One of my favorite shows is Boston Legal, whose main focal point is clearly the “bromance” that has developed between Denny Crane and Alan Shore. In case you’re not familiar with the term, here’s an article all about bromances.
Unfortunately, the article doesn’t do a very good job of explaining the difference between a male-male friendship and a bromance. The most interesting point raised comes toward the end:
According to Peter Nardi, a sociologist at Pitzer College who specializes in male friendships, all these phrases are safer than they used to be because men are less afraid of being perceived as gay. It has become more acceptable for them to show some emotion. Al Gore and Bill Clinton hugged when they won the 1992 election and sports figures cry on camera when they’re busted for steroids, Nardi pointed out.
There seems to be little worry about perceptions of homosexuality in a bromance filled with macho pursuits like drinking beer, watching sports and playing video games. But rifts can occur when serious girlfriends enter the picture or someone moves to another city.
I’m willing to buy that it’s become more acceptable to have close male friends who aren’t doing “macho” things all the time, but I’m not sure this is worthy of its own term. I invite my friends to play sports and drink beer, and I also invite them to the coffee shop or to watch TV, without giving much thought to whether they are male or female — I just invite the people I feel like hanging out with.
Is there something unique about a “bromance” that makes it harder when one friend moves away or gets a girlfriend? I’m not convinced of this. It’s hard whenever a friend moves away that you spent lots of time with, because it’s difficult to fill the vacancy. And people who replace friend time with girlfriend time definitely suck, but this is again unrelated to whether or not a bromance is involved.
So, what makes a “bromance” different than any other friendship? Or is it just one of those trendy terms of the moment, like “metrosexual” or “cougar”?