Hugs

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So my daughter, age 10, is big into Bop Magazine. Which means, by extension, I’m sorta into Bop Magazine. Which is weird, because I’m almost 42, and I can tell you what show Debby Ryan appears in, and why Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato are no longer BFFs, and how Bella Thorne has hair issues. Or, ahem, something along those lines.

Anyhow, the best thing about Bop is the boy band hugs—a phenomenon that, oddly, seems to go overlooked by the general population. To explain: When boy bands pose for photographs, they hug. It’s a guarantee, and comes with, oh, every fourth or fifth group picture. They’re not merely hugs, however. They’re bro hugs. As in—”We’re all super-cool close, like bros, so check out this pose of the guys with their arms around one another!” In some of the images, everyone’s smiling. In others, the looks are more goofy—like, “Can you believe these crazy dudes?” Sometimes, the hugs come with relatively straight faces, like the above image. The One Direction fellas are conveying the message that, “We’re hugging, but we’re also serious about the music. Oh, and your 17-year-old daughter wants to fuck us.”

Wait. Scratch the last line, because I’m guessing 17-year-old girls have moved beyond Bop. But you get the point. It’s about the hugs. Which is funny, because while the Backstreet Boys used to hug …

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 12.07.14 AM… and the New Kids used to hug …

The New Kids on the Block… and O-Town used to hug …

the_boys_of_otown… and even *Nsync used to hug (without shirts, inexplicably) …

nsync… I would have never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever been caught dead hugging my friends when I was a teenager. When I say never, I mean—literally—never. I can’t imagine any situation where Gary Miller, Dennis Gargano, Jonathan Powell, Scott Choy and I would—while walking down the street—decide to wrap arms around one another and start pointing awkwardly, or making oddball faces. It just wasn’t done. And, even now, I would never think to wrap my arms around a bunch of the neighborhood guys and pretend we’re besties.

Why? Because normal people don’t do that shit. And normal people also don’t have image handlers and photographers screaming at them during Bop photo shoots to, “Have fun! Be buddies! Goof around!”

For this, I say, “Praise Jesus.”

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