Isn’t it Bromantic
It’s the new portmanteau buzzword: “Bromance.” A combination of “brother” and “romance.” Then slam them together until their atoms fuse—like Brad Pitt and George Clooney who, for a while there, seemed as if they were Siamese twins the way the paparazzi kept catching them snuggling and mugging for the cameras together. But to quote the great George Costanza: “Not that there’s anything wrong with that!”
I confess: I love portmanteau words. I love “brunch” (“breakfast” + “lunch”). I once saw Bill Gates at a Denny’s in Portland (Microsoft comes from “microcomputer” + “software”). I once electrocuted (“electricity” + “execute”) a gerbil while trying to trim its unruly whiskers with a Norelco. I’m even trying to coin a few portmanteau doozies of my own so I can secure my place in the annals of literary history long after I’m gone. Maybe you can help? The next time someone pisses you off, try dropping a “You’re a fridiot!” (“freaking” + “idiot”) on them. Or just work “I am SO regusted by that” (“repulsed” + “disgusted”) into any conversation. Trust me—they’re both showstoppers.
Back to the bromance. Some overexcited people confuse it with a “man crush,” which typically occurs from a distance, such as Mike Golic (from ESPN’s TV/radio program) and his deep affection for former Notre Dame quarterback, Brady Quinn. I also find it charming that every mention of Quinn on the show is accompanied by Enrique Iglesias’ “Hero.” Fun stuff. But do I wonder what song Golic’s talk show pal Mike Greenberg is going to use to represent the droolfest he has over new Jets QB Matt Sanchez? I’ve e-mailed the show a few times with recommendations. “Someday I Will Kill You” by the Supersuckers; “Bootylicious” by Destiny’s Child; and my personal favorite, the Numa Numa Dance (a viral video smash featuring a chubby kid dorking it out to the Moldovan pop group O-Zone’s “Dragostea din Tei”).
In contemplating the bromance, I realize that I unknowingly have engaged in one with my neighbor “Hank.” Or maybe not. Let’s examine the evidence in the ever-popular relationship metaphor of America’s favorite pastime. No, I don’t mean competitive cup-stacking or spelling bees, I mean baseball.
Clue #1: While discussing why the only spot on my lawn that isn’t dead is the one where his dog continually pees, we heard on the radio that the Chicago Bears made the free agent trade of the decade. Both displaced Chicagoans, we jumped for joy and high-fived right there in my ever-browning grass. Then it happened. We hugged. Just for a moment, mind you, which I’m not sure qualifies. It’s not like that scene from Planes, Trains, and Automobiles where Steve Martin wakes up next to John Candy who asks, “Where’s your other hand?” Martin says, “Between two pillows.” Candy replies, “Those aren’t pillows!!!!”
Clue #2: We went out for lunch at Chili’s. This wasn’t a big deal. I’ve eaten lunch with men before. But when the waitress brought the check (one check, and she didn’t even ask… hmmmm), I had BBQ sauce all over my fingers. I said to Hank, “I’ll get the tip.” He said, “Fine,” then reached over and yanked my wallet out of my pants pockets. With well-sauced hands and a quarter-rack of ribs still to go, I didn’t think much of it.
Clue #3: One afternoon, a neighborhood dog went nutso. I mean Cujo-style. It tore up some flowers, barked like it had a built-in megaphone, and then it tried to chase down a six-year-old on a Big Wheel. Okay, it was a French poodle, but man that thing was a beast. I didn’t want to see if its jaw was big enough to tear up that kid’s face, so I went WWE on it with a body slam. Hank saw the ruckus and decided to help hold the monster down until the owner could arrive. During the scuffle, Hank elbowed me in the balls.
“Oof!” I said, completely regusted by this unexpected event.
“What was that?” Hank said, turning just enough so that his knee connected solidly with my nuts this time.
“OoOOOooooOOO …” I moaned, letting go of the dog.
“Hey, need a little help here,” Hank said. Perhaps he was oblivious to what had occurred. Perhaps not.
Clue #4: My five-year-old cousin nailed me in the community pool with an Elmo floatie toy. You’d think a little plastic tugboat with Sesame Street characters in pirate costumes wouldn’t be that dangerous. WRONG!!!! When it’s zinging about 800-mph at your face, it’s a wonder someone doesn’t wind up dead.
Still, I was dazed by the impact. I went under in a blurp of bubbles. Hank was sunning himself in a Speedo and came to my rescue. He dragged me out of the pool and despite my sputtering, gasping, and flailing, tried some mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
“I’m okay! I’m alright!” I hollered.
“Hey now,” he said, backing away, pretty clearly offended. “My Ph.D. is in Early British Literature, not medicine. What do I know about drowning?”
He had a point.
So maybe I’m the best person to help you with your own bromances, since I might’ve had one myself. Or maybe I didn’t and I’m the worst person for not realizing that. Either way, I’m going to share my (in)expertise on how a proper bromance courtship should go.
Tip #1—The man-date should be somewhere men commonly go to. I recommend a Marlins game. (I was going to say a Yankees game, but after reading Derek Thompson’s The Atlantic article entitled “Erectile Dysfunction and Yankees Fans,” I’m steering far clear of that situation. No one wants to talk about a busted Johnson in a dude piece like this!)
Tip #2—Go for First Base, or “The Touch.” It’s the bottom of the fourth and you’re both on your second Bud Lights. Lean over, pat your pal on the knee and say with an extra dose of machismo, “Great game, Buddy. Great game.”
Tip #3—Second Base can be tricky. Maybe share a man-cave experience. If you don’t have your own über-cool garage with big screen TV and drum kit like Paul Rudd does in I Love You, Man, then go with the second-floor bathroom at the baseball park. Crossing streams in the trough or holding a pal’s giant foam finger while he whizzes can’t help but bring people closer together.
Tip #4—Third Base in the regular heterosexual metaphor is the hand job or oral sex. For the man-date? Splitting a chili dog and a pitcher of Bud Light in the ninth inning is a great start. To really up the ante, though, fire up some ditchweed in the parking lot then pick a fight with the other team’s fans.
Tip #5—Fourth Base? After the game, invite your guy-pal back for some backyard barbecuing. The mix of meat, fire, sweat, sauce, testosterone, and more Bud Light is sure to get things cooking. If you’ve got access to a private pool, so much the better. And if you’re really looking for some action, take a cue from the Seth and Evan, the genius co-stars of Superbad. Get yourself a sleeping bag and let nature take its course under the stars.
Tip #6—Be a man about it and afterwards, don’t call for a few days. Just because. Don’t worry—he’s a man. He’ll know what you mean.
Tip #7—(Optional) If you’re looking to make your bromance a truly memorable one, go out in a blaze of glory like Redford and Newman in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” one of the original Hollywood bromances. There’s surely a cliff nearby that you can pull a Thelma and Louise on (is that flick officially a “sismance”? “sister” + “romance”?).
In short, the bromance is the new, hip thing in America, though if you think about it a bit, you’ll see it’s quietly existed for a long, long time. The dude/dude thing is gaining momentum and it’s time to join the ranks of famous bromancers. Affleck/Damon. Farley/Spade. Gibson/Glover. De Niro/Grodin. The Three Stooges. Scooby/Shaggy. Papa Smurf/Brainy Smurf. Batman/Robin. Ernie/Bert. Beavis/Butthead. Waylon Smithers/Mr. Burns. SpongeBob and Patrick.
I’d love to shed more light on this ever-growing list of past and present bromances, but I’ve got to run. That fridiot Hank just called. He owes me dinner, so we’re going out for a Little Caesar’s pizza together. And there’s nothing, nothing wrong with that.