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Vicky Mochama: The voice of Metro News.

Bromance has power to help men become their best selves: Vicky Mochama

Loving intimate male relationships are not new, but their current versions point to a slow, subtle change in male life.

These boys will grow up in a world steeped in bromance. That’s mostly a good thing, writes Vicky Mochama.

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These boys will grow up in a world steeped in bromance. That’s mostly a good thing, writes Vicky Mochama.

My brother and his guy friends leave each other little loving notes every day.

They constantly send each other voice messages In their Whatsapp group. Many of them are very frank and thus unfit for publication.

To him, the notes are uncomplicated: they are often driving, don’t want to text and are being lazy or silly.

Much to the annoyance of this 33-year-old man, I think it's the sweetest thing. The boys love each other vocally. It is a refreshing version of masculinity.

Loving intimate male relationships are not new, but their current versions point to a slow, subtle change in male life.

Since 2005, the bromance has been a part of culture. Like every word “for men,” I hate the term “bromance”; words like this make ordinary human behaviour exceptional simply because men do it. The entire brocabulary is a problem. (A bro-blem, if you will. But you shouldn’t.)

My battle, however, is already lost. Straight men love their bromances.

In a research study of 30 male undergraduate students, researchers found that the young preferred the emotional and physical intimacy of their male relationships over those with a romantic partner. For them, a romantic sexual relationship was not as satisfying. Unlike men in previous eras, they didn’t think there was anything wrong with that.

I spoke to Bert Archer, author of 1999 book The End of Gay: (And the Death of Heterosexuality). How, I asked, did the recent research reflect the change in men's lives that he predicted at the turn of this century.

“As homophobia becomes less acceptable, more people find it more acceptable to be talking about their lives in more candid ways than they used to,” he said.

“Certainly the bro culture and bromance can be seen as an evolution. It can be seen as men becoming more comfortable with each other because they’re not seen as gay. You can also see it as a regression.”

My brother’s relationships with his friends are really lovely: they take care of each other. For example, one friend once offered to take a girlfriend’s family out for dinner. But, unbeknownst to the girlfriend, the friend did not have a car. And so the boys stepped in and dispatched Ubers.

It was a truly supportive act. But the friend’s lack of autonomy did not endear him to the lady he was dating. The depth of the group’s friendship made them insular and codependent; it prevented them from telling their friend to be honest to his partner.

To Archer's point about regression, their focus on each other sometimes comes at the exclusion of women and doesn’t necessarily lead to healthier choices.

Nevertheless male friendships are a force for good. Men are the most qualified to help one another in everything from male mental health to online radicalization to sexual assault.

More men talking to, and loving, each other doesn't just make less work for women. It helps men become their best selves.

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