We move through life and hopefully make friends along the way. When you are a kiddo, a lot of those friends are the same gender as you, and it takes a long time but eventually your friend groups start to take on a male-female mix. That’s often where things get interesting, or awkward, depending on attractions and the urge to couple up. It’s all normal, it’s going to test the terms and strength of the relationships, but if you really are good friends, you can make it through. Forge ahead, get a great friend for life.
I was watching “The History of the Sitcom” for a little while last night on CNN before I went to bed. One episode was about the friend type of sitcoms, and how that group dynamic really is a strong part of the evolution of the sitcom. It covered shows like Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Golden Girls, Seinfeld, Cheers, Living Single, Friends, and that type of show. How your friends become your family, and maybe the family you didn’t really know you needed or how it even happened except for you all were in the same place at the same time. I enjoyed that, because that really is how it happens in life, your circumstances bring you in contact with strangers who become friends. It is usually mixed genders, and different backgrounds and somehow you end up needing each other.
In most of these shows, there is usually one or two central relationships that really bring out the love between the characters. Specifically, the Bromances. Lenny and Squiggy, Cliff and Norm, Jerry and George, Chandler and Joey, Howard and Raj. There are a ton of them. They are not always the main characters, but the show wouldn’t be worth watching without them. They end up in ridiculous situations, they bail each other out of jams at work, in relationships, with the other friends, and they just love each other without ever saying the words, because Bros just know. Man Love, in it’s most simple and pure form. It’s a celebration of friendships, but amped up to hilarious levels for the ratings.
We all know guys with massive man-love for their best friend. I know a ton of them. They usually will verbally abuse each other, question each other’s sexuality, belittle each other, but the second someone else jumps in, they will defend each other to the end! The relationship between the guys is almost always better than their relationships with their girlfriends or wives. (Women have friends like this too, but it’s just a little different for the guys.) Men just have a different approach to the best friend relationship, and it’s difficult to explain, but beautiful to see.
One of the saddest things is when the Bro-love ends. Not because of a fight or something, but because of death. Not to turn too morbid, but I have seen my share of guys who lost their best friend, and they are just lost. It happened when my dad died, his best friend Ben mourned as hard as we did, they knew each other their whole life. When my friend Marco died, his best friend was off the deep end for months. They grew up together, he had moved here because of Papi. He was lost, and I sometimes think he still is when I see him. It breaks my heart to see it when it happens, because that isn’t a relationship that is easily replaced. Men always seem to be able to makes friends with just about anyone, but to find your Bromance Brother is special, and not someone that can lift out and be filled in with just any old guy. You can date someone and break up, be with a new girl the next week, but you can not replace a Brother From Another Mother with just anyone.
Special friendships. They are awesome because unlike family, you have a little more say in who you let in. You can be super close with your family, but that best friend, you can’t beat it. So that is why I wanted to celebrate the Bromances today, because they are something special. I have my best girlfriend, I love her like a sister, and we have been friends for many years. But the love between male friends, real man love in the Bro-est of forms, is something to really behold. I think of the light in Papi’s eyes when he used to talk about his best friend, and it was love, pure love. My dad used to get such a twinkle in his eye talking about his friend Ben, no woman could ever hold that place in his heart. It’s that love that made Joey and Chandler the best relationship on Friends. Bro Love. Forever.