Contrary to what most women think, men are capable of expressing affection towards one another.  We just don’t express affection the way women do. Which is to say, we don’t blubber and squeal and embrace like a pair of zombie Care Bears turning on one another. Men don’t giggle and shriek “Ommagaw yurrr mai bestust freng eversies!” We’re more reserved. Men don’t parade their feelings. Our hearts are not lawn sprinklers. So don’t judge bros because they aren’t as open with each other as you are with your girlfriends. Men don’t do ostentatious displays of emotion. Women could learn a thing or two from the men and their lives, and turn down the volume.

In fact, men have various ways of showing each other their manly devotion. We share our beer. The same goes for any snacks that come in bags or can be served in bowls. This might seem like basic politeness, but it is a subtle form of personal fondness dating back to the cavemen. Ancient man use to bond by sharing their prized toenails with one another, which is why Frito corn chips are shaped the way they are. That is a totally true statement of Scientific Fact™. In order to preserve the integrity of the man tribe, ancient man invented other ways of reinforcing friendly relationships. Farting, whooping, and an early version of the wave anthropologists call “sitting and standing, then sitting again and standing” were all ways cavemen communicated that they were all cavebros.

Another way that men show affection for one another is the game “two for flinching,” where one dude fake lunges at another dude, and if that dude “flinches,” he is subjected to a punch in the arm. This game was invented during Biblical times by Cain and Abel, who were Atlantean velociraptor ranchers. Legend has it that it was because of a game of “two for flinching” that Cain went OJ Simpson on his brother. Which is why, to this day, when one bro punches another bro in the arm, enough force should be applied to inflict pain, but not leave a bruise. Or, at least, a giant, purple-gray bruise.

Men also hug. That’s true. I’m man enough to admit I have hugged my male friends. But it’s not a hug in the way that women think of a hug. Men are misers with their hugs, and women are spendthrifts. And from what I can tell, women know only one way to hug -with all their heart. Men, on the other hand, have varying tiers of hug. It should be noted that when men hug, their tummies should never touch. That’s just a basic rule.

First and foremost, there’s the “arm around the shoulder” hug, a basic hug reserved for new friends, and drinking buddies. In regards to the latter, it’s a hug that also has a functional purpose, which is to stand up right when drunk. Most male hugs are either hugs of greeting or farewell. Hugs of greeting are shorter than hugs of farewell, which I call “Viking Hugs.” In both cases, the hugs are punctuated with no more than three backslaps. These backslaps are required when greeting a fellow pal, because they also have a function – making sure the other guy isn’t armed. It’s a ritualistic frisking that dates back to more barbaric times when a friend could turn into a foe after one too many skull goblets full of mead.

There is the more casual man hug known as the “gangster” hug. These hugs begin as a handshake that turn into a half-hug and backslap with the one hand that isn’t being clasped. These hugs are reserved for good friends who don’t always pay off their debts. The “gangster” hug can also be used to seal a deal. The “apology hug” is yet another way men hug. This variation on the theme starts off with both men throwing their arms open, which is probably another ancient way of showing no one is armed. Then the two men briefly hug, and administer two backslaps. Only two. This hug settles an argument or dispute, and is usually performed in front of other dudes.

None of the hugs mentioned above should last more than two to three seconds tops. If two men hug for more than that, it means one of three things. One, they’re dating. But that’s a romantic hug, and not really a “man hug.” Gay men can man hug, but the above rules still apply, give or take a few seconds. Two, they’re brothers. Brothers can hug each other for longer. Men who are shipping off to combat can hug anyone for as long as they want. Veterans can hug other veterans for as long as they want as well.

I hope I’ve cleared up any stereotypes that men are unfeeling golems made out of hamburger meat. Men are capable of being affectionate with one another, in their own way.

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