So apparently Misha Collins has a really interesting idea of personal space. Moggie tripped over that one on YouTube a while back and ended up laughing so hard she forgot about air and started making the kinds of noises one might expect to get out of an emotionally-distressed pterodactyl. This is not particularly uncommon when he does panels, and most of the cast let him get away with it all. the. time. It is widely agreed to be charming and hilarious, and makes it well worth turning up to basically any event where they let him talk to other people.

There's another one where someone asks him if he and Castiel have any character traits in common, and he decides to give her a demonstration of Cas' total obliviousness when it comes to interpersonal distance by getting within about a foot of her while waffling on. I don't think this is the only version of this you can find online, but nobody's got a particularly good vantage point on the other side of the auditorium, where she's standing; she sounds like she's about to blush herself to death, but he's obviously joking, and I don't think he actually touches her.

Collins tells her, essentially, that Castiel's habit of getting disconcertingly close to people is derived from a similar thing that used to get him complained at a lot when he was younger. I don't think he's kidding. The clip is striking, because as much as he's all over his castmates, that's the first time I've seen him do it to a stranger. (I presume. She may not be. Collins is apparently quite good at catching names and faces if he's run into someone a time or two. It's pretty common to hear him tease people he recognizes, when they step up to ask their second or third panel question in the same con.) He really doesn't do that to people he doesn't know -- more relevantly, he doesn't show any signs of asking for it, either verbally or implicitly with gestures or distance-testing.

On the other hand, I've seen enough fan photos on tumblr now to know that the second someone asks him for something that does involve cuddling up, he jumps at it -- literally, in at least one case, of a lady who asked him if he'd let her husband pick him up in a bridal carry as if she'd been "usurped". He's either very trusting or has a very good contextual danger sense, as these are all snap judgments about getting close to people he's just met. Probably the latter; weird kids tend to develop one, if only in the interests of self-preservation.

Who he does ask are his friends. A lot. Jensen Ackles is particularly interesting to watch; he's got a similarly close friendship with Jared Padalecki, but Padalecki's more into horsing around than he is being cuddly, and therefore so is Ackles. It's entirely adaptive behavior, and Ackles is specifically adapting to the way Collins wants to interact. I don't know how long it took to get from "the new guy is kind of weird" to "the new guy is just really into hugs", but Ackles is pretty damn sharp; I would hazard a guess that at some point, he picked up on whatever Collins wasn't letting himself do, and just started it himself, as he is clearly cool with having his buds all up in his personal space.

(I can't quite work out when this was, unfortunately. I can find limited footage of them together at the first few cons, and Collins is uncharacteristically reserved; I have no idea whether this is because he's not sure where the limits are, or just that he's not quite used to the five hundred screaming fangirls yet, and isn't sure what's acceptable to get up to on stage. Don't worry -- he learned PDQ. Collins and Ackles are generally allotted their panels together these days, probably because when left to their own devices they tend to hang on each other and launch into improv comedy. So not kidding.)

What's asking look like? Mostly like this. And this. This. Essentially, he's hanging well within the personal space of someone from whom he has prior permission, and trusting that the response will be touch or attention of some sort. Lately this isn't all that unusual, but it's partly turned into a game for cameras. Collins isn't particularly shy about any of this -- he's trying to get the paper back, for the full story look up 'résumé battle' on YouTube -- but the two of them have figured out that it makes everybody scream when they're openly affectionate, and if it's fun for all, why bother with restraint? Ackles responds pretty normally to getting pet in public; he notices, looks over, goes 'oh it's you, that's cool then', and goes back to what he was doing.

Collins doesn't. He doesn't even check, which means either that he doesn't care who it is or that knows it's Ackles behind him without looking, likely the latter. Normally the joke here would be that dudes don't paw each other and it would go on until one of them got bored or cried uncle, but the game with these two is that nobody's objecting, and that's still unusual enough to get attention. The way Ackles steps right up behind his chair and leans on his shoulder looks pretty genuine and intimate to me; there are probably not a lot of people bold enough to do that to Misha Collins without the benefit of prior acquaintance. Collins doesn't bother turning around until he stops, and then mostly to give him an 'aw, where're you going?' look.

The Snuggle Wars here have apparently been going on for a while now, and occasionally someone like Jim Beaver gets dragged into their attempts to make one another (or more likely, whoever's trying to interview them) lose it on camera. One of the more charming things about it is that it seems to please them, even beyond the shrieking it provokes: Both Collins and Ackles always respond by smiling like it's pleasant, rather than cackling like it's absurd, and they start before they look over and get a reaction from whoever is talking at them from off camera.

Also mildly hilarious is that both of them wear very obvious wedding rings, which as it happens show up quite well while they're pawing each other. I don't know anything about Danneel Ackles, other than the cast-family seemed happy to adopt her and she is therefore probably cool as hell, but I'd hazard a guess that Collins' missus thinks this is an endearing personality trait. If she didn't, she'd have been his girlfriend for like three hours back when they were in high school, and definitely wouldn't still be around twenty-mumble years later.

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