The term bromance might seem new but the ‘romance’ that it suggests isn’t so. Bromance is a blend of the terms ‘brother’ and ‘romance’ – so, it’s different from romantic love. But why are we saying that it is not something new? Well, George Washington, back in his days, used to write endearing letters to many people. Even Lincoln used to share his bed with men too. While it might roll your eyes now, it was quite commonplace back then. You can blame the stigma on the second part of the 20th century which brought forward homophobic ideas and tried to alter definitions of masculinity.
Well, thankfully, in today’s time, bromances are not looked down upon and it’s out in the open. Currently, a study shows that men actually enjoy bromances too – somewhat better than they enjoy relationships with their girlfriends. The study has been published in the Men and Masculinities.
The reason for bromance getting accepted might be many – for example celebrities getting involved into bromances, example, Obama-Biden, or movies like 40-Year-Old Virgin. Anyway, for the study, the researchers surveyed 30 heterosexual men. They were all second-year college students who had been committed to a relationship previously and were still in one. The sample was homogenous – all of them were straight. Except for one, all were white. Also, they were majoring in sports-related subjects.
Researchers found out that all of them had at least one bromantic friend. They had no boundaries between them – they shared secrets, expressed love for one another, shared beds and even 29 out of 30 confessed that they have cuddled too. Bromance was something that both of them enjoyed openly. These were a part of the initial findings that were published in Sex Roles journal back in May. There is some more research that needs to be done on this.
This time, researchers were exploring differences between actual romantic relationships and bromances. According to the students, they felt less judged when they were with a close male friend. They can’t derive the same comfort from a girlfriend. And so, they might confess that they like listening to the songs of Taylor Swift with their male friend, but with a girlfriend, they fear being judged or appearing less masculine. They were even able to overcome sensitive barriers like talking about a parent’s death or some mental issue. 28 participants out of the total claimed that they would discuss about a lump on their testicles with their friends rather than their girlfriend.
The difference between romance and bromance was properly hinted upon by one participant. According to him, a relationship requires emotional connection, personality and sexual attraction. For bromance, personality and emotional connection is enough. Romance requires all three. But even with all the rationalizations, the men finally claimed that bromance was far more satisfying than heterosexual romance.
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According to the author, this is a progressive aspect since now, men can get close to each other and be more acceptable about intimate same-sex friendships. This is more so when they are not feeling the emotional connection with their romantic partner.
However, it may not be as liberating for the tradition relationship that men and women share. While bromances are well accepted, participants were quite demeaning while describing their girlfriends. They had this ‘us vs. other’ mentality. They were more into ‘bros’ than their partners – and their allegiance was almost to the extent that they could move in and live with their bros, leaving their girlfriends behind. This is especially true when there’s a chance of forwaring a heterosexual relationship to marriage and beyond.
According to one, bromance lasts for a lifetime while lovers are generally temporary.
Well – maybe we should tone it down a little to make it more acceptable for all. Till then, we can say bromances are here to stay and grow without stigma.
IMAGE CREDIT: gstockstudio