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Are you and best buddy in a 'bromance'?

  • Story Highlights
  • Movies, TV shows celebrate "bromances"
  • Bromance is a close, nonsexual relationship between men
  • Psychologist: Straight men who share feelings with men may make better partners
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By Lola Ogunnaike
CNN's American Morning
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Bromance? On the streets of New York, the term elicited quizzical looks from the several men I approached.

Melvin, a bike messenger with meticulous cornrows and baggy jeans, assumed I was inquiring about something related to homosexuality.

One aspiring writer nervously stammered through our brief chat and made it a point to profess his love for women repeatedly.

Only one young man, a student at Fordham, knew what a bromance was and seemed comfortable enough to profess that he was indeed a bromantic. Why the weirdness? Dudes and feelings are not supposed to mix. Video Watch men get nervous about bromance questions »

What is a bromance? Simply put: a close non-sexual relationship between two heterosexual males. And lately it seems Hollywood can't get enough of them. Comedies featuring bromantic unions have been big at the box office.

"Wedding Crashers" (Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson), "Superbad" (Michael Cera and Jonah Hill) and, the latest, "I Love You, Man" (Paul Rudd and Jason Segel) have all showcased guys who are more than comfortable with man love.

They've been budding on the small screen too. MTV recently aired "Bromance," a show where men competed to be BFFs with star Brody Jenner (son of the Olympian Bruce). There are also Chuck Bass and Nate Archibald of "Gossip Girl"; Barney Stinson and Ted Mosby of "How I Met Your Mother"; Turk and J.D. of "Scrubs"; and Dwight and Michael of "The Office."

To be clear, this isn't the stuff of the movie "Brokeback Mountain." These relationships are not being consummated.

But bromantics do share everything else: their innermost feelings over beers (or a rich burgundy), hugs, even tears. And to the consternation of some female partners, it's usually pals before gals.

Experts, meanwhile, say that gals shouldn't necessarily worry -- as long as said bromance remains platonic.

Geoffrey Greif, a Maryland-based psychologist, adds that men who are comfortable sharing their feelings with other men may actually make better partners. They tend to have no qualms about expressing themselves, he says. He believes all this bromancing is an outgrowth of the metrosexual movement.

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"Men are much more comfortable with grooming, with going to work out, with their bodies," he says. "It's part of the outgrowth of the importance of trying to be yourself and trying to be comfortable with whom you are. That opens the road to more openness with other men."

Back on the streets of New York, I asked a few more men if they were open to using the "L-word" with their brothers. Kevin, who was headed to a lunch date with a buddy said, "Maybe if I was drunk."

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