Kiwi men are embracing the hug
I love hugs. They're good for you. I particularly adore them when they're from my kids, hubby and friends. Plus, I've noticed hugging is no longer just a girly thing...
Millennial men have moved past the handshake, nod, and back-slap malarky (although they're still not quite at the French-style kiss-on-the-cheek-stage). And whether it's consoling another lad over the loss of a big match (less talk about that the better) or celebrating a joyful moment, it's becoming hip for Kiwi blokes to say "I love you man" and embrace a buddy for a bear hug.
I witnessed awesome man hugs at the weekend when Kiwi runner Mal Law reached his 50th and final marathon peak on Saturday atop Rangitoto Island (he'd run 50 off-road marathons and climbed 50 peaks and all in just 50 days).
He high-fived his running friends. He then wrapped his arms around them tight. I saw some blokes turn on the water-works even. Yes, I shed a tear too. I could lie and say it was sweat, but there were tears in there (and possibly some snot).
It was inspiring to see Mal smash his dream. He conquered the gruelling challenge and raised $449,895 to date for the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.
He was on a high and that called for big emotion. I captured this picture of Mal hugging a mate which showcases just how cool a man-hug can be. Yeah, that cool.
The author, Rachel (right), with Mal just before he climbed his final peak.
Meanwhile, I also witnessed a comical man-hug yesterday between my hubby and a mate. I chuckled as my hubby obviously didn't know which way to look (and blushed even) when his mate gave him a giant manly squeeze. You see, his friend had just bought a house and my husband went to shake a hand and say "Congratulations!"
But his mate replied: "This moment deserves a hug mate, I'm just so excited!"
Don't get me wrong, my hubby was thrilled, but he's still getting used to man-hugs. He's still a bit awkward.
And he's not the only one. A lot of older blokes didn't hug a lot in the past. It just wasn't the done thing. But thank goodness Kiwi guys can now happily hug. It's a great way to express emotion.
Clinical psychologist, Dr Natalie Flynn, says it has been a building trend for people to be more demonstrative and open about their emotions, partly due to psychotherapy becoming "mainstream in America".
She also credits John Kirwan for his work on mental health in encouraging Kiwi men to be more open with their emotions for the sake of their mental health.
And, she adds, it's also simply "fashion".
John Kirwan - helping Kiwi men open up.
But before you go out on a hug-a-thon, I'd caution to remember that hugs are only pleasurable if they are "mutually wanted".
And if you're after guidance on a PC man-hug then here are some starter rules:
- Start with the handshake.
- Then move into a side hug-like embrace.
- Don't hug longer than a few seconds. Be short and sweet.
- Feel free to add a back-slap or repeated pat. That's okay.