Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

A Kiss on the Cheek can be Quite Continental by Amy Andrews

So yesterday my 17 y.o. son left home to go to uni and it was an emotional day but that’s a whole other blog. We dropped him to college and helped him unpack his room and my husband got all his computer stuff set up and we all had lunch together in the college dining room and then it was time to leave.

As we were hugging him good-bye I watched him and his father joke around and bump chests and generally laugh their way through their good-bye. And it was funny and my daughter and I laughed because they were such loons! But it got me thinking how difficult it is for a lot of men to hug and kiss hello and good-bye and I think that’s really sad. I know my own Dad and brothers found this a weird transition as they got older.

It’s easy when they’re babies and kids – when the adoration is pure and simple on both sides like in the pic of my hubby and our son. How much does that look on both their fadaddyloveces say “you are my world”?? But when they grow up and become adults and society puts such a stigma on male affection – well here in Australia anyway – it gets a lot trickier!

This is one of the reasons I love Europe – besides from the art, culture, amazing history, wine, cheese, pastry and gelato. I love to sit somewhere in a palazzo or a café and just watch how European men act around each other.  I love how they openly and enthusiastically kiss and hug hello and good-bye. And there’s no awkwardness, no forced physicality, no cringing. No-one’s masculinity is threatened, it doesn’t seemed forced or clumsy or unnatural.

On the contrary it’s the easiness of it that makes it such a pleasure to watch.

I wish I saw it more here. Even American men seem more at ease with hugging then men in Australia do!

What about you guys? Wouldn’t you like to see that more too? To the Aussies, do you think I have it wrong? Do you think it’s changing – I know there’s a much easier affection between my husband and son then there was/is with my father and brothers. Am I right about American men? Are they more comfortable with hugging? How would they feel about the double-cheeked European kiss? I love watching that!

11 thoughts on “A Kiss on the Cheek can be Quite Continental by Amy Andrews”

  1. Ah, Amy – hugs on the son leaving home. As an American, I can say that men usually allow a quite one-shoulder hug and three rapid pats on the back then it’s over and done. LOL. Are you saying Australian men are even more uncomfortable than that?

    Not to go too deeply in history, but our WWII men and earlier, were not affectionate in the least. Many babyboomer men said their father’s never hugged them or said they loved them. Ever.

    We are big on hugging and telling each other I love you in our family, (my husband and I) and are kids never hang up the phone without telling us they love us. Even my tough Special Forces son. 🙂

    But back to you and your guys. They were telling each other they love each other with their macho dance. No doubt about it, your son knows his father loves him like crazy.

    1. Thanks Lynne. yes, I would say that a lot of Aussie men are not even comfortable with that. My husband for example wouldn’t ever hug,even the quick one shoulder 3 quick pats type, another man other than in a joke situation.
      There has always been easy affection between our son and him and saying I love you is easy for them, just watching them I was thinking how awkward it was with my brothers and Dad at that stage and how Aussie men just dont hug each other as a general rule.
      Maybe with each newer genration that will change.

  2. Amy, love that picture of your husband and son! And hugs on his leaving home.

    My impression is that British men may aren’t very good at all with public displays of affection, although that’s certainly changing. Even so, the English Channel has a lot to answer for in terms of kissing. British men seem to make do with a brisk handshake and, when seized by intense emotion which just can’t be conveyed any other way, a slightly awkward pat on the upper arm with the other hand. Although one group of friends always makes me laugh – the Brits in the group quite naturally hug and kiss the Italians, but between themselves it’s back to the handshakes again. (And Oh! Just googled the arm patting thing and apparently it’s either an expression of dominance, or literally patting someone down to see if they’re armed! So maybe it’s not so friendly after all. 🙂 )

    1. Hi Annie. That’s weird isn’t it, how men who wouldn;t normally go for the hug/kiss are comfortable doing it with other cultures where it is a given.
      LOL on the arm thing – I think sometimes it just means affection or an hope-you’re-ok that can’t quite be expressed another way 🙂

  3. Amy, I will be in the same situation as you on Sunday when my eldest moves up the big road to the big city and university. My boys and their father hug and kiss each other goodbye or hello. Perhaps because their dad is often coming and going! However, I have had to work on my father. There were hugs until the boys got older and then I could see my father hesitating and he’s shake their hand and I would say, ‘for heaven’s sake, give your grandfather a hug.” Yeah, I’m bossy BUT it has been a mission of mine to try and avoid the men in my life from being stiff with each other. I doubt my 80 year old father was EVER hugged by his father! NOt sure my husband was either so I feel like I have acheived a little win in my family.

    1. Hugs on your impending change, Fiona!
      My Mum was bossy with my Dad about hugging my brothers as they became grown ups and it became a “thing”. But no matter how bossy one is about it and how much they’ll do it on command, I still think its sad that there is that awkward moment. That its not spontaneous and “natural”
      Maybe in a century or so??

  4. Hi. Amy,(( hugs)) to you on your first born flying the nest. I can’t imagine how I will feel when my son moves on and out- I’ll let you know next year!

    My husband is pretty British, with the handshake thing going on, but he does hug his sons, and hopefully they will continue that with future generations. What I like about the NZ youth culture is that when a male teenager meets another guy they often pull each other into a sort of gangster style handshake/hug/fist-bang/shoulder-nudge thing. It is definitely a move away from the formal handshake and much closer to a hug (but I’m guessing they wouldn’t admit that! 😉 ).

  5. Hugs on your son leaving home, Amy. I know how it feels when they fly the nest – empty!

    As for the hugging, well, I’m British and as Annie said, we aren’t quite at the level of the Europeans when it comes to hugging and I doubt we ever shall be. A handshake, a smile, possibly – in extreme circumstances – an arm around the shoulders but that’s it. Most British men still consider all the kissing/hugging done by our male friends across the Channel as something slightly weird and to be avoided… Oh, except at football matches. When you see news footage of top league games there’s an awful lot of emotion on those terraces. However, it’s all safely buttoned up and locked away once they leave the hallowed grounds!

    Your son and his father made their feelings perfectly clear when they were larking around, though. And they both know it so I shouldn’t worry too much.
    Hope you have a good week. Look on the bright side. You’ll have less food to cook, less clearing up to do and as for the washing…unless he does as mine did and brings it home!

    1. Lol Jennifer I am kind of expecting him to come home with his washing from time to time 🙂
      It’s interesting isn’t it that men can hug and be naturally spontaneoulsy emotive with each other when a ball of any shape or description is involved…..

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