1. The Intro
Many a romance has blossomed out of a “love at first sight” type phenomenon, during which both parties look at each other, realize the other person is attractive, and decide that it would be mutually beneficial to have sex. For obvious reasons, Bromances do not work this way.
When it comes to mating with our kind, Bros are often nervously stubborn in a way eerily reminiscent of sociological norms at middle school dances–it’s not that Bros don’t want to meet other Bros, its that it just really doesn’t make much sense putting oneself out there, especially given the already strong Bro network one has developed from high school/college/soup group. “The intro” will thus often be a dull affair, usually the product of a mutual friend via a somewhat forced social occasion. Think pregames, visits to friend’s schools, or for an older Bro, a bachelor party
“My friend from home is dope, you’d definitely like him” your roommate may tell you. “He smokes a lot of weed.” While this of course piques many a Bro's interest, it is not proper protocol to exhibit any sort of excitement at this point. Any demonstration of eagerness or enthusiasm, however slight, will leave the other party disinterested. For any Bros who are “looking for somebody,” it is likely a good idea to let the game come to you. To Seek Bromance is to lose Bromance.
The one exception to this rule is fraternity rush, widely considered the Farmers Market of Bromance. Here, ‘meeting someone’ is simply an occupational hazard.
2. The Revelation
A romance of any sort is built on irrational passion. Both parties need to be enamored with each other in ways previously unheard of, thus enabling the relationship to take the leap from solid friendship to Bromance. For better or worse, this is the moment where “the spark” occurs–where, despite not being totally able to put your finger on it, there’s no denying something special has happened.
Most revelations are events that develop organically. Perhaps it’s a Wednesday night during the first week of college, and none of your roommates want to go out, sans the one roommate who you don’t totally know because you were both abroad at different times. Both wanting to exhibit social capital and/or drunkeness, you decide to get wasted to the point of near arrest, all while realizing that you are in fact, eskimo brothers. The night will then conclude with both of you realizing you share a ridiculous hobby (normally, you both enjoy eating entire pies of pizza), the two of you so plastered that you’ll end up passing out in the same bed, with a sh*tty boy band song blasting on repeat. You’ll sneak out of his bed next morning in the most no homo manner possible, but you know this is now more than a friendship.
All in all, this is the MOST IMPORTANT stage of any Bromances, as it establishes the precedent that both of you are much cooler than you actually are. Bromances work best when each party believes the other brings out their true potential in ways other people simply can’t. The most famous historical example of this is probably LeBron James and Dwyane Wade during the Miami Heat Welcome Party. Yes Bosh, but come on.
3. The Slow Rise
The boring phase, but essential in establishing longevity. This is where you bond over fried dumplings, how hot some C-list actress is (you know her too! NO ONE knows her!), and reruns of Family Guy** For better or worse, you will learn about the person behind that liver. Sure you’ll continue to dominate drunkenly at a pretty impressive rate, but it will likely be difficult to match that initial deluge of debauchery.
**As of 2012, budding Bromances will be subjected to reruns of “The Big Bang Theory”
4. The Rashida Jones Stage
I say this because Rashida Jones was the primary antagonist in the Paul Rudd/Jason Segel Bromance in “I Love You Man,” which now has its obligatory mention in this post and doesn’t have to be touched on again.
Most Bromances develop when both parties are single. (Older Bromances develop when one is married and quickly realizes his life is over, but we’ll save that existential crisis for another day). This occurs for obvious reasons; namely, the Bro in a relationship will not be able to enjoy himself so much as the vibrating iPhone in his pocket allows him to. Eventually however, one, if not both, will settle down with a girl that they will ultimately not marry, because if they did then the girl would win out over the Bro. For purposes of this article, this is simply not an option.
Distance is inevitable here, which will almost instantly lead to friction. The comparative marker here is lack of postgames. When relationships are in flux, couples often cite a considerable decline in sexual activity. When Bromances are in flux, they no longer postgame. Sex = Postgame.
5. Full Circle
The sappy equivalent in movies, where everyone is reunited and it all worked out despite everything appearing to be doomed 10 minutes ago, because that’s basic plot structure. Both Bros finally realize that what they have is beyond special, and it would be incredibly sh*tty to throw it away. True Bromances do this tacitly.
Once Bromances reach this stage, the blazing fire cedes to the lukewarm flame. While it may not pack the same punch as the earlier stages of courtship, it is this stage that marks the pinnacle of Bromance. Best Man or lifelong Bachelor, this is when you know the guy on the other side has your back no matter what–even if he’s spent the last 10 years commenting on how disgustingly hairy it is.
Following “Full Circle” you will spend the rest of your Bromance sitting in separate bathtubs, gazing out at the remarkably beautiful sunset, which is only that beautiful because apparently sunsets automatically become more beautiful when they are watched by two people with a lifelong bond.
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