I recently watched a documentary about Eugene Debs, which included film of his release from prison in 1921. I was surprised to see that many of the men present greeted him by kissing him on the lips.

Was this practice widespread at the time?

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  • @Denis, this should be an answer, no?
    – Jeremy
    Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 20:13
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    It would need some expanding to be something other than a link-only answer, but it's the most likely explanation IMO. The bit I'm unsure about is how prevalent the use of the socialist fraternal kiss was outside of Russia at the time, hence the mere comment. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable than I am will bite the bullet with relevant sources. Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 20:19

1 Answer 1


I'm going to say it was normal. Probably not "common". It would be normal under highly emotional personal conditions.

The 1927 film Wings included an on the mouth kiss between two male best friends (first same sex kiss in film) as one of the men was dying.

  • I'm literally the only person who has ever answered this question, and you're mad.
    – Joshua
    Commented Mar 11, 2022 at 23:56

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