Man Smacks: Cinematic study on Totally Hetero And Absolutely Not Gay Dude-Huggage

science.jpg Filmmaker Joe Sabia has produced a cinematic study on the social phenomenon that is "Man Smacks." The application of "Man Smacks", in simple English, allows two men to hug each other affectionately while preserving their desire to be perceived as heterosexual.


  1. I do this when hugging women too. I’m not certain what exactly that means.

    Also unisex hugs that involve picking up the person I’m hugging, ’cause really who doesn’t enjoy being picked up every now and then?

  2. D’oh! Maybe it’s internalized homophobia, but I do the man smack when I hug straight guys.

    Please don’t take away my gay card. :/

  3. American men are incredibly prudish when it comes to showing affection. It is normal to kiss on both cheeks in most of southern Europe and many Arabic countries. Brazilians dole out monstrous bear hugs to their friends every time that they see them.

    This entire emotional repression thing is way out of hand. Free hugs!

  4. Also, the handshake/hug combo: “I’ll hug you, but we need to keep our arms between us so I can let you know when I’m done. Also, our hips won’t touch”

  5. Free hugs?

    Dude, why? Do you like touching a guy, rubbing your hands on his shoulders, tenderly sighing into his neck, inhaling his scent, feeling his muscles tense beneath his skin as he embraces you, two people merging into one, protective and powerful?

    So gay.

    Thanks for letting America inherit your weird sexual baggage, Puritans! You guys were total dicks!

  6. Americans are really weird. It’s the only culture I know where two men hugging (even father and son) are seen as gay. In most cultures, you can kiss a friend hello (or double-kiss as been mentioned before) with no sexual implications. It’s always fun to see an american try that when outside the US (not that you do that too much either). They’re clumsy and weird, not knowing if hugging, kissing or doing both at the same time will be ok.

  7. The “smacks” you speak of, I always considered more of a “pat” which is more of a comforting gesture. Kind of a “we’re all in this crazy world together, don’t worry, we’ll all be ok.”

  8. The standard gay male greeting, at least in the US, is kissing on the lips.

    1. “The standard gay male greeting, at least in the US, is kissing on the lips.”

      Yes. And I hate that and refuse to participate. I had that line crossed-out before I signed the Contract Of Gayness.

      The double cheek / air kiss as mentioned above? OK. Lips? No.

  9. I prefer to greet my friends like a professional NFL player with ass smacks all around.

  10. This entire phenomenon is taken to high art in the NBA. Watch a team go through pre-game rituals. There’s this chest smacking, hugging, hand-shaking which is obviously meant to convey affection and solidarity, but it’s all packaged up with little tweaks and non-gay signifiers. It’s pretty funny.

    Here’s a video of a Lakers pre-game. Note Sasha Vujacic’s chest initialization to prep the players for combat.

  11. The standard male meeting in North Dakota is brief, silent eye-contact. If you are extremely close, one may nod.

  12. I guess growing up a fairly affectionate kid, then falling in with a bunch of post-hippie musicians and then ravers and now burners I have somehow avoided the whole “feeling gay while hugging another dude” thing. It was not unusual for my male musician friends and I (in the mid-nineties) to kiss on the lips briefly as a show of affection…and probably equally just to be provocative. It was quite similar among my raver friends and now my fellow burners…

    I do agree that it’s the damn Puritans’ fault. An American Lit teacher started his class one year by stating that all of American artistic and cultural history is but a footnote to Puritanism…I can’t argue with that. Pent up freaks we all are.

  13. It is my utter joy to make men uncomfortable with my application of a true hug. I’m not gay, I just love you.

  14. In the United States, if a man hugs another man, he either wants to blow him, tell him the good news about Jesus, or offer him generous terms on a reverse mortgage.

    Or send him out on the lake with Al Neri.

  15. sorry, Antinous, i’m with ToMajorTom: i’m gay, and i’ll do cheek kisses, air kisses, and gladly initiate and join in big bear hugs with other male friends and famly. but only one man gets my lips, and i reserve them for him.

  16. Most of the greetings where I come from, like North Dakota are the brief eye contact with a nod.

    If they’re a close friend, then one may initiate a fist-bump (the secret handshake ending in fist bump is no longer acceptable… due to palm on palm contact).

    If they’re family OR you’re both intoxicated you’re given a free pass to initiate Man Smacks.

  17. I always hug men when I’m meeting them for the first time in a business meeting. I also don’t let go right away. It makes me an unpredictable and dangerous negotiator, I think.

    1. The use of “inappropriate” intimacy and familiarity as a form of aggression is really interesting to me. It sends really clear signals by sending contextually very WRONG signals. Using superficially familiar terms like “buddy”, or “friend” or etc usually with strong emphasis, to draw the viewers attention to how inappropriate the term was is a hollywood “wise guys” veilled threat, usually along with a big show of “let me give you some advice”, arm around the shoulder etc etc.

      The other extreme is when public nudity is used to protest, either passively (Answering the door Saturday morning while stark naked because you’re angry at being woken up) or actively (actually protesting in the streets about something).

      Threats of barehanded violence are also often more threatening coming from someone half-dressed or naked than they are from someone appropriately clothed. It should make the person LESS threatening, as they’re more vulnerable undressed, but “screaming naked guy” escalates the situation to “so angry he doesn’t care that’ hes attracting attention to his nakedness by screaming in public” or “crazy man”.

      1. Very interesting. Taken with Ark’s comment, I’m now certain I failed to communicate the uncomfortable comedy possible with the man hug.

        1. Comedy is both a way of dealing with or deflecting aggression, and an act of aggression. :D

  18. On the other hand, as a Brazilian, it freaks me out the American ‘kiss on the lips’ between parents and their kids.

    People that doesn’t hug, doesn’t show any physical affection, but… kisses on the lips their kids. Bleargh!

    A first kiss-on-the-lips is a moment to treasure, becoming a teen. Not something you had at home, being kissed on the lips by your parents since a toddler.

    On the same mood: what about the disgusting “come do daddy/who’s your daddy?”, as a sexual come-on? A nation of pedophiles? Blearrrrrgh!

  19. Being Spanish, a burner and a raver, the first thing I thought when I saw all those ‘man smacks’ was how awkward and unsatisfying it looks. None of them look like they know what they’re doing. It’s like they want to hug, but just don’t know how to.

    Damn it, when you wanna hug someone just go for it. Doing it half-way is just awkward for participants and onlookers alike :)

  20. Umm…serious question guys…if you’re a girl, and a guy you’re interested in hugs you like that, that means he’s not interested in you in a romantic/physical way, right?

    What if he gives you big, arm-wrapping, cuddling hugs every time you hang out together (which is pretty often, even though you’re no longer dating) but tells you he doesn’t “feel any chemistry” with you?

    Please interpret guy on girl hugs for me, k’thanks.

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