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?
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.
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.
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.