A touch-averse guide to queer friends kissing and hugging

Navigating the 'gay hug' gets tricky when you're culturally tuned into lots of personal space with friends. It gets really tricky when your boo doesn't have that affliction.

Q:

I've been with a fantastic guy for several months now.I'm the gay guy with a herd of female friends.He’s the gay guy that knows every gay man.

I'm not the jealous type at all, but I feel like the lines are blurry as to what is appropriate in gay male interaction.I mean, should I be OK with someone coming up to my guy in a bar slapping him on the ass and kissing him on the lips?

I don't have gay male friends, so this is kind of foreign to me.

 

Dear That's My Man:

Congrats on your new relationship! Ain’t love grand? Of course, it comes with a whole new set of questions.

LGBTQ rules of engagement vary from group to group, situation to situation, and queer to queer. Most touch-averse Southerners learned long ago to tolerate the “gay hug,” for example. It's a good thing in general to embrace embracing one another, but some still cringe when a sister-friend leans in for a squeeze or lip smack. Still others could snap a neck muscle in reaction to someone playing grab-ass without consent. 

To answer your question, yes it’s a thing. To answer another, you get to decide what’s OK for you, and work with your boyfriend on what works for him and for you as a couple. 

There’s yet another question that may or may not be lurking between the lines for you or others in similar situations. You say you’re not the jealous type, but if the implication is that you’re insecure about him possibly cheating, return to your own first sentence: He is “a fantastic guy.” 

Either he is and you can talk to him about all this and grow closer, or he isn’t and you can’t trust him. The answer lies at the end of Communication Road.

Q:

I’m pretty sure my wife is cheating on me with her best friend. Their inside jokes don’t include me, their movie nights look like nesting, and I can tell they’re rolling their eyes behind my back. 

They were best friends for years before my wife I met, and more and more often they have me feeling like I am the third wheel. They don’t even try to hide touching each other, or things like kissing each other hello and goodbye. Should I be worried?

Dear Paranoid:

Since they are best friends of many years, it sounds like they would have had plenty of chances to hook up long before you came into the picture, and they chose not to. What’s more, none of the things on your list of “evidence” spells cheating.

Inside jokes are just that – inside – so necessarily exclusionary. Any two people hanging out and laughing on a couch could easily “look like nesting,” and try as you may, you can’t see eyes rolling behind your back. And finally, some queers hug and peck each other as greetings. 

If you’re still worried after considering all of this, ask about it directly. Either you’ll learn it’s true (doubtful), or you’ll give your wife a chance to respond and put your worries at ease.

The Q is for entertainment purposes and not professional counseling. Send your burning Qs to [email protected].

Illustration by Brad Gibson.

This column originally appeared in Q magazine. Read the full issue below, and pick up your hard copy around town.