I recently stumbled across this edit from “The West Wing” of the relationship between Bartlet and Leo. It’s a fictional relationship brought to life by Sorkin’s superb writing and the remarkable performances of Sheen and Spencer (probably the most important relationship in the whole show), and I defy you not to shed a tear at the portrayal of two men who obviously love each other very much.
It’s one of the few downsides of our modern (and correct) tolerance for homosexuality that we struggle to see strong male relationships in a non-sexual light. Doris Kearns Goodwin in “Team of Rivals” makes this point about Lincoln’s friendships and the fact that many of his letters and his gushing emotional expression towards his male friends seem almost gay in a modern context.
Of course, it is changing, with the phrase “bromance” leading the charge, but as a male friend recently pointed out to me whilst we had lunch together, the women at the table behind us were actively speculating as to our relationship, and whether I was his gay sugar daddy or not.