Ten years ago, for a burly, straight guy to say he was going on a “man date” with his best friend would have been completely unheard of.
This is because men have typically been stigmatized as the less sentimental of the two genders, which often leaves their relationships emotionally bereft and shallow.
However, in recent years it has become increasingly common for males to open up and let themselves be more vulnerable to each other.
Brandyn Collins, an international relations super senior (we all know one) at Ohio State University, is reputed among his friends to have an incredibly dynamic bromance with Brett Bernal, a business junior at Evergreen Valley College in California.
Speaking on their unique relationship, Collins said, “He is my brother connected deeper than blood or just a friendship. We actually open up to each other as men and wrestle with stuff that even our closest girlfriends have never known, and that’s more affection than I think most people can fathom.”
Guys who have such a substantial bond are hardly ever in denial about the unusually heightened level of their relationship, either.
Collins certainly had no trouble in recognizing their unique dynamic when he said, “A bromance is a something between two guys that goes far beyond a friendship, which to most guys is just hanging out and talking about girls or sports or really superficial things.”
This divergent kind of relationship between two heterosexual males also tends to garner much attention from the community for being so atypical because of how unabashed they are at flaunting their mutual affection.
Like Collins added, “A lot of people are blown away by it to be honest … to a lot of males it challenges their idea of what it is to be a man and makes some uncomfortable. We as males are always told you aren’t supposed to show weakness and dependence on someone; our bromance challenges the social norms.”
These social expectations partially originate from earlier, more traditionalized gender roles.
Peter Nardi, a sociology professor at Pitzer College who specializes in male relationships, told The Globe and Mail, a publication from Capella University, “What happened was that men found themselves in work situations where they had to be more instrumental, and women found themselves in situations where they were more expressive, such as nursing and teaching. So for men, their relationships follow a more instrumental, activity-oriented interaction, whereas women’s interaction is much more emotionally expressive.”
The degeneration of gender archetypes since the 60s, however, has altered the societal perception of what is permissible emotionally for men and women. The quixotic expectation for men to be the stoic, autonomous provider for the family has largely abated so they feel less insecure about revealing their emotional state to members of the same sex.
So to all you guys out there, don’t be afraid to expose your inner thoughts, emotions, and desires to each other: just be sure that your affection is not unwelcome, as you could make your fellow male extremely uncomfortable.
Reach Julianna at firstname.lastname@example.org