What is it about men kissing that makes straight people bristle so?  I find this topic both amusing and bewildering.  This simple gesture of affection between a man or woman, if done in public, evokes in others a smile or nothing at all.  However the straight reaction to a kiss between two men ranges from horror to disgust.  I remember seeing a Las Vegas show which had so much raunchy sex it resembled a satyr play. The audience was amused and not at all uncomfortable by the barage of sex acts and jokes – until a performance ended with two male acrobats stopping their ‘fight’ to hold each other in an embrace and puckered up. The audience let out a collective gasp of disbelief and revulsion.

On one hand, I feel the joy of powerful joy having something so simple yet so powerful. ACT UP demonstrators figured out a sure fire way to rankle straights without much effort is to kiss each other in public. The fact kissing is loving gesture (and jolly good fun!) makes this even more titillating.  Straights have no such weopon.  Straights snogging in public with their tongue down each other throats may elicit a ‘yuck’ response but this is from straights and gays alike.

On the other hand, I amazes me how extreme is the negativity elicited. Straights are not merely uncomfortable , they are often horrified. Sometimes male to male kissing evokes nasty reactions.  I recall a case of a couple being asked to leave a restaurant simply because they kissed after a toast.  Worse, I know men who were harassed or beaten up from outraged straight men for showing affection in public.

A few years ago there was a commercial made substituting a mother with a deli man. It ends with the ‘wife’ reminding her spouse he hadn’t kissed her good bye. The kiss was a few seconds long. People lost their frekking minds.  Even though the commercial was NEVER AIRED, there was a call for a boycott of the company (Heinz?) just because they had made it.  This much ire, over a kiss, and a humorous one at that.

Affection between men – and public display of such – has long been taboo in Western civilization (I’ll leave the French out of this; their kissing is rather formal and ritualized).  Straight men can high-five, knock fists together or bump chests together like feuding walrus – but they can’t kiss.  Most taboos when broken elict horror and/or disgust. To an outsider the taboo in question seems odd, and the consequences of breaking it even more bewildering.

“Psychology 101” says when something elicts extreme disgust/horror/anger it is because it has touched a nerve. Perhaps as some level straight men are jealous they can’t do this, lest their manhood and sexuality be questioned by their peers and pals?

I think the solution to the matter is simple: kiss in public and kiss often. Perhaps with enough exposure these super-sensitive straights will realize the world doesn’t fall apart when two men kiss hello and good bye, and they will calm down.

I will gladly do my part by volunteering to kiss as many men as possible.

All for a good cause.