As we near Valen-guys day, MadeMan felt it appropriate to discuss a very import relationship hopefully many of you share, the Bromance. If you are unfamiliar, Wikipedia calls it, “a close, non-sexual relationship between two (or more) men.” Basically, it’s the bond you have with your hetero life mate. The Bromance is important because it is real, based on shared experiences like being a wingman, only to watch your buddy get too drunk to close the deal and then carry him home, not fake things like breasts and booties. Of course, these relationships don’t happen on their own. Let’s talk about cultivating one.

Don’t force it

There is no love-at-first-sight Bromance. That notion is grounded in superficial senses, like physical attraction, which obviously have no basis in a hetero male relationship. If we learned anything from Appatow’s “I Love You, Man,” it’s that you can’t force a Bromance. Peter and Sidney meet by chance, and the relationship grows from there (note: the “I Love You, Man” cast is not fond of the term “bromance”. Our apologies. We love you, Paul Rudd.) So, if you happen upon a dude that could be your bro, follow up and see where it leads. There is no pressure in a Bromance, so relax and enjoy the camaraderie.

Mutual interests

If you are really going to find your bro-mate, you will need someone that cares about the complexity of 1980′s hair metal bands as much as you. This isn’t someone you occasionally see at an office happy hour. Were not saying you have to be the same person, either. Maybe he’s an Angelina Jolie guy, while you prefer Marissa Miller. What must exist, though, is some deep connection, found through unique experiences or passions. Perhaps you saved his life in Panama, or you can both name the 5 main characters from Thundercats. Possibly you are like Lance and Matthew, and you both love Texas and jogging without shirts. Point is, you relate to each other in a manner less common than two dudes meeting at a friend’s house party.

Alcohol

Sharing and appreciating alcohol is a very Bromantic thing to do. We don’t mean opening a bottle of wine and cuddling up by the fire or pounding a keg of cheap beer. This is savoring a handle of Maker’s Mark on the rocks together, wondering aloud about the fate of the hot girls in college you used to pine after. Actually, maybe there is no conversation at all, just a quiet understanding that this manliest of drinks is wonderful. Of course, you can be social and take your discussion to a local pub. Make sure you don’t go out for dinner. Stick to the bar and pints of good beer, without fruit in them. This is a classic tradition of the Bromance.

Skip date night

To show true commitment to your Bromance, you may have to miss an event or two with your lady friend. Now, if the wife/girlfriend/neighbor is dressed up and beckoning you to bed, text your buddy you’ll see him tomorrow, he’ll understand. Bros don’t get in the way of that. However, for your relationship to grow, you need to hangout together in a women-free zone. This is so you can just be men, having fun without the judging glare of a female. Farts are hilarious, and they should be laughed at. Somehow, women don’t understand this. Sports are really important, and should be enjoyed on a 60 inch flat panel TV, or better yet, actually played. Where is America’s youth more likely to learn self-respect, teamwork and morals, a politician or a coach (cheating Bill Belichek aside)? The point is not to try to prove one’s manliness to the other, rather just do natural guy things. There is never any reason to prove anything in a Bromance. Unless there is a dispute about who won the most Super Bowls, then you should pull out your smart phone and discover, with 6 wins, it is the Steelers. Pay your bets.

Is your Bro going to replace your lady? No, he does not smell as good and back massages would be awkward. Rather, the relationships can complement each other, both fulfilling different needs. This year, as St. Valentine trots around tossing heart shaped boxes of chocolate, there is no need to get cynical if you find yourself alone. Consider striking up a Bromance. Perhaps your new buddy will have advice on scoring a date for future holidays where you are forced to buy gifts. Also, whiskey tastes better than chocolate anyway.

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