The summer before my first attempt at 8th grade, I’ve fondly referred to as my last summer as a boy. I spent it at my grandfather’s house on the outskirts of Philly, riding bikes and catching frogs with my friends, every one of which was a boy. My best friend, Mike, lived across the street. Every morning, one of us would show up at the others door and we would disappear until the streetlights came on. There was never the slightest hint of a flirtation between us or any mention at all, for that matter, that I was a girl. Not by him or by the gaggle of prepubescent dirt bike riders we met up with every day. It was probably the best summer of my life.
The following summer I returned with a pair of perfect C’s and, consequently, tighter t-shirts. The first thing I did was go knock on my friend’s door. He answered with his arm around a very cute blond girl, and told my breasts he’d give me a call and we’d catch up. My relationship with boys was never the same. But I can say, in all honesty, that I understand the camaraderie between two men facetiously referred to as “bromance.”
This summer was spent with three of my four kids, the two youngest are teenagers, the youngest of those two, my only daughter. She has always been a girl. I am far and away from the onset of puberty, although I still ride a bike occasionally. I have learned to develop close bonds with members of my own gender that rival that of my prepubescent summer bromance, but my best friend in the whole world is my husband. Not just in a sappy romantic way, although we are disgustingly in love. We don’t just “spend time,” we hang out and bust each others balls (so to speak.) It took me three husbands to find a guy that could be my buddy. There is no one I would rather ride bikes and catch frogs with than my husband.
That being said, he still has his guy friends that I will playfully, yet somewhat ruefully, refer to as his “girl friends.” I’ve gotta admit, I get a little jealous. Not because my husband is talking to his friend. It’s more like because I want to be included. But other guys just don’t get me, for the most part. I guess I’m just glad I found one that did, and I’d like to think that I can attribute finally finding and marrying my best friend to the friendships I experienced that last summer I was a boy.
I am very lucky in my relationship with my future wife. I romance her in the normal ways; fancy dinners and Broadway shows, bottles of wine and quiet nights of jazz. She reciprocates by bromancing me.
That catch you off guard? “What do you mean that she ‘bromances’ you,” you are wondering.
When the word bromance is invoked, the initial view is of two guys that are inseparable because of some ‘manly/boyish’ things that they do. It’s uttered with a negative slant, as if it’s immature and indulged with some distaste.
The root of the word and concept is romance, a commodity usually reserved for females in the traditional male-female sexual relationship.
Romance is, the work between the sex that keeps a loving relationship working. It is the candlelit dinner, the boombox in the rain (Say Anything), or serenade of a poem (So I Married an Axe Murderer) that re-affirms an emotional bond.
Why isn’t romance a two way street? We have, in society, so many romantic events: Prom, weddings, valentine’s day, engagements, etc… Notice the common thread between all of these occasions? Each one is about men serving the woman, giving her the affirmation, providing her with what she wants to feel special.
It’s time that men received reciprocal bromance. Maybe a prom type event where everyone wears battle armor and has a Braveheart type battle with Nerf weaponry? How about a night at Medieval Times restaurant where he gets to dress as the king and have you dressed as his queen?
A little absurd? Sure, but so is a night dedicated to women dressing like princesses and receiving the perfect, magical evening with limos and roses. It doesn’t all have to be this way. There’s practical bromance as well.
My future wife will take me to get wings and beers and watch Monday Night Football. She’ll sit through the Simpsons marathon with me or leave me alone to play video games for hours on end. It is romance, but framed in the mind of a man’s desires.
So ladies, don’t look at bromances as some childish thing between your man and his drinking buddy. Take some cues and provide him with some bromance.
As a man, it is important that I interact with others of my kind. When two men get very close, other people sometimes get intimidated by their intimacy. They call it a bromance. They mock the men and assault their manhood by comparing them to a romantic couple.
There is nothing wrong with a man being close friends with another man. Here’s why…
Every Hero Has a Sidekick
Life is a series of events and choices. Shared experiences make us feel connected to other people along the way. It’s fun to do things, but more fun with a close buddy by your side. You can do anything together, from video games to picking up chicks. Your bro will ride shotgun and split a 6-pack as well as trade music and everything else. When I look back at my life thus far, I am proud of the bromances I’ve shared and the things we did together. It’s a large part of who I am and I’m very grateful to have so many close male friends along the way.
There’s No Bull
A bro will call you on your shit. He’s not worried about offending you. You can get away with some things with some friends… not with your bro. He knows you well enough to say, “c’mon man, really?” He’s been there through everything. He knows you almost as well as you know yourself. He can step in before you do something embarrassing. Sometimes he chooses not to, just for fun. When you make an important decision he is there to remind you of your track record and help you analyze your options in a different light.
Men Can Cry
There are things that make us smile, laugh, and high-five each other. We are often seen standing around the keg with visors on, laughing while the guys throw the girls in the pool. There are also sad times in life and it helps to have a guy by your side who will say, “It’s ok man. Let it out.” Bros share good times and bad, and they are always there for each other. I’ve slept on my bro’s couch for weeks and he’s slept on mine. That’s how it goes. When he’s down on his luck, the beers are on me. It’s only fair. He did the same for me.
Wear your man-hat proudly and let your bromance flourish. You’ll be glad to have the company, the ear, the shoulder, and a best friend to share it all.