Jordan Gray thinks it’s strange that people assume he and his male friends are dating, simply because of how they act with each other.
I have (apparently) very unique relationships with my closest guy friends.
When we are out in public together we do a number of things that stand out to others.
In fact, we stand out to such a degree that the majority of our servers, bartenders, and new acquaintances assume that we are gay.
“Wait… you guys aren’t together?”
“Well, we’re physically out together tonight.”
“You know what I mean. You guys aren’t dating each other?”
“But you used to right? You’re at least bi?”
“Nope. Just male friends who like each other a lot.”
Upon scanning my memory bank I’ve never felt like I was doing anything overtly out of the ordinary.
But when I dug into the “You guys must be together” people about why they would assume we were in a relationship, the feedback I received was all true.
Things such as…
– We full-chest hug hello and goodbye
– When we go out for meals with each other we maintain strong eye contact, engage fully in the conversation, and generally do all of the things that men “on the hunt” don’t do
– We readily laugh at each other’s jokes and don’t seem at all competitive
– We tell each other we love each other
– We’re quick to celebrate each other’s victories and brag about each other to new friends
– We look happy and comfortable in each other’s presence
– We frequently have guys-only vacations
– We have lived together in multiple countries
– We’re more encouraging of each other than we are challenging
If these are the things that consistently make people assume that we must be a couple then I’m worried that there must be something lacking in what is currently considered a “normal” male to male friendship.
When did it become the societally accepted norm to have emotionally surface level relationships between men? Why is male affection so stigmatized and feared by so many men?
Why is it easier to challenge or ridicule your male friends than to encourage or verbally praise them? Why has the intimacy in our greetings gone from handshakes, to fist bumps, to head nods?
When did challenging become the new kind?
I don’t know all of the root issues that led to the scarcity of male affection. I don’t have the answers.
But I hope that we are trending towards a world where “male friends hugging” doesn’t automatically make the viewer assume anything about the huggers’ sexual orientation.
What about you?
Has anyone ever mistaken you and your guy friends for being in a relationship for any of the above reasons? Or different reasons?
I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below.
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Photos courtesy of JordanGrayConsulting.com