Tiger Woods inspired me. There’s nothing wrong with your eyes. Tiger. Woods. Inspired. Me. Sure, he’s a recovering sex addict, but when he got up on that stage on Friday and admitted to his affairs with God knows how many women (including former porn star Joslyn James), the crickets in my mind hopped away. Then a news channel displayed the mia culpa (“I am guilty of”) moments of other famous men. You know, guys like Bill Clinton, David Letterman, Kobe Bryant, etc. Author Brandon Root of “Spiteful Critic” wrote a great list. Oooh, idea time. Mia culpa. And believe you me, I’ve got a lot of mia culpas.
But which of my guilts should I share? I found the answer after reading on of my favorite blogs. You see, I don’t have older brothers, so I take any lessons I can get from older wiser men. Enter Matt. He’s in his late twenties, happily married, and a pastor. He’s also the writer of “The Church of No People.” I have never actually met him, but after reading post after post he’s written and following him on Twitter, I feel like I know him. He’s like a big bro–someone you want to hang out with, someone you learn from about life and how it works. Yup, that’s what I do with my favorite writers–invent a fictive kin identity. Check out his blog, and tell him Gio sent you.
Well, one of Matt’s posts was about his quest to find bromance. And that’s exactly what I’m guilty of. No, not finding bromance, but rather having several. Yah, I’m not a two-timer–I’m just good at juggling bromances. It’s a skill I’ve acquired over the last three years. Just a couple days ago, a bro I hadn’t seen in half a year met up with me. I would lie if I said I didn’t miss hanging out with him. I know what you’re thinking, Gio, you should just get a girlfriend. You talk about marriage a lot. Why not? True, very true. But women are an investment–not just financial, but also an emotional investment. I don’t think I have enough energy or time either with school. So the next best thing, while I’m still young, is to hang out with my best buds. That’s every little kid’s dream. Grow up Gio! Hey, I’m not the only one delaying my adulthood–there are practically several books written about guys like me. But it’s not all bad. According to Geoffrey Grief, a Maryland-based psychologist and author of The Buddy System, “men who are comfortable sharing their feelings with other men may actually make better partners.” See? I have healthy bromantic relationships, which means I make one potentially great boyfriend. Ladies, call me.
I do have to admit that Matt’s post scared me because it also reminded me how the comedy movie, “Bromance” was practically a horror movie to me. Don’t get me wrong–I love that movie. I’m a huge fan of Paul Rudd (also another guy I wouldn’t mind being in a bromance with). But the movie and Matt’s real life situation–it was a wake-up call. Was that a vision of my own impending future when I reach my late twenties? It’s looking more and more likely. Is this how the post grad life is for men? Oh the horror.
You see, we men don’t do friendships as women do them. At times that’s a good thing, and at times that’s a bad thing. How do we ever figure each other out? We just do:
1. We don’t reveal our emotions.
All that emotion crap is for women, right? I think that’s the biggest lie. We reveal our emotions all the time, just not the way women do it. Emotions make us human. One way we men reveal our emotions is with our FISTS! Anger is a pretty common and visible emotion for guys–the classic Hulk mode–You don’t want to see me angry. You wouldn’t like it when I’m angry.
2. We are extremely competitive.
We constantly try to one-up each other. We compete for dominance and status to display that we’re the better man and the better mate. How many times do we talk about who has the better job, the better car, etc.? And that’s why the world of sports speaks to us. It nurtures our competitive drives.
3. We love to insult each other.
It’s another classic display of dominance, another way to one-up another, to see who can come up with the better insult. For guys who are strangers, it can cause a fight as egos are bruised. However, amongst old friends, that’s how we bond–how we display our affection for each other. It supposedly makes us tougher. We don’t say insults to be mean, we insult because we care. Just watch Clint Eastwood in “Gran Torino” where he teaches the Asian kid man-speech in the barbershop and you’ll know what I mean.
4. We have “shoulder-to-shoulder” relationships with each other.
Whereas most women find joy in face-to-face relationships with other women, such as, talking with another woman over coffee, men converse shoulder-to-shoulder. This means that we tend to talk to other men while doing another activity, not necessarily having to see the other guy face-to-face. Take for example the activity of fishing. Guys can talk all they want about life without having to look at the other guy in the eye because they’re simultaneously concentrating on capturing fish. Or go to a gym with a workout partner and you’ll talk while lifting weights or at a sporting event when nothing exciting is going on.
5. We engage in “report talk.”
Georgetown University linguistics professor Deborah Tannen first coined the term in the 1990s with her book, You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation. She calls men’s conversation “report talk” because our conversations are short and to the point. Women’s conversations are called “rapport talk” because their conversations are used to create connections. In short, men are about the facts, while women are about the personal details. However, because men have short conversations, they tend not to know a lot about other details about their male friends.
But do all these things affect how men maintain and keep their friendships with other men when they’re older? Could how we interact with each other be to blame? And what’s the deal with the rise of bromances? Do women in relationships feel threatened by their man’s bromances?
Well, all I know is that with my success at bromances, the ladies call me a “Bromanizer.” That’s my identity revealed for now, but for how long, I just don’t know. After all, I don’t want to find bromance in all the wrong places. In the mean time, ladies, call me.