Today is National Sports Day in Qatar, a public holiday where sport and physical activity is promoted. People were out in force, enjoying the ‘winter’ weather (high of 28 degrees Celsius), walking along the corniche, and enjoying the activities around Doha.

The population of Qatar is only 26% female (Statistics Authority, January, 2013). [Interestingly, even though there are plenty of men to go around, it’s accepted for men to have multiple wives. But that’s a topic for another day.]

Today it certainly felt like I was in the minority.

Groups of men were everywhere, walking arm in arm, hand in hand, fingers interlocked, or arms wrapped around each other while listening to live music. There was a lot of man love. But let me clarify, they are not homosexual. In fact, homosexuality is illegal here, as per Islamic law.

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Holding hands is a sign of friendship or respect among males.

This isn’t the first time I have seen man love, but it is the first time I have seen man love when sober.

New Zealand males do it differently. Add alcohol and suddenly ‘man piles’ occur, and I quickly make my escape before threats of nudity or flashing are carried out. I doubt they would ever hold hands while walking along the beach front.

[Edit: I stand corrected, a NZ male friend was holding hands and skipping through waves on a beach on the weekend.]

It’s also not that acceptable for couples to hold hands in public here, some couples do, but it’s not really the done thing. Groups of women also don’t touch like males do.

What are your thoughts of men holding hands? Men, would you ever hold your mate’s hand in public?

Share your man love moments!

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