Forest and Bubba. Batman and Robin. Seth and Evan from Superbad. Bush Jr. and Saudi Arabia’s Prince Abdullah. Can you guess what all of these relationships have in common? They can all be characterized as bromances, a term that has come to describe male-male friendships that hover somewhere between the platonic and the romantic. The term, which is a portmanteau combining the words “brother” and “romance,” has its roots in the ’90s hit television series Big Brother, but has since been widely featured throughout popular culture, with MTV even running a mini reality television series called Bromance in early 2009. However, one need not look all the way to Hollywood or the White House to find examples of this rising relationship trend.
Here at the College, the incidence of bromance has been growing steadily, permitting the social phenomenon to escape its past “behind-closed-doors” stigma and allowing it to become part of the everyday social scene. As dudes are becoming increasingly comfortable with their sexuality, it is only natural that they are feeling more secure and consequently more willing to express their nonsexual attraction to other men.
Prominent Williams males such as Bryan Borah ’11 and Andrew Gaidus ’11 are sincere and open about their bromance. “I love his New Jersey charm, but above all else I love his hair,” Borah related to me. “When we first met as first-years, I noticed his long and flowing hair in a group, and was immediately impressed.” The two sophomores share a suite in Gladden C and plan on doubling together next year in Perry. Widely recognized for riding their tandem bike to class together, Borah added that when he’s on the bike with Gaidus, he gets a feeling that’s hard to explain, like “everyone that sees us is just so jealous.” When I asked whether he thought dating could potentially come between his relationship with Gaidus, Borah answered definitively, saying, “No, I think that our relationship transcends the typical college dating scene.”
While they may be slightly less candid about their relationship, first-year hoop players Brian Emerson ’12 and Marcus Wells ’12 are likewise engaged in a classic case of bromance. “Because of their features and the fact that they’re always together, Coach [Maker] likes to call them Ã¢â‚¬ËœSalt-N-Pepa,’” James Wang ’12, another first-year on the basketball team, told me. Wells, who hails from California and spent Thanksgiving at the Emerson home in the outskirts of Boston, even noted that Emerson’s mother has taken a particular interest in him. “His mom absolutely loves me,” Wells relayed. “She calls me Ã¢â‚¬Ëœhun’ and has given me multiple rides to the airport.” The two first-years aren’t the only bromances on their hoop squad however. “I think we probably have the most bromantic team on campus,” Emerson said, before listing a series of upperclassmen bromances within the team. “The way I look at it, there’s nothing wrong with a little bromance,” Wells stated. “In fact, I think that it takes a real man to have a bromance.”
Think being on the same athletic team is a recipe for bromance? Imagine being in the same a cappella group, both being JAs in Mission and majoring in the same academic discipline, all on top of being members of the varsity crew team together. Bromantics Chris Ting ’10 and Crosby Fish ’10 are involved in so many of the same activities that one might imagine competition between the two to be inevitable. The two are overwhelmingly complimentary though, with Fish praising Ting’s “booming bass voice” and Ting commending Fish’s “Herculean physique” during the interview. The two are together so often that last year, despite the fact that Asian Ting and Caucasian Fish could hardly look less alike, students managed to mistake them for each other. “We do spend a lot of time sitting together and tend to share the same mannerisms,” Ting relayed. In spite of the excessive time that they spend together, both juniors find time to devote to their actual significant others. “If anything, our girlfriends just add to the bromance, giving us even more things to bond over,” Fish said. “We’re comfortable blowing each other off [he quickly rephrases to make his meaning more clear]. I mean, we could not see each other for like three days, and we’d be fine, it’s just natural.”
Perhaps the most heartwarming bromance on campus though is that between football players Scott Sobolewski ’10 and Nick Caro ’10. “When I saw his scrawny, gangly legs jogging out there to kick field goals, I knew I had to make him my roommate ASAP,” Caro recollected. When Caro suffered a severe leg injury earlier this year and was forced into a leg brace, Sobolewski volunteered to move into Caro’s Tyler single to help take care of his friend and teammate. In such fashion, the two have been able to work on their relationship while perfecting aspects of their bromance. “During Valentine’s Day 2009, I chose to spend the day with Nick instead of my girlfriend,” Sobolewski recounted. “Let’s just say that what happens in Tyler 102 stays there.” While I didn’t feel the need to pry for details, I think it suffices to say that the two of them seem absolutely perfect for each other.
As we enter a new social era, the old stereotype that “dudes and feelings don’t mix” just doesn’t seem to hold true anymore. While a select few insecure fellows may still scoff at the concept of bromance, as a hopeful bromantic myself, I’d seriously urge those “haters” to get on board with this developing social phenomenon. If the aforesaid man-couples leave you feeling even the slightest bit intrigued, I think it’s clear what you need to do: Find yourself a nice boy – someone you can unload your heart and soul onto – and hold on to them like you would your girlfriend or pet chihuahua. After all, nothing kicks off the summer better than a good bromance.