Culture British web-vid upload site VideoJug launched yesterday in the States, offering a striking example of reverse cultural colonisation. VideoJug is a sort of how-to version of YouTube, offering short instructional clips on diverse topics such as tying a Windsor knot and coping with cancer.
But, as Reuters tech hacks in New York were quick to spot, the most noteworthy vid on the site, made apparently by Brits, describes "How to Give a Great Man to Man Hug." The tongue-in-cheek production is now - following the US VideoJug launch - in something of a how-to-suck-eggs-for-the-elderly position. America is, after all, the home of the inappropriate emotional display.
But the film isn't just unnecessary - it's a vile slur on modern British manhood. Even the mongrelised cultural traitors who made it are aware of the intrinsic wrongness of men hugging; they warn of the danger of "nuzzling", for instance, and suggest a few jocular punches afterward to cleanse the soul. (As if one could ever feel clean again.) It's noticeable, too, that the actors take care to avoid any groin contact.
The vid can be watched here.
Despite their efforts, however, the touchy-feely filmsters have totally failed to sell the concept to the Reg gents' etiquette desk. Vulture Central consensus suggest that there are very few situations between British gentlemen which cannot be marked by some kind of fraternal gesture delivered safely from arm's length, ideally involving the infliction of a mild injury. A (single) arm might be placed across a compadre's shoulders in a few specific scenarios, for instance when extremely drunk, unable to stand unaided and singing snatches of coarse doggerel.
Closer body contact than this, we submit, should be reserved only for desperate situations, as when a chum has sustained a disabling gunshot wound and there are no taxis in the vicinity. In this case a fireman's lift may be given without compromising either party.
In general, however, happy occurrences should normally marked by an offer to purchase cheerful drinks such as beer (a favoured team has won a routine match) or champagne (a friend is getting married voluntarily). Sad events are best acknowledged by "a slight compression of the lips and silently throwing one's cigarette into the fireplace," as Dorothy L Sayers would say.* Followed, of course, by an immediate offer of mournful drinks such as straight vodka.
Mano-a-mano clinches are strictly for Americans and decadent French dukes, we say. But we may not be in tune with the upload-auteur zeitgeist. Depressingly, a search of the VideoJug site for "stiff upper lip" produced nothing but some kind of girly lip-plumping awfulness.
Reuters report here.®
*In the introduction to this book. Search for "cigarette".