I used to believe (or taught by example) that “all good things come to those who wait;” that “boys don’t cry;” and that (reasonable) “public displays of affection are inappropriate.” Up until I changed my exterior behavior to match what I felt inside, I found myself “left behind,” labeled “insensitive,” and failing in my duty to demonstrate (to anyone who may have been watching) what it looks like when people love and care for each other!
This is not unusual for men in our generation. My father wasn’t a “hugger” either. He was rough, tough, blue-collar, and the household disciplinarian. Mom dished out the hugs, kisses, treats, and all things nice. This wasn’t by design mind you, but how their mothers and fathers prepared them for parenthood. Think “Ward and June Cleaver,” but make Ward a Boeing machinist and you have my childhood experience. When it came to being a role model for manly affection, Ward Cleaver was clueless! So when the closest Dad got to affection was saying “…I want you to know, this hurts me more than it will hurt you” just before laying a paddle across my butt at 40 mph — how was I going to learn to be more outwardly affectionate?
Guys, it may sound trite but tuck away your machismo for a few seconds and just do it! Sure…hugging a woman is easy. I haven’t read a single article that suggests you’d be rebuked for trying — unless a) you’re at work (a no-no!) or b) smell like you just got back from a fishing trip with the boys. You might also find yourself rejected from future hugs if you held the first one just long enough feel creepy! Oh…and it helps if you have some connection with the other person. Personal experience has taught me that total strangers aren’t too hip to the hug!
Start with your spouse or significant other, and not just around the house or in the car. What your father failed to teach you is that a simple light touch on her arm, or shoulder, or taking her hand in yours is what you’re supposed to do when you care about this person. Innocent physical connections lead to powerful emotional connections, which support healthy, long-lasting relationships. Take this from someone who’s working (yes…WORKING!) on his 32nd year of marriage to the same beautiful woman.
But, how then do you show your best buddy that you really care? Fishing tackle? Okay…go back to the beginning of this article and start over! I think it would be easier to show you, than to tell you:
Okay…now that doesn’t seem to hard, does it? I realize the video is intentionally humorous, but I don’t think we (guys) would have watched the entire video if it wasn’t funny. So let me leave you with this:
“Good men must be affectionate men.” Samuel Richardson English epistolary novelist (1689 – 1761)