“Girls can wear jeans and cut their hair short, wear shirts and boots, because it’s OK to be a boy,” Charlotte Gainsbourg’s Julie plainly states in the movie The Cement Garden. “But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading.”
What she was getting at is that masculinity is a tricky, fragile thing. Society has drilled into our heads for so long that it’s not OK for a man to show feminine traits — and that very much includes doing or feeling anything vaguely romantic or sexual towards another man.
That’s why the concept of a straight man touching another man anywhere brings forth weird, confusing feelings for a lot of people — but two hosts are trying to combat those feelings.
“Men are not allowed freedom and flexibility with their sexuality,” Bria and Chrissy said to MTV News in an email. “They feel they must obey what societies standards of what ’normal’ hetero behavior is.”
Bria and Chrissy are totally right: When asked where it’s appropriate to touch a man — any man — the volunteers replied with relatively chaste answers, saying that “shoulder pats” and “handshakes” were the only acceptable contact that men should make with one another.
One volunteer for the experiment actually requested that his image be pixelated, saying his job would be threatened if his face appeared in the video. Because of the way our society works in relation to sexuality, he’s probably right about that.
See how the experience changed these four straight men below.