For The Love Of God, Please Stop Saying “Bromance”

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  1. David May says:

    Oh, really, this is just silly. Or was theat your intent?

    I’m middle-aged gay and I think it’s cute that these younger men have rediscovered the Romantic Friendship (as it used to be called). Bromance or Boy Crush, it’s sweet. Recently at a restaurant here in Seattle, I saw two straight couples meet for dinner. One man extended his hand to the other; the second man gave his friends hand a gentle slap before they embraced — and not the triangular straight boy embrace accomapnied by pats on the back. i was touched.

    Male friendships involve a courtship beforet leads to the intimacy, so the terms are not unsuitable for the emotional rollercoaster that is Love in any of its myriad forms. I think the homophobia of post WW2 America repressed the Romantic Friendship in our culture, and I also suspct that, in our more permissive era, straight men learned from gay men that physically affectionate, emotionally intimate friendships are not unmanly. For many men (gay and straight) this new acceptanceof the Romantic Frienship probably came as a revelation and relief.

    So leave it alone, I say. Let the boys and/or call it what they will — but let’s support it.

    • Well said David.

    • “So leave it alone, I say. Let the boys and/or call it what they will — but let’s support it.”


      • I love how we need to “rethink masculinity” and work away from rigid gender roles or concepts of gender which create “toxic masculinity”.

        Or, at least, until men begin to feel free enough to rethink ideas of platonic love and find larger support for being able to be more open and engaged with friendship and emotional depth. Then it’s just another, oppressive piece of Patriarchy which needs to be dismantled.

        It really begins to look like the only acceptable way to do this sort of Social Justice is if you set it up so you always lose. You’re only good for SJ if you suffer as a minority. As soon as something positive hits the larger culture, it’s de facto bad because it’s a part of the larger culture. Everyone loses and no one wins. All for a little more kindle on that glorious SJ fire.

  2. If the only problem is a name then I say let it be.

    And besides other than in movies and pop culture who really uses this term? Honestly I don’t think I’ve ever seen or heard anyone actually use the term. In fact I’ve seen more articles and posts arguing against the use of the word than I’ve seen/heard people actually using it.

  3. Of course it’s a little amusing. One of my closest friends and I are famously bromantic. All the women (mom, sister, wife, girlfriend, etc) in our lives chuckle at it. Not in a mocking way, but because they find it endearing to see (in the words of one) “two people who are so easy and comfortable with each other.” They find it sweet, and fondly tease us about our bromance. It’s not mockery, any more than when his wife refers to me as one of the family she is mocking familial relationships or implying that only brothers should love each other this much.

    I’m with David: this is a positive thing. It’s recovering the idea of allowing men to have emotionally close relationships outside of football teams and the military. I’ve never heard anyone use the term bromance to refer to two male friends in an unkind way. Hell, I’ve even heard a gay friend of mine refer to his friendship with a straight friend as a bromance. If anything, this is an acceptance of male-male romantic relationships, recognizing that two men who are very close might very well be more than friends.

  4. ThePaleKing71 says:

    I have heard “bromance” uttered in daily conversation, and it has always been used as a pejorative to denigrate close male relationships. Look at how the term gained traction in popular culture: as a definition of J.D. and Turk’s relationship in scrubs or Barney and Ted’s relationship in How I met Your Mother, or in any male protagonists’ relationship with any male character in Apatow film. Basically, “bromance” is shorthand for infantilized male characters who only become “real men” after they’ve recognized the “superiority” of a heteronormative, cisgendered, long-term romantic relationship. As a straight man, I find that little insidious piece of portmanteau very restrictive and downright offensive.

  5. Not sure if serious or trolling…?

    You raise some good points Kate about a lack of acceptance in the mass media of non-heteronormative relationships, but you don’t do your argument any favours by attacking the bromance.

    I have a wide range of good relationships with people of both genders, including a few cherished bromances.

    We even go on regular ‘man-dates’!

    For us it’s about celebrating our close, emotionally open, non-sexual friendship, not diminishing the bonds others share.

    Don’t tell me I can’t share a relationship with another person but not call it what we want to!

  6. weavermount says:

    The author confuses media representation with what actual people are doing how they are using the term. Of course corporate media is saturated in homophobia, crappy gener politics, queer-erasure etc etc etc. And sure let’s critique the shit out the media construct “Bromance”. But let’s not invalidate real peoples real relationships though, alright? Where does a queer person get off invalidating anyone labels, or forgetting that media portrayals aren’t lived practice?

    Kate, are there any bromances in your social scene? Have you talked to anyone labeling as in a bromance?

  7. Ryan_1980 says:

    Brilliant article. Well said. I get enormously bored and angry when two men who care about each other are automatically, childishly, referred to as having some sort of sexual ”bromance”. In my experiences it is usually women who use this term more than men too. It is pathetic and creepy. So just stop it. Thank you.

  8. A term created to spice up tabloids and on doofy reality shows when two males are really close. The term is demeaning and devalues friendship between two men. Why is there no word for two female friends combining a word for female and romance? Because it’s suppose to be normal for two women to be really close but for men it’s a “bromance”? It’s a stupid word created by daft people and the people who use it are no better. And as Ryan_1980 says it’s mostly women who use it in a teasing manner which can make a guy feel awkward for showing affection or kindness towards their close friend. I had a co-worker do this when me and my friend were planning of having lunch. “Aww you guys having a wunch date.” I didn’t find it amusing and told her such. Women like her get a kick out of this “bromance” because it’s ammo. It’s not cute nor humorous that me and my friend wanted to plan a lunch with each other.
    So it’s not just the media it’s society taking this thing and making it a joke when ever referenced and the numbskulls who think it’s A Ok. To you it’s okay to be mocked with a silly term for doing something natural, having a very close comradery, you’re probably one of the people who eat that reality show/tabloid garbage up. For me it’s disrespectful that men get an exclusive label to make them feel silly for being close to another man.


  1. [...] These are comments by David May and Rick on the post “For The Love Of God, Please Stop Saying ‘Bromance’“. [...]

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