I was doing my daily browsing of the Internet when I spotted an article titled "Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s Bromance was on Full Display at Guys’ Choice Award."
*cue monster eye roll*
Are we seriously still using the term "bromance?" It's still a thing? It’s 2016! I thought this nonsense ended a few years back?
For those of you who have been living under a rock, let me explain what a "bromance" is. Or better, let’s quote the first sentence from Wikipedia, which actually has a pretty large entry for the term "bromance."
A bromance is a close, emotionally intense, non-sexual bond between two (or more) men.
You may notice something about this definition. It’s literally the definition of friendship: a close, emotionally intense connection between two people (or in the case, men). But men, particularly straight men, have such a fear of being perceived as gay, that they need to qualify it. The reason being, they are conflating sexual connections and emotional connections. They fear that an emotional connection may lead to a sexual desire. This definitely can (and does) happen, but not all the time. In fact, most of the time it doesn't happen, because sexual attraction and emotional connection are two distinct entities. We definitely know this. How many men have you slept with and been like, “Urgh, he’s the worst but I’m so f*cking attracted to him and the sex is amazing.” And how many friends have you had where you thought to yourself, “Yeah, of course I love him, but I love him like a brother,” which is basically just another way of saying you love him platonically.
So the fear, and why people love using the term bromance, is that emotional intimacy will somehow evolve into sex. And sex between two men, well that’s just gay.
The word bromance reeks of homophobia. Men use it because they so desperately fear being perceived as gay. Lord forbid someone thinks they like putting their penis inside another man’s butt. Which is a great segue into another awful phrase coined by straight men: "no homo." Straight men, you know you’re allowed to hug a man without saying no homo. And yes, you can give a man a real hug. None of this, shoulder bump, half-hug bullshit because you’re afraid that in merely hugging a friend, you’ll be perceived as gay. Or worse, you may like it…
What if you pop a boner when hugging a friend? What then?
That’s what I find so fascinating. The men who use the term bromance fear they make actually like it. Yes, I know #notallmen, but screw it, I’ll make the lofty claim. You don’t hear my straight friends calling our relationships bromances. And yes, we sleep in the same bed when they come and visit me. We don’t hook up or do anything, because obviously they’re just my damn friends. But my friends are secure in their masculinity and sexual orientation. They also know better than to believe nasty stereotypes about bisexuals (i.e., we sleep with everything and everyone). So they don’t worry that I’m going to come on to them.
Men should be allowed to have close emotional connections without qualifications. Men are allowed to love one another platonically. They can even express that love with a kiss on the cheek, if they so choose. The same way you kiss family on the cheek, and that too, isn’t sexual.
In my opinion, many straight men are desperate for deep, emotional connections with other men. They’ve been socialized to believe that they don’t need meaningful male connections, or that if they do desire deep connections with other men they’re gay or feminine, but this is ridiculous. We’re all human. Humans need deep connections. We all need platonic love and understanding.
It benefits straight men to change their ideas about masculinity and relationships with other men, and it benefits queer men, because frankly, the underlying homophobia of the term is pretty damn insulting.
So please, everyone. Stop using the word. You’re doing no one a service by perpetuating false ideals of what it means to be a straight man. And only once straight men feel comfortable with their sexuality, will they stop being so damn homophobic.