Greg White is embracing the rise in man-on-man hugging action.
Last week, I sat in the Pensacola airport café, totally fascinated by my plate of deep fried chicken potpie balls. The waitress had me as she drawled out, “They’re like juicy hush puppies, baby.”
A group of sailors took up the three tables to my right. Some in uniform, some in shorts, all animated. As a former Sergeant in the Marine Corps, I know what it’s like to go home after military service. So as that Marine, I felt a kinship. As a man, I felt a distance. I have long hair now. You could go down a line of 1000 men and, like me playing ball as a kid, pick me last as a Marine. I’m totally okay with that.
I served six years in pre-DADT U.S. Marine Corps. I lied about my sexuality on the enlistment papers to get in; however, I learned the sense of camaraderie in that hyper-masculine world. We go through hell together. We train to fight, to follow, to lead—and to honor each other. We have an actual battle to win, and we need each other.
Back at the restaurant, between bites, I caught bits of information from the sailors. What flight they were on, how long since they’d seen their girlfriends, which one farted.
They got up to leave. One looked back at the gang to yell a proud, “I love you.” All of them gave each other a big hug before they left. Some last minute tips got tossed on the tables, and a lot more I love yous.
I’m encouraged that they took the time—and felt comfortable—to hug each other to say goodbye.
I didn’t eat the last potpie ball. I want to keep in tip-top shape. Battles are being won.
Hug it out.
Photo: Courtesy of the author