>> By Giles Shearing
Spring 2014, Issue #36
Can strong male friendships be saved with a bit of bromance?
As modem research suggests, male friendships throughout North America are in peril. In a recent article in Salon.com, author Lisa Wade positions that men are as interested in close male relationships with other men as women are with other women.
For the most part however, men don’t have them. Between work, eating, exercising, grooming (well, maybe not so much in Revy), sleeping, extra-curricular “screen-time” (e.g., tablets, laptops, cell texting, etc.), and connecting with friends on a superficial “shoot-the-shit” level, when is there time for deeper relationships to form?
As homosexuality became mainstream, psychologists observed some straight men were more isolated for fear of discriminatory labels questioning their own sexuality.
In some circles, strong male relationships have persisted. Take the skateboard community from which the origin of the word bromance was derived, where guys spend countless hours engaged in sport but also in deep conversation.
It seems that male friendships do matter. A lot. Throughout history and certainly in the entertainment industry we have seen a lot of great male friendships. It is no mystery that
Sherlock Holmes and Watson shared a close relationship that extended beyond the workday.
Despite their frequent disputes, Ernie and Bert always ended up at their shared apartment at 123 Sesame Street the best of friends. One of the classic lines out of 1992 was: “I love you, Wayne—I love you, Garth.”
As homosexuality blossomed into the mainstream, psychologists observed that some straight men became more isolated for fear of discriminatory labels that poised to question their own sexuality, As author J. Loweder explains, homophobia, has in some cases ruined plutonic touch for straight men.
Innocence of male friendships seems to have been lost between archaic biases and new ideas of manliness. The diverse range of male relationships in North America seems to have been narrowed.
See if these hidden rules resonate with you: Bros seldom shop together or share a dinner for two. Men seldom go for a walk together or call each other just to talk. Affection is often limited to “man hugs,”” celebratory embraces, slaps on the the back and hollering. Hunting trips and workouts are acceptable ways for men to “be together.“ To correct the course of male relationships, perhaps we can look to other cultures.
Innocence of male friendships seems to have been lost between archaic biases and new ideas of manliness.
Originally from Nigeria, Kefas now calls Revelstoke home. He recounted to Rory life in Nigeria where he was surrounded by countless friends and family. He notes that his house would often be full of his male friends coming by for a short visit or to stay for days. His times were full of quality interaction with his buddies playing sports, partying and talking politics.
Kefas was so rich in friends that selecting a best man for his wedding was a significant challenge. He cherished his friends, who were honest and “[would] open up and talk to me and not sugar coat things but tell me the truth.”
Being physically and emotionally close to his friends was natural. In Nigeria and other countries quality relationships is what make People rich. In China and India, adult males
can often be seen holding hands while they walk and chat together. President Bush and Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who met in 2005, found themselves hand-in-hand and sharing a quick lip kiss, demonstrating mutual admiration.
Revelstokian Erik Hanson, a founding member of Extreme Kindness, an endeavour of four B.C. men that promotes random acts of kindness, said: “in order to live a life that is filled with love and caring, it’s necessary for men to practice those skills, especially with each other.”
Travis Hunt, a Revelstoke physician, said he values “good humour,” patience and honesty in male friends. He went on to say that, “over time you will be able to ‘open up’ and not be afraid to expose the more vulnerable side of yourself whether that is emotions, worry or some sort of problem.”
If you’re reading this article in Revelstoke, then you’re in luck! Revy is the epicenter of progressive male relationships, in the opinion of bros in town. This town presents a myriad ways for men to strengthen their relationships, sports being the obvious one.
Other methods include going to shows, doing yoga and meditation, theatre involvement, connecting for good conversation over a warm bevy, committing random acts of kindness and working on a project together such as that garage-built cruiser bike or filming a shredding flick.
Inviting new friends, men and women, into your circle of friends is a sure way to strengthen our community as a whole. These shared experiences culminate understanding trust and a connection that often avalanches into stronger relationships.
For suggestions on being a good man check out The Art of Manliness and The Good Men Project. And if you need to brush up on your hugging skills, check out the YouTube video, “How to Give the Perfect Man Hug.”
THIS GREAT ARTICLE, AND OTHERS LIKE IT, ARE ALL PUBLISHED IN THE BEST OF REVED