As Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen’s joint turn in Waiting for Godot on Broadway came to an end last week, the British thespians went on a PDA-heavy victory lap of New York City sights, documented on Twitter. Wearing their bowler-hat props, they struck intimate poses in front of landmark buildings and at the top of skyscrapers, clinging to each other on the Coney Island Wonder Wheel and walking down the boardwalk hand in hand. It was possibly the cutest social-media marketing campaign ever, and quickly all over the news media, too.
Of course, by then, Stewart and McKellen’s “adorable bromance” was already a burgeoning meme (Picard and Gandalf, holding hands!) covered by a BuzzFeed panel, during which the two played the Newlywed Game. That’s because — for all our talk of bros in this country — platonic-male PDA is still the rarest and most fraught of all social intimacy, which also makes it the most viral.