Male friendships are now viewed with suspicion, but that's a relatively recent development (and has a lot to do with homosexual campaigners like the man slandering Cdl. Newman and Fr. Ambrose St. John - and you ought to see the story in the Daily Mail!)
As C.S. Lewis commented in his book The Four Loves,
To say that every Friendship is consciously and explicitly homosexual would be too obviously false; the wiseacres take refuge in the less palpable charge that it is really unconsciously, cryptically, in some Pickwickian sense homosexual. And this, though it cannot be proved, can never of course be refuted. The fact that no positive evidence of homosexuality can be discovered in the behaviour of two Friends does not disconcert the wiseacres at all: That, they say gravely, is just what we should expect. The very lack of evidence is thus treated as evidence, the absence of smoke proves that the fire is very carefully hidden. . . .
Hrothgar embracing Beowulf, Johnson embracing Boswell (a pretty flagrantly heterosexual couple) and all those hairy old toughs of centurions in Tacitus, clinging to one another and begging for last kisses when the legion was broken up...all pansies? If you can believe it you can believe anything.
Thank you for this!
I remember my university teaching days when I worked in a department that taught the Epic of Gilgamesh to almost every student in the university. The latest fad was to talk about the “homoerotic subtext” of the friendship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu. When I questioned this obvious idiocy, one of my colleagues - a flaming liberal - said, “Well, the text says that Gilgamesh loved Enkidu.” To that I responded, “Yes, and it also says Gilgamesh loved his sword. That doesn’t me he had sex with it.”
Not surprisingly the conversation ended on that point. I love it when that happens.