied in this "How To Give the Perfect Man Hug" video by Video Jug: "Give a great man to man hug to your closest friends and family without getting that awkward feeling!"
- Smosh has helpfully provided a Guys' Guide To Hugging Guys.
- The Ballad of Edgardo: Player characters need to be touching for them to be teleported together, so Edgardo and Squid played this one for all its worth with a powerful hug between two muscular men right before the final battle.
- 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: "...am 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.
Nathan: THIS IS THE MOST EMOTIONALLY BRUTAL THING I'VE EVER EXPERIENCED.
- 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 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.