The Bromance

The mystical Bromance...

The mystical bromance…

I’m excited to talk about this with y’all. Traditionally, “bromance” means a non-sexual relationship of great affection between guys. Think Hangover (the first one, not the sequel, because that was lame); those guys have a bromance. It may even be that the term originated with the movie genre – like “chick flicks” (shudder, no thank you).

Because guys aren’t allowed to have great friends that they love (who decided that?), they can’t call each other “boyfriends” they way straight girls do. As in, the women in Bridesmaids are “girlfriends.” There is no need for them to refer to their socially acceptable relationship of love and affection (again non-sexual) to the other women in the film as a bromance. Double-standard much?

Girls don't get bromances, they have girlfriends...

Girls don’t get bromances, they have girlfriends…

Anyway, recently I was thinking about the cool men in my life. [Other than my dad, of course, who is awesome. Shout out, Dad!] There are some awesome guys that I consider really good friends. Yes, I am a big butch who likes my male friends. I know, your stereotypes are absolutely shattered. I love them; get over it. Some are straight and some are gay. Some have been in my life a while, and others are really new. High school friends, work friends, grown up friends. You know, the people you choose to hang out with? Not just the ones you have to hang out with. You all know who you are…

First, my gays.

I affectionately refer to my gay friends as my “boyfriends.” I realize this might not be very butch, but who cares? They are boys and they are my friends. Boyfriends. There’s no tension here because they are G-A-Y. No threat to their relationships by being friends with me. Indeed, I am even particularly affectionate with my boyfriends, linking arms, the occasional kiss on the cheek. I even let them open the door for me, and *gasp* buy me drinks sometimes. I reciprocate, of course. Don’t judge. It’s ok, I promise. They don’t expect me to put out. SNAP! We talk about fashion, fitness, science, music, movies, our friends from school, drinking, life, you name it. Plus, they are gorgeous and hella buff. The buff part comes in handy when you’ve been drinking too much and want to hold on to someone for balance. Say, in Vegas perhaps?

Now, my straights.

Some men can hold that purse really, really well.

Some men can hold that purse really, really well.

Ahh, my straight male friends… this feels like a particularly interesting situation. It came up last week. I was on a date and we did a dinner cruise of the harbor (yes, I know, you are jealous of how creatively sexy I am, not really). On my way to the bathroom, I passed a big strapping straight guy – let’s call him “Dude” – who was holding his girlfriend’s tiny jeweled purse outside the restroom. I said to Dude as we passed, “Nice job holding that purse, man.” To which, he immediately and easily replied, “Hey Brah, it takes a real man to hold his girl’s purse.” Don’t you love that he said “brah?” Ha ha! I shot back, “Oh, I know, that’s why I mentioned it. Solid.” I went on my way. It was a moment.

A little later, after dinner, when my date and I hit the dance floor, Dude was there with his girlfriend, Amanda. Anyway, me and my date (who is a super hot femme, by the way, and who people were staring at), started dancing. Dude and Amanda were dancing next to us. Dude and I ended up talking, introducing ourselves, and generally having a grand time all night. Thus making me and my date feel more comfortable, which is a nice gift in an uber straight environment. Why is it that Dude and I had such a nice connection? Well, I have a theory. Do you want to hear it? Assuming the answer is yes, I will go on.

The only acceptable way to hug your male friends as a guy - you have to hurt them.

The only acceptable way to hug your male friends as a guy – you have to hurt them.

I think men really want to have friends. They want to have friends that they can be affectionate with – without sex. They want that connection that women want with their girlfriends (non-sexual). You know? Stay up late talking, sharing lipstick tips and inner secrets. But it’s hard for men. Society doesn’t let men do this. So many expectations. Love your friend? Better pound him on the back when you hug him. Really enjoy spending time with your teammate after the game? You’ll have to practically bruise him with the slap on the ass to prove to folks that you are not, in fact, gay. God, it must be hard to be a straight man. I know we get all up in arms about the straight male privilege, and of course there is that (and all those pockets!), but think of all the down sides! No crying. No sharing. No really good friends, without worry of gayness. No fruity drinks. No pineapple on your pizza. Right? Lots of rules for straight men. For Butches too, but less restrictive.

I think that’s the magic. Dude could relate to me as his “brah.” After all  we are both attracted to very feminine women in dresses and heels.  We can both relate to the holding of the purse [I hate it, but will do it.]. We buy the drinks, lead on the dance floor, compliment the outfits, wait and wait and wait for our dates. One look at Amanda’s purse and I know he was ready an hour before her. So much in common. Butches and straight men… it’s a natural bromance. There is no threat of sex or weird expectations like what must be there between straight men and straight women who are friends. No, with us, there is no worry for the significant others of inappropriate touching.

I asked some of you to share your own bromance stories (thank you!). Here are a couple of highlights:

  • He’s my absolute best friend… He called me on being gay and helped me come out.
  • We are so close because of honesty. No bullshit between us. We are straight with each other (seriously.)
  • We like the same things, dude! He likes strip clubs. I like strip clubs. He likes beer. I like beer. It’s a bromance made in heaven!

I know there are more, but I will leave those to you all to add in the comments. Here is my own straight guy bromance entry.

One of my best friends is a straight guy. I’m not even sure he knows that I think of him as one of my best friends … I guess he does now. It’s funny because I’ve known his wife much longer, but I am a little closer (for now, anyway) with her husband who I met not that long ago. She doesn’t have to worry that I will hit on him. Doesn’t have to worry that he will become attracted to me. I get to be his friend (hers, too, of course, but that’s obvious). But, he can tell me he loves me, and I him. How neat is that? I think probably that he doesn’t relate to his male friends in exactly the same way that he does to me. Although, he is pretty evolved, so maybe he does. We get each other in a cool way. He loves women – his wife in particular. And, I love women! We can talk about boobs, and not getting all of our girls’ emotions, our kids, porn, and you know, stuff.

Ahh, the bromance. I love it. Affection, fun, sharing, closeness, and bonding – all without any weird expectations. He doesn’t have to pound me on the back when we hug, and there is no need for a linebacker slap on the ass. I know he’s not gay. He knows I’m not straight. Whether it’s my straight bromances or my boyfriend bromances.

I love my male friends! It’s butch to embrace a bromance if you are lucky enough to have such a bro in your life. Be Butch.

About Tristan Higgins, aka Butch Jaxon

I am a butch. This blog is about what I think. If you do not know what butch means, you are probably on the wrong blog. In the interests of inclusion, though, I can tell you that “butch” means a lesbian that is big, strong, tough, more macho, less girly. Of course, there are no hard and fast rules – which is an ongoing theme in my blog (and in the comments), but those are the basics. A butch will most likely not wear makeup. A butch is often referred to as “sir” by someone who is not paying attention. What else? I am, after all, not just a butch. I am happily married to the most amazing woman ever, and the mother of two fantastic kids. I am also a lover of, in no particular order, beer, bow ties, breasts, movies, hiking, bookstores, travel, dogs, geocaching, polar bears, the gym, music, gadgets, and more. By day, I am an intrepid corporate entertainment lawyer. Although I try hard not to be labeled as such – sporting a bleached Mohawk, for example. Think more entertainment and less corporate. By night, bring it all on! In my blog, I talk about things from a butch perspective, but this is not just for butches. We all love our femmes. Please do not let me offend femmes, mine in particular! If you like what you read here, I hope you will comment and let me know what you think. If you do not like what you read, well, what the hell do I care? Start your own blog. Be Butch. View all posts by Tristan Higgins, aka Butch Jaxon

20 responses to “The Bromance

  • Jay Tilman aka Boobookitty

    very cool… I have ‘straights” too… all smiles


  • Bejai

    I can actually say I ENVY you this (would that be ‘Butch envy’?)! As a straight woman I don’t get to have these relationships. They get predictably weird either between me and the guy, or him and the woman in his life. No kissing, hugs are OK but no body parts involved – straight shoulder hugs with both butts propped out like flagships. Arms across the shoulder (mine) but the not the other way around.
    As for honest talk about real stuff, dream on! That kind of sharing scares the bejesus our of straight men…at least of my generation. If there is no promise of sex, they want no part of the feelings bit. Maybe that’s why straight women like to have gay male friends? Sort of the other side of the coin? Love the way you put things, Butch!


  • Kelly

    Excellent Butch!

    One of the things I love about my straight male friends is there are no expectations. Just enjoying each others company. None of that prickly-ness that happens in any relationship when expectations creep in.

    I have 4 great guys in my life, all very different from each other. One is more on the emotional scale of women and we talk about feelings and deep stuff and hug and say I love you. Two is kinda macho with a huge heart he let’s me see and we do more guy things like drink beer and watch movies and talk about boobs. Three is a combo of the first two and SO MELLOW, I love it so much. A guys guy who has heart and a backbone. Four is well, up there on another scale. The husband of a co-worker/friend of mine, our bromance has been simmering for 11 years. In this past year, it’s really heating up. We work on my motorcycle and truck together……just about as close to orgasming with a straight guy as I will ever get. And he is cool and mellow. I love his wife too, but it is different.

    I consider myself very lucky to have them in my life. With all of them, we can totally not talk and completely understand each other. And that, I have been told, is why they love me. To be able to relax with each other KNOWING there is no hidden agenda like sex.

    Funny side note, I have run into comical ‘problems’ with gay male friends as most tell me they want to have sex with me. Total compliment but there’s that sexual vibe there that changes the friendship.


  • kDevil (@zambezi86)

    I echo much of Bejai’s great response, but from my femme point of view. As a femme who is often dismissed as straight, it’s like being caught in the worst of both worlds. You can’t be overly friendly with most guys because they either assume you are coming on to them or their girlfriend/wife assumes you’re hitting on them (ensue all sorts of drama) or even if he knows you’re a lesbian, he thinks he can ‘turn’ you. Its like some sort of neanderthal challenge.
    So for the most part I am wary of straight men unless I know them well because it’s not worth a lot of the hassle I end up receiving. Which is a shame really because boys can be so much fun to hang out and laugh with in a way some of my female friends can’t, or won’t let themselves. I think Bejai is right with her coined term ‘butch envy’!
    Another great read Butch. Keep ’em coming!


  • WWG

    Love this! I’m a femme lesbian who actually has straight, male friends. How? Because they’re respectful, kind, warm guys – and they also know if they step a toe over the line, they’ll get beaten back over to their side. 😉 A couple of them have offered to sacrifice themselves for the good of mankind if I ever have a dry spell and wanted to, yanno, cure it. *insert rolled eyes here*. I clearly haven’t taken them up on it. Those friends have sort of fallen by the wayside. But the ones who don’t try to jump over the line I consider some of my really closest friends.

    Of course, my mom tries to imbue a romantic overtone to them but I informed her of the rather base and TMI nature of some of our conversations and it became very clear these are NOT romantic conversations in the least! Ha!

    Frankly, I should have known I was gay maaaany years ago because whenever I met a cool guy, my reaction wasn’t “ooh, he’s hot, I want to date him!” It was “we’ve got a lot in common! Cool! We can hang!” It took me a few years to realize that that was NOT the thought in their mind. Oops.

    I like my straight male friends. They really are cool dudes and I think they like that they get a woman to hang with and talk to who isn’t going to suddenly decide she likes them and confuse them. It’s cut and dried – I’m gay.

    I wish I had more gay male friends. Oddly enough, I find those harder to build.


    • Butch Jaxon

      WWG, thank you for sharing your experiences. I can see that it is much different for a femme to have a bromance – especially with a straight guy. Glad no one has been able to “turn you!” – Butch


  • BT

    My straight guy friend is a bad @$$ but he is also the guy that carries a note from 6 years ago that I wrote him in his wallet and his wife doesn’t mind because I’m his butch or as he calls me his Lezbro. It’s awesome because we can stay up all night drinking and talking about the really deep stuff and then I can crash on his couch no issue. He can be sentimental with me and I can talk with him about the ladies…sadly I have no other friends I can do this with. I think Butch nailed this one on the head. Straight guys need a butch bromance and I know I need my straight guy too.


  • Jennifer

    Bah, there is nothing new about “traditionally masculine” women dabbling in a little misogyny now and then.
    Butch, PLEASE.
    When you kvetch about how frilly our purses are, and how we don’t swill beer and how long we take getting ready, you make femme women wonder why we can’t just pack it in and date gay men instead.


    • Butch Jaxon


      Welcome and thank you for commenting. I want to address your comment, especially because I do not think there is a misogynist bone in my women- and femme- loving body. I love frilly purses. I love how my date looks when she gets ready. I love the product of that long prep period. Have you read any of my other posts? I wonder if perhaps this one, focusing so much on my like of my male friends, out of context, has made me look like an ass. If that is the case, I sincerely apologize. Part of the whole gist of this one is that Butches and straight men (or gay men) relate so differently that Butches do to their femmes. I certainly did not mean any disrespect.



  • Heather

    I love this…..


  • DapperZ

    I love hanging out with my bros. I can talk video games, boobs, sci-fi movies with them, and then we can go straight to talking about feelings and what it means to have a girl that you love be all nice to you. Maybe having older brothers helps, but I love having guy friends that I can hang out with. And I think you’re right, there’s something about being friends with a lesbian that is completely non threatening for the guys wife or girlfriend. They know that nothing is going to happen, but also that having a woman in the mix calms down the crazy ‘dude’ one-upsmanship that happens with a gang of guys. My best friend has been that since we were 12. We went out for a while before I came out, so his wife gets the added bonus of saying that she’s sending him out with an ex for the evening! 😉


    • Butch Jaxon


      So cool to have your bromance – and for so long.

      This: “also that having a woman in the mix calms down the crazy ‘dude’ one-upsmanship that happens with a gang of guys.” Such a good point!

      Thanks for sharing!



  • David

    As a straight guy, this post and others have expanded my horizons, my understanding of how I define masculinity for myself. I also liked your post about signals from femmes; hairflips are the classic indicator of interest IME. Great blog. Keep posting. You have an important voice.


  • taryn

    love the article. sissy butch here who gets it, but there’s the other side…ie the invisibility for queer girl/girl relationships when every straight girl calls their female friends their “girlfriend”. nothing annoys the crap out of me more than when straight girls call their female friends “girlfriends” because it makes MY relationships invisible. So if i say “my girlfriend and i went out to dinner,” they will not be able to understand that she is my lover. whereas if any guy said “my boyfriend and i went to dinner”, everyone will get that he’s queer. so it cuts both ways; it sucks that guys have no way to discuss their friendship with each other, but it ALSO sucks that every time i mention my gf, I’m assumed to be some tomboy with a female friend who’s just trying to get her to be a little more femmey, tee hee, instead of someone with whom i exchange orgasms with frequently. any girl who says “i have a boyfriend” is assumed to have penis in her, while any girl who says “i have a girlfriend” is assumed to whine over “men” with said “girlfriend”, rather than screw each other. my new tactic is, whenever girls talk about their “girlfriend”, i ask them how long they’ve been together. you should see the confused expressions i get…followed by the inane giggle and, “um, like, why would you think i’m, like, gaaaay?”


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