I spotted this in the Guardian education section over breakfast and thought “I’ll blog on that later”. Since then, the whole blogosphere seems to have picked up on this story and I am therefore a little late to the party. Just in case you have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m talking about the ‘Research Notes’ story in today’s Guardian which considers the question: ‘Why are more and more straight men locking lips in public – and does it mean the end of homophobia?’

Are they? I’m clearly hanging around the wrong places was my first thought. My second was how might I entice Michael Socha into such an exercise? The story begins by providing the background: When two students asked Eric Anderson, a sociology lecturer at Bath University’s department of education, if he had heard of the game “gay chicken”, he shook his head. “I had no clue what it was,” he says. “So they showed me.” The students – both men – went in to kiss each other.

This does not happen in my classes, but I may add it to the syllabus next year. He interviewed 145 students, a mixture of men studying sports-related subjects and every third man who left the library on a particular day, from two different universities, plus other male students from a sixth-form college. The results of his survey showed 89% of the polled men saying they were happy to kiss another man on the lips through friendship. And almost 40% added that they had engaged in “sustained kissing, initially for shock value, but now just for ‘a laugh’.”

According to the Guardian, Anderson is now moving his research on to cuddling. “Last week, I was talking to my second-year students about two straight men cuddling; they laughed, ‘what’s the big deal about that’,” he says. “I polled them, and found that 14/15 said they had spooned another man, in bed, sleeping all night long. Gone are the days in which men would rather sleep on the floor or head to toe; not only do they share beds and cuddle, but they are not homosexualised for this.”

Heaven knows what will happen if he ever spots a guy getting a blow job. Read the full story here.

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