I'm Sick of This Bro Shit



Last time out, I made fun of feminists who get arbitrarily offended by words that there isn’t really anything wrong with.  And yes, that is slightly annoying.  But to shift our attention to the other end of the gender spectrum, something that is way more annoying, and which is in my face every ten minutes (as opposed to Academic Feminism, which is actually pretty easy to avoid provided you are not on a college campus), is this “Bro” shit.

Lawd, how I hate this Bro shit.

I’m not sure when it started.  There have always been assholes, there have always been stupid people, there have always been jocks…  But Bros are not simply any or all of these three things.  A Bro doesn’t necessarily have a low I.Q.  A Bro does not necessarily play sports (he likely watches them, but certainly many Bros are way too out of shape to even very charitably be considered athletes).  There are even a few nice Bros, or so I have heard.

“Bro” at this point is a movement.  I don’t know how long it’s been one.  Maybe it started when Dane Cook put out his first album.  Or maybe it started when Burger King made that stupid commercial where the big fat bastard is afraid that eating vegetables will turn him gay or something so he takes to the streets with a bunch of other big fat bastards to warn the populace with a song about the dangers of making any effort to not be a big fat bastard, much to the chagrin of his lame vegetable-eating girlfriend, who is dating him for some reason.  If you’re unsure whether someone you care about is a Bro, or is at risk of becoming one, here are the Top Ten warning signs...

#1)  Exclusively Drinking Beer.  I’m not ripping on beer.  I love beer, especially when paired with one of the select few cuisines that go especially well with beer (German, Mexican, American, Japanese, Indian, Chinese, Russian, Brazilian, Thai, Polish, Irish, Cuban, Scottish, Moroccan, English, Ethiopian, Korean, Belgian, Hungarian, Argentine).  And I actually side with Bros in ripping on those guys who never drink beer.  But once you’re older than, say, fourteen, you should be drinking things besides beer too.  And not just shots of whiskey and vodka (and don’t drink Jaeger, ever, it is disgusting, what’s wrong with you).  As for categorically rejecting mixed drinks beyond the level of blank-and-coke or blank-and-orange-juice because you don’t see the point of something complicated when something simple gets you just as drunk, really, there comes a time when you should at least pretend that you are not drinking to get as drunk as possible as quickly as possible.  And then there’s wine.  You don’t have to become a wine snob, but at a bare minimum there is no excuse for not knowing the difference between white and red wine (red wine is colored with the stuff that comes out of a gorilla’s nose when you hang him upside-down and beat him with a baseball bat, according to Wikipedia).  Yes, the beverage debate is complicated:  Bros are incorrect in saying that you should never order wine in a bar, but it is true that you should only order it in certain bars (if you have to lean over and scream your order in the bartender’s ear, or if there is even one pinball machine visible from where you’re standing, it is not the kind of bar where you may excusably order wine).   Seriously, you should drink wine sometimes.  Just think of all you’re missing out on by not drinking wine with the countless cuisines from all over the world that are so perfectly complemented by wine (French, Italian).

#2) Psychotic Protectiveness of Female Friends/Relatives Combined with Psychotic Aggression towards Female Non-Friends/Relatives.  As a non-Bro, I think of women as, you know, basically people:  certain behavior towards them is acceptable, and other behavior towards them is not.  But for a Bro, philosophy on the fairer sex is characterized by a profound gulf between how women who are the sisters/cousins/roommates of him and his friends may be treated, and how every other woman on earth may — nay, must — be treated.  So, that girl from last weekend “deserved” to be shot with a rhino-tranquilizer dart and have a train run on her on the hood of your boy’s Grand Cherokee because you once saw her drinking straight whiskey instead of Boone’s, but I’m not allowed to look at your sister?  Interesting.  You realize that other girl may well have been someone’s si—  Oh, sorry, I didn’t realize I was a “fag” for pointing that out.

#3)  Thinking Scarface Is the Best Gangster Movie.  No, it’s not.  I don’t care how much you like the poster, no it’s not.   Godfather II is better, Godfather I is better, Goodfellas is better, Reservoir Dogs is better, Mean Streets is better, Miller’s Crossing is better, the original Scarface that you don’t even know about is better. ..  Scarface is about as good as Godfather III or the episode of Married with Children where Al walks around in a white suit with the jacket over his shoulders.   Yes, Scarface does deserve some props.  After all, if it hadn’t been for Scarface, the world wouldn’t have the part where Homer Simpson paraphrases Scarface in the episode where he finds the pile of sugar.   Or the title for the one album of real songs that Smashmouth made before deciding to exclusively do songs for Disney movies.  Come to think of it, Bros also really liked Smashmouth, which is just more damning evidence re Bros’ taste in the Arts:  that band you thought was so awesome who named their one hit album after this movie you think is so awesome then immediately turned into Randy Newman, only they became as lame in their late twenties as Randy Newman didn’t become until he was like seventy.  I can’t wait to hear their heartwarming theme song from the upcoming Toy Story 3, “You’ve Got a Little Friend to Say Hello to in Me.”

#4)  Not Noticing or Caring about Women’s Clothes as a Matter of Avowed Policy.  I’m not saying guys need to be experts about women’s clothes.  The only point to knowing that womens button-down shirts have the buttons on the left side instead of the right is that this information will occasionally enable you to solve an Encyclopedia Brown mystery.  (Similarly, be aware that any female cellist wearing a sheath skirt has either just been murdered, or is about to be murdered.)  But Bros take this lack of interest to an insane level.  Seriously, aggressively not caring whether your girlfriend wears high heels or Converse is like aggressively not caring whether your fries come with ketchup or fermented yak semen.  This goes double for guys who do not “get the point” of lingerie, which is clearly objectively the best thing ever.  If you have ever heard a guy say anything along the lines of “I don’t get it, why wouldn’t you want the chick to just be naked?” then this man is indisputably a Bro.  Not caring about lingerie is like not caring about how your food gets into your stomach.  Would Monsieur Bro like it all mixed up in a bucket?

#5)  That Stupid Hurty Handshake Thing.  I know I’ve complained about this before, but Bros are still doing it, and it’s still stupid.  And it’s possibly responsible for more aggregate annoyance than anything else on this list, since it’s the Bro behavior that Bros persist in the longest.  Even the biggest Bro is probably able to drink a glass of wine without panicking by age 45 or so, but sadly his love for the hurty handshake thing has only intensified.  It is like proficiency at the hurty handshake thing is a Bro’s life’s work.  So I’ll explain one more time: being introduced to someone is not a competition.  Yeah, when you manage to quickly close your hand before the person you’re shaking hands with can get his hand all the way lined up with your hand so you’re squeezing his fingers instead of the hand part of his hand, congratulations, you have “won” — at being a cockface.  Since whenever you meet someone for the first time you feel the inexplicable need to injure that person, why not just grab his head and scream your name as loud as you can in his ear?  It makes just as much sense as trying to break his hand, and there is even more possibility of permanent damage.  If the Republicans run Mitt Romney in 2012, I hope they don’t think he will win any votes by walking around shaking people’s hands, because I bet you anything Mitt Romney shakes hands this way.  You can tell just by looking at him.  My fingers hurt just from freaking seeing him shake someone else’s hand on TV.  Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, my ass.  More like Church of Jesus Christ, Why Are You Trying to Break My Fucking Hand, You Prick, I Just Met You?  

#6)  Liking Journey, Van Halen, and Aerosmith NOT as a Joke.  Let me make one thing perfectly clear: those bands are awesome… but AS A JOKE.  I cannot resist throwing my arms around my best friend and singing along at the top of my voice whenever “Don’t Stop Believing” comes on… but AS A JOKE.  “Panama” is the closest thing the human mind has yet achieved to a four and a half minutes of pure sonic orgasm… but AS A JOKE.  Whenever I hear “Cryin’,” “Amazing,” or “Crazy,” I cut open my hand and draw a pentagram on the floor in my own blood to try and summon the devil so I can gladly offer up my soul to whatever torments he chooses to devise for all eternity if he would grant me just 45 seconds of slow dancing in 1993 with Alicia Silverstone on the edge of that trestle bridge… but AS A JOKE.  What is wrong with you Bros?  Don’t you know you are only allowed to like those bands AS A JOKE?!  By the way, a child born when those three videos were in heavy rotation is now older than Silverstone was in the videos.  Really makes you think… about how 2010 minus 1993 equals 17.  Basic math: cosmic.

#7)  Wearing Shorts as an Adult.  Self-explanatory.  Bonus if it is with a jacket and tie.  Double bonus if he is also wearing a baseball cap with the shorts and the jacket and tie.  Triple bonus if the shirt he is wearing under the jacket is tucked into his underpants instead of in between his underpants and his shorts.

#8)  Thinking Jennifer Aniston Is the Hottest Friend.  There are many ways to spot a Bro when it comes to taste in women (Megan Fox, the daughter from 24, Buffy over Willow), but nothing has ever topped this as the true litmus test.  I realize Friends wrapped years ago, but it’s still rerun all day long, everyone still knows what it is, and guys still argue about who’s the hottest chick on it.  And today, just as when the show was new and I was in high school, a Bro inevitably thinks that Aniston is a goddess and rates the other two not at all.  Balls.  Almost uniformly, smart guys initially liked Lisa Kudrow the best, and then switched to Courteney Cox after the first couple seasons.  This is a generalization of course, but one thing is sure:  no-one who is not a Bro ever had Aniston at #1 at any point, and no-one who is a Bro ever had anyone but Aniston there.  I do not get that at all.  Courteney Cox is a model, Jennifer Aniston is a cheerleader, and models are hotter than cheerleaders.  Maybe Bros just liked her character the best, but this makes no sense either because her character was the most annoying character.  Don’t get me wrong:  her character was annoying because she was written to be, and Aniston did a very good job of playing that annoying character, and was mad funny when she guested on 30 Rock.  But the point of that character was that she represented the “sweet” girly-girl next door who is neither too smart (like Cox’s character) nor too weird (like Kudrow’s).  And Bros live for that shit, and non-Bros hate it.  And I super-do-not-get why I keep seeing Aniston on lists of the celebrities with the best legs.  She is 5’4’’, and her legs look like the legs of that girl who shows up to the party in a bicycle helmet and then ties her bicycle helmet to her backpack and spends the whole party talking about how she rides a bicycle.

#9) Being “Against” Vibrators.  There are certainly other Bro traits that more greatly inconvenience me on a day-to-day basis, but all things considered this Bro trait may be the saddest of them all.  Ever suggest to a guy who’s looking for a sexy gift for his girl that he visit a sex-toy shop, only to have him launch into a speech about how “No way” because he “can’t compete with that shit” and it is “better if chicks just don’t know about it?”  Then the person you were talking to is a Bro.  And if you have ever seen someone actually make this speech directly to a woman’s face, then this man is a Bro among Bros.  And if, while making said speech directly to a woman’s face, he was thorough enough to inform her that is her “responsibility” not to get “all stretched out,” then my word, you have actually made contact with one of the Great Old Bros, who lived ages before there were any men, and who came to the young world out of the sky.  Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Bro R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!

#10)  Homophobia to the Point of Near-Schizophrenic Detachment from Reality.   Even regular old “normal” homophobia is wrong, but it is usually not funny.  Bro-brand homophobia, on the other hand, is frequently as hilarious as it is baffling.  Hell, half the other traits on this list are just side-effects of it, from refusal to care about shoes to insistence upon violent handshakes.  But seriously, Bros, by pretending you honestly can’t tell whether Jude Law is any more attractive than the guy who played Newman on Seinfeld, you are not making everyone in the room think you’re super-super-straight so much as you’re making them think you were in a terrible accident that left you with a very specific type of brain damage.  It’s okay, Bros — admitting you can comprehend why people who are attracted to men would be attracted to Johnny Depp is not magically going to make gay dudes fall from the sky and spirit you off to go antiquing with Lady Gaga.  But maybe Bros just feel they have to act this way to counterbalance the myriad stuff they do that they seem to think is sick butch but actually, well, raises more questions than it answers.  Like when frats play that game where they all jack off on a cookie and the last guy to spooge has to eat it.  Or the ritual where a pledge has to drink a beer that’s been poured through an upperclassman’s buttcrack (and not into a cup, mind you, but directly from the buttcrack).   So these things are not gay but, say, going to a museum is?  Wow.  Hats off, Bros.  Hats off.

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