When two men who are either under 35 or are wearing track suits are very close friends, they are called bros. The anthropology of bros is fascinating. I have studied it in various parts of the United States. These are my findings:
When bros meet, they will slap-shake hands or bump fists and then punch each other in some way. The more punching involved, the closer these two men feel to each other emotionally. Long-lost bros can nearly put each other in the hospital with the physical abuse of their man love.
Bros love to giggle, but it is in the deepest voices possible. If you ask them what they are giggling about and they tell you that you don’t want to know, you DO NOT WANT TO KNOW. Finding out the source of mirth will be a pyrrhic victory.
To be really good bros with someone requires a common interest. The sporty bro needs a fellow who has a couple fantasy teams. The artsy bro may need a cohort who will explore Shakespeare’s different folios with him. The technological bro needs someone who will argue android v. iphone for hours.
Bros of opposing viewpoints can make their friendships survive. Trekkies and Star Wars fans (Star Warriors?) can be bros. Red Sox and Yankee lovers alike can be bros. Jets and Sharks? Mmmmmm, probably the cast members were bros.
Being bros is about finding a connection with a male companion ostensibly free from the drama that male-female interactions often ignite. It’s a way to relate to another person on an intimate emotional level, but in a masculine way. Bros can go to brunch, but only if they are hung over. Bros can go to the movies together, but only if the movie features at least one boob and/or one frat rush hazing session. This rule also applies to movies that are sports-related; the one place it is acceptable to shed tears in front of your bro. Bros can also gossip, but then must act completely disgusted if they hear women gossiping.
Having a bro is crucial. It’s where testosterone can fully take the wheel. A good bro will play video games with you for hours, form a fantasy basketball league (I guess all pro basketball leagues are a fantasy right now…judging eyebrow cast at the NBA), and have your back against a cruel female who has mishandled your heart. Bros are the male versions of BEST FRIENDS (See The Hills or This Blog Post). They are your better and worse half.
Famous Bros Throughout History:
Bill & Ted-Traveling through time, meeting Socrates, dealing with death? Bill and Ted didn’t need the princesses because they had true bro love.
Emerson and Thoreau-Whether Ralph Waldo was learning at the knee of Henry David or the former was introducing the latter to the magic of journalism, we all enjoy a more philosophically aware existence because of their union.
Ancient Roman Bros:
Achilles and Patroclus-These fellow Trojan Warriors became so close that when Patroclus was killed in battle, Achilles smeared his body with ash and fasted. I hope his grief “heeled” quickly.
Shaggy and Scooby Doo-Their love of snacks, fear of ghosts and mutual giggles make these two the quintessential bro duo.