Home > Everything Else > It’s Okay to Hug

It’s Okay to Hug

I can’t begin to tell you how many times other men walk right up and ask me: “Can I please hug you?”  I don’t know if it’s my magnetic approachability or the way I’ve been able to connect with you, my audience, that causes people to step into my bubble.  I always decline, of course.  I follow very strict guidelines (or man laws) when it comes to “man hugs“.  There are very, very few instances in which it is acceptable for two men to “Front Hug”.  Fortunately, there are many other great alternatives to such feminine displays of camaraderie.  Which type of gesture you use depends on how well you know the person and the situation in which the interaction is taking place.  It falls within the jurisdiction of “man laws”.

The Handshake

The most impersonal of all the hug substitutes, the Handshake is most versatile.  However, it can be a little tricky.  You don’t want to overpower the other person with a Kung-Fu grip, but you also don’t want to hold your hand out like a dead rooster’s comb willed with Sugar-Free Cranberry Jell-O.  When executed properly, a firm handshake establishes you as an equal with:

–Business associates

–Personal acquaintances


–Anyone else with whom you’d rather not come into full contact, like in-laws

Side Hug

This is more personal than a handshake, because it involves putting your arm around another guy.  It’s one of the best ways to convey sorrow and empathy for men who have had a medium-sized catastrophe in their lives.  It says, “Hey buddy, I’m here for you, but I respect your personal space as a man.”  You can feel that you have properly shown adequate sympathy when your:

–Friend has lost his foot to gangrene

–Friend has lost his pet to vehicular corpsification

–Friend has lost house to gambling addiction


This is a very respectable way in which to dole out a hug.  It starts in a non-threatening way, but goes in for a one-arm front hug while the hands that are engaged in the handshake are creating a healthy boundary between the two men.  While good for establishing limits in closeness, it is still a meaningful display of manly appreciation.  The handshake-to-hug makes perfect sense when you will be hugging:

–Your son, on his birthday

–Your boss, when you really want that raise (also, throw in a wink)

–Anyone else you might know well, like your father

Front Hugs

Most men know better than to hand out Front Hugs for just any reason.  Sadly, some men breach this social contract with severity and innumerability.  I may draw criticism for establishing guidelines for front hugs, but I am willing to shoulder that burden for the sake of humanity as a whole.  Do your worst!  (I am saying that rhetorically.  God only knows what your worst is.)  In the known universe, there are only three instances in which giving another man a front hug should even be considered.  Under no other circumstances are male front hugs acceptable by the general public.  This particular display of masculine devotion is limited to occurrence between best friends.  And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for . . . the McRibwich is back at McDonald’s!  But only for a limited time!  Let the people rejoice in the streets!  Oh, and these are the three times you may EVER front hug another man:

–Your best friend’s wedding

–Your best friend’s mom’s funeral

–Your best friend scores the game-winning touchdown in the Super Bowl

It goes without saying that any other instance in totally off-limits for man-to-man frontal embraces.  Don’t question me on this.  I am an expert, and I’ll thank you kindly to take my word for it.  I’ve have none of your nay-saying.  That’s what you do, isn’t it?  Always saying, “Nay!”  Do you really think you are beyond the reach of the “man law”?

  1. Mr. Easy Living
    March 24, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    Although I have quite often violated the “front hug” rules and regs, I would like to say that this post rocked my socks off. Probably because they are already off, but who’s really paying attention.

    • kylebaxter
      March 24, 2009 at 9:58 pm

      Not anyone who reads this. HA! No offense to my immense fan base.

  2. Mr. President
    March 25, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    You wrote this on purpose. Knowing most of your audience are rebellious by nature, you knew that you would receive many front hugs. If you want hugs Paul just come out and ask for them. You do not have to play these little games with the Baxter nation

  3. Phil
    March 25, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    I agree with El Presidente. I know you love it when burly men embrace you (just using the word “embrace” makes it sound more gay). There’s nothing wrong with men showing affection, just not too much affection, that’s creepy.

  4. March 26, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    Do you need a hug, Paul?

    • kylebaxter
      March 27, 2009 at 1:04 am

      Well Tyler, I received my first full-front male hug tonight from someone who appreciates my cry for physical contact. It was a means to an end. I appreciate your understanding.

  5. sociopathicfugitiveanonymous
    March 27, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    think i’ve labelled you as passive aggressive…. its very important that all my people have labels.

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