Good Will Bromance

May 29th, 2012 | By | Category: Columns

Dear Jonathan, My best friend and I have been joined at the hip since high school. We’re two normal married guys, but now we’re labeled as a “bromance” and everyone seems to judge us strangely for it. What should we do?

A few years ago, I went to Hooters. A lady friend of mine had been invited out by her boyfriend to meet his old fraternity brothers. This was a big deal for Jaime because it was the first time meeting these people, and there was an air of mystique about them. So, this was also a reconnaissance mission! This group of farting, beer-guzzling, late twenty-year old guys self-identified themselves as being in a group bromance. Jamie was totally pulling a “Jane Goodall,” intent on observing them from a purely anthropological stance.

We previously identified the “Three B’s” as the three common factors of male friendships: 1. Beer, 2. Boobs, 3. Buffalo Wings. Therefore, Hooters was the ideal location for us to observe these untamed men in their natural environment. (Now, the reason I said I was going was to be supportive. But my real motivation was the tater tots. Once I found out there were tater tots, I was in! And then, as our perky scantily clad waitress brought them to our table, I realized what the tater tots alluded to and I couldn’t eat them.)


Anyway, I found the outing to be quite tame and rather unimpressive. Sure, it was a little strange to me that the guys seemed to pair off and order their beer mugs with two straws. There was a little hand-holding and nuzzling. But really – I was just bored. I mean, what the hell do you straight men actually talk about with each other? For political discussions, one guy made a declarative sentence and everyone else replied “Yup.” Apparently the biggest news was how they all got “wicked wasted” the previous week. Oh, and there was a lot of talk about sports. Even though none of these guys understood simple algebra, they could all calculate baseball averages off the top of their heads.

All I can think now is “what’s the big fuss?” There is nothing shameful nor extraordinary about a bromance. Why is it, in a time of political correctness, that we have to sexualize any form of masculine intimacy? Obviously history and literature have not been concerned with this. What would have happened to Lewis and Clark’s expedition if they had to worry about being pegged as “tent-buddies?” Classics like Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Great Gatsby, Brideshead Revisited, and the Best Friend Gay Guy Erotica series have been based upon male friendship. Look at the Ancient Greeks! – ok, that’s a bad example, but really – why are we so afraid of two penises being close to each other- on an emotional level?

Still not convinced? Here’s an example to help you feel normal: Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.


The most vagrant Hollywood bromance ever, these two have been terrorizing our good sensibility for over a decade. The world has been waiting for them to enter holy matrimony since Good Will Hunting and it is never going to happen. Ever. They hang out together, they act together, they’re successful pretty boys. And yet, they still maintain this annoyingly dignified down-to-earth quality that reminds us all that they still fart and go to Hooters. *sigh* And here’s the kicker – these two have gotten so much action that their genitals are probably scotch guarded.

But for some reason, as noted in this bromance, different forms of “success” seem to pair together. You know what I’m talking about. Everybody knows that one guy is super accomplished for not doing anything extraordinary and then there’s his best friend whose accomplishments go largely unrecognized. Yet these two are always at the same table being all chummy and yet both of them are looking at each other suspiciously, as if to ask, “Who the hell put you on the guest list?”


Don’t know what I mean? Well, let’s look at a Post-Good Will Hunting selected filmography of these non-sexual life partners:

Matt Damon:
The Rainmaker (1997, London Critics Circle Film Award for Actor of the Year)
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999, Multiple Award Nominations)
The Departed (2006, National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Award for Best Ensemble)
Invictus (2009, Nominated – Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor)
True Grit (2010 – Multiple Nominations)

Ben Affleck:

Phantoms (1998)
Pearl Harbor (2001, Nominated – Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor)
Daredevil (2003, Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor)
Gigli (2003, Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor)
Clerks II (2006, role: Gawking Guy)
He’s Just Not That Into You (2009)


Really, the lesson we can all learn from bromance is not to fear an underlying sexual tension, but the plain old fact that one of these bros is the weakest link: C.S. Lewis and J.R. Tolkien, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, Pauly D and Vinny–it’s a constant in these pairings that one dude is or was awesome and the other one was or is kind of a dick. Indeed, if there’s anything to be wary of with a bromance, it’s the knowledge that one-half of the pairings is going to use his power for good (promoting positive political causes), while the other is going to use his for evil (marrying that chick from Alias).

So, next time you see a bromance, keep your distance! And next time you’re at Hooters, just stick to chicken wings. You’re welcome.


*Jonathan is fully aware that Ben Affleck has received accolades for directing films such as Gone Baby Gone and The Town. But he will never forgive him for Paycheck. Or Reindeer Games. Or Surviving Christmas. Or Jersey Girl. You get the drift.


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