Are we done using the term “bromance” yet? It’s reductive, possibly insulting and more than anything a little too on-the-nose. While our generation came up with a clever portmanteau for the concept, male-bonding hasn’t appreciably changed since cavemen congratulated each other on a successful hunt and went halfsies on a piece of mind-altering rotten fruit.
Maybe we kept some of our feelings on the DL between the invention of agriculture and the invention of fiber-optics but the equation hasn’t changed much. While conventional wisdom typically paints male socializing as simple, there are a few things that most women have a hard time wrapping their minds around when it comes to the coarser s*x. Here are ten things you just don’t get about male friendships:
1. Sometimes we hug without our shirts on.
In fact, your guy can do a lot of very familiar things with his best buds without risk of becoming aroused. Or at least visibly aroused. (Kidding!)
2. Every once in a while, we’d rather do dude stuff with a friend than s*x stuff with you.
You’re beautiful. You’re s*xy. We think about being on you CONSTANTLY, but periodically we’d rather kick it with an old brosef. I feel like I should make a point that’s not expressly homoerotic pretty soon here.
3. Dudes generally require traumatic events to take our bonding past acquaintance level.
Think football practice, college, ‘Nam — and we don’t bump into many of those opportunities into adulthood. Our boyz are our boyz.
4. Much in the same way it’s hard to ever escape the dreaded friend zone, our social order if pretty stagnant.
Even if a guy has an epiphany and becomes a monk, his buddies will always remember that time he open-mouth kissed a statue of Susan B Anthony.
5. If two guys “dated” the same girl any interplay between the two men is hilarious for the rest of their friends.
It can get ugly if they knew each other before this dating took place but it will be bring great joy to their other friends nonetheless.
6. Unless someone gets seriously hurt or it was over something very serious, we can fist-fight and then have beers 45 minutes later.
Around my 32nd birthday, an unprovoked punch-in-the-jaw turned into a wrestling match turned into the kind of absurd laugh session I haven’t had since.
7. Crafting an insult is a fine art.
Go too far and it could result in a fist-fight. Go not far enough and you’re now the object of ridicule. Some men do catch feelings, but the rest of us like to laugh at each other so much that we’re OK being the target here and there. “Taking the piss” is as intrinsically male as taking a pee standing up.
8. Dudes can go months (years!) without talking to each other and it’s right back to talking about that time you guys drove overnight to see a Garbage concert only you went to the wrong Carolina.
In the same way that we expect you not to change, we count on each other not to change too much. It helps the world make sense and staves off the dread of mortality.
9. Some of our best quality time involves — if not passive entertainment — at least passive communication.
Men invented golf so they weren’t just walking around the grass drinking Coors Light. We can hang out for 6 hours, never talk about anything and there’s never an awkward silence.
10. Our friendships run the same gamut of social dynamics as yours. We just have better names for everything.
You say, “concerned for,” we say, “dude, what’s up?” You say, “jealous,” we say “competitive.” You say, “I missed you,” we say, “I haven’t seen you in a minute.”
Please don’t try to understand snowflakes or the Northern Lights or narwhals or male friendships, just know that they exist and they’re beautiful.