"What do you mean when you say bro?” asked a certain middle-aged woman with whom I share some DNA. This statement made me aware of a great tragedy — the concept of “broism” is dangerously unfamiliar to people over the age of 35.
Indeed, this subject is in dire need of explication. The development of broism is a topic that, while pertinent to day-to-day life, has no thorough treatment, leaving older generations in the dark about the frequency of brocurrances and the magnitude of the current brosade.
In this space I will attempt to explain the phenomenon. The esteemed online resource urbandictionary.com accurately describes the species of bro as “partying males who are often seen at college parties .... they usually just stand around holding a red plastic cup waiting for something exciting to happen so they can scream something that demonstrates how much they enjoy partying.” I would agree that this definition indeed adequately describes their brototypical behavior.
However, there are other rituals which, while not unique to the bro, are commonly included in bro practice. These activities include “icing,” derived from the verb “to ice.” Icing is the act of one bro forcing another to drink an otherwise unacceptably girly drink, unless the latter bro already has a bottle of said girly beverage in his possession. Should this be the case, it is requisite that the former bro consume both girly beverages, in effect, losing this contest for reputation among the bros. Alternatively, the bro can win “bro points,” (thereby redeeming himself from being iced) by quickly consuming a large enough amount of girly fluid so as to merit the approving grunts of other bros.
Bros are also prone to engaging in bromances with one another. These relationships entail bros’ spending inordinate amounts of time with one another, discussing the deepest of bro topics and engaging in excessive physical contact in the form of hugging and fist pounding. Bros fervently characterize this unusually close relationship as platonic.
These practices are all too familiar to the average college student. However, for those who have not witnessed bros first hand, the exact nature of the bro may still be obscured. For this reason, I will attempt to employ literary allusions to contextualize the bro for readers more familiar with the classics:
Brodysseus, for example, is the brotagonist in a work of the great Greek author, Bromer. Brodysseus’ activities include travelling around the Greek isles with a band of bros with whom he drinks excessively. Furthermore, Brodysseus develops relations with attractive (and occasionally divine) members of the opposite sex, who see to it that Brodysseus is fed sufficiently. Understanding the bro in the classical context thus can perhaps shed light on the modern bro.
If this allusion has not helped to elucidate “broism,” we have other recourse. As a highly developed bromosapien, the bro is very reflective; bros benefits from self-affirmation and identifying other bros and aspects of broism. For example, the bro derives pleasure from broizing great men. Namely, bros celebrate Brobama, Brobi Wan Kenobi, and Brobe Bryant. I’d like to put his holiness the Brope on this list, but bros have been resistant to this addition.
Because of the bro’s tendency to reflect, we also have the good fortune of having access to online forums in which bros share their most quintessential broments. On broslikethissite.com, bros list things that they find pleasing. Among them is chanting. Bros routinely adopt the lyrics to songs by the musical artist Journey for their chanting. Alternatively, the chanting may appear in the form of ostentatious patriotism (chanting “U-S-A” repeatedly) or team spirit — (“J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets”).
This chanting accomplishes three goals: bonding, showing where you stand and gaining attention — all of which can be understood in basic biological terms.
Bonding: Bros are hungry for relationships with other bros — they are dependent on them for survival. Indeed, a bro without bros is no bro.
Standing: Though they are dependent on one another, bros need to compete with one another to maintain their high standards — survival of the broest. This competition is manifest in contests of strength and audacity, expressing broism at its very essence. A bro might, for example, pull a stop sign out of the ground, to prove his blatant disregard for authority (which is admittedly a rarer manifestation of broism).
Attention: Having banded together with bros, it is necessary for bros to demonstrate their broism to other bros and non-bros alike, so as to be affirmed in their role as bros.
In this space, I hope to have accomplished my aim of at least making this phenomenon more familiar to some of our readers. I should note, however, that the bro is at an early stage of development and could use further explication, a task I hope will be taken up by anthbropologists worldwide.
Monica Greco is a sophomore from Brooklyn, N.Y. She can be reached at email@example.com.