Sunday, April 26, 2009

Men Holding Hands

ST (my Spiritual Twin) also struggles with SSA, both emotional and sexual. ST and I have never had a sexual relationship with each other.

ST teaches at a college where a lot of foreigners come to study English. In response to my telling him about how wonderful it is to hold hands with Brother A, he told me that male students--from Saudi Arabia, India, Burma, Africa--would sometimes hold hands with each other in class.

"They would take each others hands, admire innocently, touch and caress the hands..."

My eyebrows raised.

"I'd jokingly say, 'Hey, no touching hands during my class,' and they would reply, 'don't worry, professor, we're not gay.'"

I wondered about that.

"No, they really are not gay. These guys hold hands out of friendship, and it's not about being sexual!"

I want to be like them.

There is an article online entitled Hold Another Man's Hand by Patrick Repp, a married heterosexual therapist. I love these lines of his:

I want to be understood, especially by other men. I want to tell my story and have it matter to someone. Marlboro man be damned, I don't want to grieve my failures alone. I want permission to cry with another man without having to go to therapy to get it. I want those things to be socially sanctioned.


  1. I love being in a culture where I can hold my brothers hands...give & receive our hands on each others thighs...I hurt for my brothers who live in a culture that cannot receive this type of affection and friendship.

  2. I wonder what it's like for you to be in such a high-touch society? Does it actually help one to heal?

  3. The same thing happens in Korea all the time. Even men in their 30s do it.

  4. I didn't know it was the same in Korea... certainly not N. American Koreans.

  5. I've watched African men in airports hold hands and longed to be able to. It must be very cool to live in a culture that allows you to casually hold a man's hand or rest your arm around his shoulder.

    Some of the men in my circle talk as if they would rather touch an eel than another guy. But I think that it is mere talk. Though it might be buried, men long for closeness to other men. This post inspires me to take initiative with my friends. They're lightyears from holding hands; but I can initiate affection here and there when I can.

  6. Different cultures: Insiders and outsiders. I am used to seeing men walk arm in arm. Teen friends walking down the street with their arms over each others shoulders. Guys poking and touching each other. Being greeted by pats on the back and tummy. Embraces. Kisses. I have grown accustomed to this. and yet, I am a foreigner in this world. As such, I still feel isolated. I wish I had been born here. I wish I had blood relatives here: brothers, uncles, a Dad. I stick out. I don't fit. And when I go to my country of origin, I don't fit there either. I don't fit.

  7. Dear Anonymous: You fit perfectly in my world (esp. with an extra bottle of beer).