Isn’t it bromantic?

VICTORIA (CUP) – In Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Spock admits to Captain Kirk that emotions “play an important part in the richness of life.” This concession is very indicative of a “bromance,” a trendy term currently being passed around more than a pipe at a pro-pot rally.

Where would Kirk be without Spock? Would Butch Cassidy be so iconic if it weren’t for the Sundance Kid? Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are so buddy-buddy that they inspired the off-Broadway play Matt and Ben celebrating their fabled friendship.

Since Oscar and Felix first moved in together to form “The Odd Couple” there have been umpteen man-crush matchups in our culture. What societal changes have led to this?

In sociology, embracing same-sex relationships that aren’t of a romantic or sexual nature is called “homosociality.” It’s the type of bromance you would find in fraternities, the military, monasteries, prisons or exclusive male clubs, like the Loyal Order of Water Buffalos on The Flintstones.

It’s stirring how the capacity for same-sex emotional bonding is most clear-cut and least complex in children. Kids fall in love with their best friends in thrilling ways that don’t continue in later life. Maybe as we mature we lose this capacity to harmonize, as pubescence dictates who our friends are.

At the Australia Research Centre on Sex, Health, and Society at La Trobe University, Dr. Michael Flood has been researching homosociality extensively, especially with heterosexual relations. Flood found many male-male friendships take priority over male-female relations, and platonic friendships that men have with women can be fiercely feminizing – not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Flood also found that sexual activities are material to masculine status. As letters sent to Penthouse Forum prove, many a gentleman likes to kiss and tell. For many men, bonding occurs through sexual storytelling, which can strongly influence our sexual and social relations.

In the movie Fight Club, über-male Brad Pitt asks, “We’re a generation of men raised by women. I’m wondering if another woman is really the answer we need?”

Why can’t a grown man tell another grown man that he loves him? What do masculine ideas of love entail? These are not easy nuts to crack, considering what most men expect from their male friends usually involves less emotional baggage than what women expect from their female friends. 

And yet many men suffer from an identity crisis of profound proportions. Feminism has redefined what it means to be a woman in contemporary society but it has also redefined what it means to be a man.

“Sensitivity” has become a buzzword for a lot of politically correct groups, and it is suggested men possess less of it. Is this a fallacy of the phallus?

Maybe, but men, more often than women, have difficulty grieving, expressing love and showing vulnerability. Some consider such tender displays to be a dire weakness.

Like wearing track pants in public, showing emotion becomes a declaration that men have given up.

//Shane Scott-Travis

Nexus (Camosun College)

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