Men in Love

The new word for the spring of 2009 is “bromance” (sometimes also known as a man crush). Okay, it’s not exactly a new word, but it just suddenly seems to be used everywhere.

The editor of the Big Brother skateboard magazine apparently coined the word in the 1990s to describe the cosy male relationships that develop between skaters (sk8rs) who spend a lot of quality time together.

It’s combo of the words “brother” and “romance”. (Combination words like this, incidentally are known as a portmanteau, in the world of linguistics). Bromance is defined as a close, but non-sexual relationship between two men – homosocial intimacy.

I just started hearing it a lot since the I Love You Man movie was released, though there have been plenty of Hollywood bromance movies before this. There’s also an MTV reality show called Bromance, starring Brody Jenner.

Movie and TV bromantic couples talk about their feelings, hug a lot, cry a bit, tell each other they love each other, are often more loyal and committed to each other than they are to the women in their lives.

Outside of Hollywood though, do bromances actually exist? For sure I’ve known women who have a bond like that, but I’m not sure I’ve ever known guys who were that close. I’ve known some heterosexual guys who seemed to have big crushes on other guys, but it never developed into a relationship.

It was facinating to watch though.

If you’re a guy,  have you ever had a bromance or crushed on another guy in a platonic sort of way? And, women, how do you feel about men, specifically your man, being emotionally intimate with another man?



26 responses to “Men in Love

  1. Being a woman, all this sounds sooo familiar. Is there any such thing as “sismance”?
    After all the studies behind the “Tend and Befriend” theory, I think men have nothing to lose and a lot to gain from “bromance”. Intimacy with others seems to be a tough issue when it comes to men.
    Do tell me this goes deeper than sharing drinks and dirty jokes…

  2. “talk about their feelings, hug a lot, cry a bit, tell each other they love each other, are often more loyal and committed to each other than they are to the women in their lives”

    Xup… are you sure you are not talking about latino friendship? Becuase ti sounds a lot like that to me… And you bet I know about it!

    Have a great day!

  3. I have mixed feelings about this whole “bromance” thing. I mean, its great if your man has a close friend who he shares personal things with and enjoys his company. But if it becomes TOO intense and obsessive, its really not good for the relationship he has with his lady.

  4. My husband doesn’t have any close friends. I guess he gets his male-bonding time out at work with his co-workers. He claims he prefers to spend his free time with me, but actually he prefers to spend his free time playing video games. He’s not big on watching sports or hanging out in bars, so if he actually had a male friend, I imagine the guy would be more of a golf buddy. And I’m sure there’d be no hugging.

  5. Talk about their feelings?
    You mean like when we discuss how much it hurt when we sprained our ankle, etc.
    Real men don’t have feelings and don’t eat quiche.
    And crying? Only at exceptional moments like if the Leafs win the cup again.

  6. Patsy – Hi. Welcome to the blog. Oh ya, bromance is a lot more substantial than a few drinks and dirty jokes. It’s a friendship like women have with their very close friends. I guess we don’t need a special word though because it’s just normal. Interesting how the genders are so vastly different in their friendships, isn’t it?

    TTP – Excellent point. This whole bromance thing only works for the North American or British male – men in most other cultures are much more emotionally evolved.

    Hannah – No one is saying the relationship has to be obsessive – just the same sort of thing you would have with your best female friend – sharing joys and disappointments, bucking each other up when needed, cheering each other on when victorious; sharing thoughts, feelings, details of your life; crying on their shoulder. Men in this culture don’t seem to have that and it’s still seen as a little weird.

    Geewits – No hugging on the golf course? What if someone makes a really good shot? Don’t they jump up and down and hug each other even then? What is someone completely screws up? Don’t the other guys put their arms around him and tell him “good try, buddy”?

    Bandobras – You talk to the guys about a sprained ankle? What a wuss. Don’t they laugh at you? I thought a guy actually had to lose a foot or something before he mentioned it to another guy.

  7. I have always found most men to be terrifically boring. Even in the case of someone who I am not attracted to, I would much rather befriend or converse with a woman.

  8. Ok, I have a bromance, though I’d prefer to call it something else like “Manraderie” or “Testostiship.” And watch this: I found your article to be “Portmantabulous.”

  9. My husband has this sort of relationship with his guitars. Does that count?

    (Oh and thanks for the directions BTW – but I am deeply disappointed that you are not planning to meet us off the plane bearing beer and poutine!! 😉

  10. I voted yes, but I guess my vote would actually be between Yes and Meh.

    I wouldn’t mind it at all, nor would I find it strange but without the enthusiasm of Yes (I’d LOVE it) vote.

    I guess basically what I’m saying is I have no problem with it one way or another.

    Am I making any sense here at all?

  11. Milan – I kind of agree with you. There are a few men I know that I can have an interesting conversation with, but on the whole I prefer talking to women, too.

    Mayopie – You are a very cunning linguist.

    Raino – I don’t see why it needs to be a fight. If he’d rather be with someone else, let him go. But there’s no reason why a guy can’t have a best friend, is there? It doesn’t need to be threatening to your relationship. And if it does get to that point then you and all women have lost him a long time ago anyway.

    Loth – I would, but I’m working that day, trying to clear my desk so I can be at your disposal for the rest of your visit.

    Jazz- It’s kind of sad that men can’t have best friends like women do, isn’t it? Of course a lot of grown women don’t have best friends anymore either. And ya, you’re making perfect sense.

  12. We only talk about sprains strains and other inconsequential things in order to have something to laugh about.
    It’s like playing the straight man in a comedy duo.
    Of course we’re all straight all the time but you know what I mean.

  13. I have had some friends who I was totally close with but a “BROMANCE”?
    And the feelings that I am willing to share with a “bro” pretty much come down to the following.
    “Would you bang her?”
    The only time I want to share a feeling is when I am with a woman and that feeling can be summed up in 2 words: Simultaneous orgasm

  14. Oh man. The bromance. Do I ever have experience with this! Bromance is all the rage with the youngsters, and I honestly believe it’s more than just some trend. Now that traditional gender roles are breaking down, and more women have non-sexually charged friendships with guys, bromances are becoming more and more common.

    For example: at my university, there is a small wing of residence that is all-male. These guys are a sociologist’s dream. They’re affectionate with each other, protective of each other, and genuinely care about the well-being of their friends. These guys hug, they kiss (on the forehead or top of the head, mostly), they cuddle, they spoon, they tickle, they play-fight, they actually fight – all the things I’ve been doing with my girl friends since I was born. There is a huge bromance going on, and it’s been received with admiration and respect.

    In response to your poll, I think bromances are a good way of knowing whether or not your guy has the emotional capacity to be committed to you, and emotional intimacy should be encouraged.

    Bring on the bromances! They’re adorkable!

  15. Bandobras – I guess it’s best to keep things like “feelings” and “thoughts” tightly packed away when you’re with another guy just in case something accidentally pops out and you turn gay.

    Lebowski – I’m assuming you write all this crap in the character of “Lebowski” because I’m pretty sure that not even the most primitive of males actually thinks like this. I get that this is a way for you to vent all your anti-humanity feelings, but it would be nice to hear from YOU once in a while, too.

    Mrawzors – I see a lot more of this sort of thing with younger guys, too. I hope it signals a new trend in male relationships and, as you say, male-female relationships. Wouldn’t that be a boon? As I mentioned previously, in other cultures men have been like this with each other forever — of course that didn’t translate into their relationships with women interestingly enough. Best case scenario, both men and women will discover that emotional intimacy doesn’t depend on just a spouse, but a whole range of male and female friendships – less pressure on spousal relationships = better spousal relationships.

    Jobthingy – I want to know what you voted? Is your guy in a bromance? How do you feel about it? Or how would you feel about it?

    Pinklea – I think that’s called an automance or carmance.

  16. Never been that close with another dude. I have a female friend like that, but not a guy one. Maybe that’s something I need to work on!

  17. personally, i can only rarely maintain a truly platonic friendship with males other than the one i already sleep with. a *really close* relationship with another guy would necessarily threaten any intent on my part to be monogamous, because i find most men energy-sapping, or at least irritating. in the rare case that’s not true, and i enjoy a guy’s company on the deep personal level i require of friends, my mind naturally considers him for fucking.

    i don’t think my way of seeing things is the only way, but judging by the rates of adultery and divorce, i don’t think i’m exactly a rare bird, either.

    if hetero men can’t have close friendships with other men, and women like me can’t be friends with them, who could they have close friendships with? women who like them but don’t consider them fuckable for some reason? that sounds kinda depressing.

    ‘bromance’ is a highly stupid-sounding word, but if it makes guys feel okay with being close to their guy-friends, it’s a-ok with me. i wish my sweetie had more bros to hang with sometimes, so when he was frustrated or upset about something, he could take it out on someone other than me.

    it’s very american, obsessions with orientation, or manliness. the puritanical mind-set can not go out of fashion soon enough.

  18. Chris – It’s sad, really that men in our culture don’t have the same sorts of friendships that women can have.

    AuntieHallie – Maybe the next generation of men will be more open to bromance (which, yes, is a really stupid word). I think you have to be attracted on some level to anyone that you are good friends with – men and women. If you’re a hetero female, the fact that you’re attracted to another woman doesn’t translate into sexual desire whereas it will with a male. Once you both can get past the idea that the attraction doesn’t have to be consommated, then you can be friends.

    Alison – Oh dear. So he was actually in a cheatin’dogmance?

  19. I would only have a problem with my boyfriend having a bromance if this relationship detracted him from the amount he told me about his feelings, and how much he loved me. I have no problem with him loving his male friends, I think that is very nice in fact =)

  20. Aziza – Ya, well if he’s more intimate and in love with his male friend than with you then it’s probably not a good relationship anyway. But I agree. I would be nice for men to have some emotional bonds.

    Noha – Yes he does or yes you think it would be nice if he did?

  21. the bromance thing is funny to me, and it wouldn’t bother me a bit. in some ways, i see it as an opening for heterosexual men being able to be close friends without the fear of ridicule of people thinking they are gay.

    back in the old days (like abraham lincoln old days), from what i’ve gathered men were much closer to each other and would travel together and sleep in the same beds.