Video: 'The man crush'
updated 6/30/2005 11:17:50 AM ET 2005-06-30T15:17:50

Love is in the air. No, not Tom and Katie or Brad and Angelina, we're talking about Bill and George. 

The former presidents' friendship is perhaps the most public example of a recent entry into the urban dictionary, the "man crush." 

Well, you've seen it before -- think Ben Affleck and Matt Damon -- you just didn't know what to call it.

On Wednesday, MSNBC's Alison Stewart was joined by Michael Musto of The Village Voice to figure out the perimeters, the meaning and the mystery of the "man crush."

To read an excerpt of their conversation, continue to the text below. To watch the interview, click on the video link above.

Alison Stewart: Michael, this term, the "man crush," how would you define it?

Michael Musto: Well, I think it started way back with the Rat Pack or possibly even before that.  It's just when men -- even straight men -- are able to bond with each other, let their defenses down and show their feeling and even crush on each other's power and creditability without worrying what people are going to say about it.

Stewart:  So it really isn't a romantic thing, it's something between two heterosexual men?

Musto:  It could be any type and sometimes I'm wondering if it could be more than just mutual appreciation going on. But generally, it's really something across the board where men just kind of bond even if they're complete opposites.  Though I really think this trend went too far when Bono announced that Jessie Helms was his best friend.

Stewart:  We see it a lot in politics, we mentioned both the former presidents and current President Bush and Joe Lieberman are known to share a little something special. At this time last year, the Democratic ticket, John Kerry and John Edwards, those two had their hands all over each other.  They had a buddy-buddy relationship.  What is it about politics and "The Man Crush" that makes it so prevalent?

Musto:  It's something like, 'We're so opposite and so don't belong together, so let's do it!'  Opposites attract even when it's just a platonic friendship.

In the case of Dubya and Lieberman, Lieberman is a moderate progressive and they don't belong together but were caught hugging at a public event and that made it right onto the Internet.  People were saying 'Joe and Dubya sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.'  Not true. 

But in the case of Dubya, Sr. and Clinton, it was the tsunami that brought them together.  A world crisis could even bring Bennifer back together.

Stewart:  Can a man crush go wrong?  Can you have a breakup?

Musto:  Of course any friendship can have a break up. In the case of Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn, I think if Vince Vaughn becomes bigger than Ben Stiller, that will be the end of that.

Actually with Matt (Damon) and Ben (Affleck), they're not as close as they used to be.  They used to be two kids with a dream. They went to the Academy Awards and then Matt became a real movie start and Ben did "Gigli."

I think they will always have a bond where they will call each other for favors.  They'll never be as tight as when they were on an even keel. 

Stewart:  Is this sort of an outgrowth of metrosexuality, the emotional equivalent, the opposite for men just to let they're feelings be known?

Musto:  Absolutely.  Straight men now feel it's ok to wax their legs.  They can also let their feelings show. As you know, "Sex and the City" is gone and the shows now are  "Deadwood" and "Entourage," which are shows about groups of men fighting from time to time but really loving each other.

MSNBC Live with Amy Robach and Randy Meier can be seen weekdays from 9 a.m.-Noon.

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