This one's a gem.
If you're a guy who's hung around a church for any length of time, this is a question you've asked yourself repeatedly. There is always indecision around this issue, especially for us Christian types, who must always tread lightly around the issues of male to male relationships.
"Men accustomed to the automatic and dependable hand clasp accompanied with a brisk up-and-down pump at dinner parties and college reunions, now must preface their greetings or goodbyes with intricate and split-second calculations based on body language, length of friendship and other factors.
Do I shake or do I hug?"
A great article, well researched.
I think the author, Douglas Brown, misses something though...
This "aggressive back patting" is not something that happens only in the A-frame configuration. It is, in my experience, quite a common man-hug feature. A-frame or full bear, there is always the 3 pats on the back; just as a reminder to each other that you are men. Men! Dammit.
"...men too engage in the combination handshake-hug, says Floyd.
"It follows what we call an 'A-frame' configuration; the only body contact is the shoulders," he says. "Men often do it with their handshake in between them, so there is a physical barrier. The third thing is the aggressive patting on the back that comes along with it, which is a very combative gesture. It's a way for men to say, 'I have positive feelings for you, but let's show them in a way that is masculine and gender validating.' "
He does come back around to it at the end in describing "The Bear"...
Guys dispense with handshakes altogether. When they greet, the left arm drapes over the partner's right shoulder; the right arm goes around the waist. The left hand usually pats the partner's back.At times, there is even some subtle grunting. Mmm.