Dear Friends: American Photographs of Men Together 1840-1918

Do you ever have one of those days where you start to read something, then click a link, then click another link and end up, frequently, far from where you started?  That happened to me today.  I can’t even remember where I started, but I ended up on this article, which is about an interesting concept that a photographer is playing with: he asks two perfect strangers to stand together and touch one another.  How they choose to touch one another, their expressions, etc. are quite interesting.

In that particular article was a reference to an exhibit of old photographs of men who are affectionately embracing.  In other words, the exact opposite poses and expressions you get from strangers.  I am familiar with photos of this sort, as they were common during the Civil War.  In fact, Micah and Anselm’s relationship is based, in part, on descriptions of friendships in Sam Watkins’ book, Co. Aytch, which Sam wrote about his service in the Confederate Army. 

I already know, when I get my books published, people are going to ask, “Are Anselm and Micah gay?” because they are very close and affectionate in ways that modern American men (but not so much men in other countries) are not.  Here, everyone seems to be afraid of being labled as a homosexual if they hug a friend of the same sex (this is much more true among men than women, but I’m afraid it’s getting that way among women too), but in the 19th century, it was not uncommon for perfectly straight men, who were friends, to walk down the street together arm-in-arm (the article explains that during the Victorian Period, especially, there was a lot of emphasis on men and women keeping very separate social circles, so close relationships between the sexes were better able to develop).       

Anselm and Micah have a more Victorian notion of friendship, not to mention they have shared the comraderie of warfare as well.  And, to top it off, vampires in my book are naturally quite affectionate towards one another; they are instinctually attracted to others of their own kind and find physical contact comforting and calming.  So yes, it’s perfectly possible for them to be very close and not be gay; you just have to suspend modern judgment and remember that Anselm and Micah, despite their modern appearance, are still products of a different time and place, and they act accordingly.

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