4 min

Bromancing the Stone

What sets a bromance apart from just another friendship?

 We all need a little romance in our lives. There has to be something to ward off the mundane burdens of our daily routines.

I have learned to take romance wherever I can get it.

For the last few years I have subsisted on the loving embrace of my cat and my dog. Still, there comes a time when some solid contact of the human variety is in order.

I have been dating a bit, though. Recently, I wrote of my sexual identity crisis and how it related to my latest victim  — I mean, lover. If you have followed my exploits, you might be able to predict how that ended. I cast him out before I gave him a chance.

So where does one find romance when one is so fickle, confused and admittedly often self-centered with a heart of stone?

How can one experience genuine adoration with another man without it being soured in its infancy?

It is truly amazing how well you can get to know someone when sex does not factor into the equation.

I have always had an affinity for the women in my life. Growing up in a house of four women, I came to appreciate their company. For whatever reason, I have always been able to bond with the women in my life. On an emotional level, I have found that my ties with women are much stronger than any I have had with men.

There have been exceptions of course. I like to think that deep within me resides my inner dude.” Like any component of my personality, he needs to be recognized and fed a well-balanced meal of brotherly bonding.

In university I was lucky enough to find a close friend and pseudo-brother in Geoff. Before him, my relationships with men had been superficial and fleeting.

Within a short timeframe, Geoff and I became as thick as thieves. I could not imagine surviving four years of higher education without him.

Sadly, he graduated before me and I faced losing my one solid link to all things masculine.

Yet not long before one bromance came to an end another one began. Stefan became my steadfast amigo, a fraternal comrade. Aside from a pesky sense of sexual longing for him, I found a tight male bond that I needed at the time.

Moving to Vancouver, I had to rebuild my social self. As the history of this column will show, that was easier said than done. While several facets of my life have fallen nicely into place, many other components remain elusive. One, in particular, has been a lack of a significant bromance in my life.

The term bromance has come a long way since its inception in the 1990s. Coined by skater boy Dave Carnie in the magazine Big Brother, it has been used again and again to describe a close friendship between two straight men. By now, it is used to describe tight relationships regardless of sexual orientation.

Reality television has even done its part to bring bromances to the world at large. Sociologists have sought to find some explanation for the prevalence of these bromances. One principal theory is that men are making slower crawls to adulthood. Unlike the generations that have come before, men are not taking on the roles that tradition would like to assign.

Marriage, babies and financial security are less tangible in young adulthood. Men, along with women, have sought alternatives to a social paradigm of days gone by. Essentially, we are taking more time to evaluate our individual needs.

Apparently, according to these same sociologists, straight men have become less hung up on how others might perceive their fraternal relationships. The fear of seeming gay seems to be diminishing. Men are learning to let go of stigmas and are yearning for more intimate, emotional connections with the same sex.

I have been giving the matter a lot of thought lately. Perhaps too much of it. This has to do with the fact that I now find myself in yet another bromance.

Although, if you would like to get technical, I suppose I should call it a “hobromance. Shephard and I work together almost everyday. I am gay. He is straight. This fact alone is nothing remarkable.

However, it has been the evolution of this friendship that truly strikes me. I had all but given up on finding a dude to connect with. Then, like Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, we found each other.

When I decided to search out a sense of community in the gay world, I had not realized how limiting that could be. While I remain true to my initial mission of not living on the fringes of Vancouvers gay circles, I have to remain open.

So what is it that sets my new hobromance apart from being just another friendship? It may have something to do with the ease and comfort of simply hanging out together.

We don+t do anything that you could classify as strictly macho. We go out for dinner together rather frequently. We have the same appreciation for horror and science fiction and even agree to disagree at times (he leans more toward an affinity for Stargate, while I obsess over the narrative intricacies of Battlestar Galactica).

We find ourselves every now and then breaking into gossip sessions, making fun of random people on the street and grossing each other out with tales of bowel movements and the like. In short, we have the sort of relationship I would love to have with another gay man. The only thing missing is the sex and that is probably why we remain compadres.

Where will this hobromance lead? Will it remain as solid as that of the love between Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble? With it sour and wither will age like Matt and Bens connection? Will a third party (preferably tall, Greek and insatiable) drive a wedge between us? Hmmm… come to think of it, I am almost hoping for the latter.