My autistic son is oblivious to cultural mores and he likes to hold hands when he feels really close to and comfortable with someone. One time one of his male teachers took him to a store to practice using a public bathroom (since at 14 I couldn’t exactly take him into the ladies with me any longer). His teacher was a young guy and my son was tall and looked older than he was, but I was so impressed when it somehow came to light that Hugh had grabbed his teacher’s hand on the way into the Walmart, and he didn’t even flinch. He was a punk rocker when he wasn’t being a teacher, so he wasn’t going to take any shit from anyone, but still. I was so impressed with him after that.

A few years ago the woman who works with Hugh during the day took him and her son Evan to look for a desk. She was walking a little bit ahead and her son whispered, “Mom, he’s holding my hand. What should I do?” She told him to just hold Hugh’s hand and so he did. Evan was a big strapping 17-year-old football player, and so I was pretty darn impressed with him as well.

Men are so starved for non-sexual touch in this stupid homophobic culture, and why should anyone care about men holding hands? Thanks for sharing your stories, and congratulations on the new pub.

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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