Sunday, September 13, 2009

A look at Male Bonding: you know, just hangin’ out & doing guy stuff

Around a month ago, I decided (what with the new tv season starting soon and all) that I'd better catch up on the latest movie releases on DVD, get 'em out of the way.  I've watched some good films ("Taken" with Liam Neeson & "Knowing" with Nicholas Cage), but last night I saw "I Love You, Man" with Paul Rudd & Jason Segel.  It's about this man who's found the right girl & they're going to be married, but he has a small problem:  all his friends are women.  There's no one he feels close enough to ask to be his Best Man.  

His brother attempts to 'set him up' with someone from his gym, and even his mother arranges a dinner date with her friend's son (who's gay, no surprise).  And then (on Rudd's own, as it should be) he meets Jason Segel.   I'm sure you can guess what happens from there.

This movie surprised me, it was that good.  What could have been a script full of lame gay jokes & juvenile humor was instead sincere & genuinely funny; I laughed out loud throughout the film.  Roger Ebert even gave it 5 stars!

Okay, I confess that while watching this, I related very much to Paul Rudd's character; and after the movie was over, I realized how much I miss having another guy to just hang out and pal around with too.

Dan Roberts & me, late ‘70s.  We were best friends for 25 years, from 1970-1995.  I’m still not sure what happened, too much time & distance apart I suppose.  We last spoke around 5 years ago.

I consider myself lucky to have a good assortment of friends now, both male & female.  But they're clearly separated by more than gender:  while women make up my 'physical life', most of the guys I feel a kinship with are from whom I know online in various message boards.  (And truth be told, even that number is dwindling.)

Jeff Kempin, from Chicago.  We’re both into the new Battlestar Galactica, seventies funk, Tarentino movies & cooking meat.  I’ve known him for years & sure would enjoy hanging out with him, but the dude lives in Chicago!

I honestly believe that finding another guy for friendship is more difficult than finding a woman for dating.   Like any relationship, a good bromance comes with it's own set of rules:

  • It can't be arranged, like a blind date or a matchmaking service; it just has to happen. 
  • If one guy is into sports & the other isn't, it can still work.  But if one is into hunting & fishing, and the other isn't, you can pretty much forget it.  I don't know why this is, it just is. 
  • Differences in politics & religion are okay in groups of guys, but the two of you should be on the same page as much as possible.  You're not?   Then find someone who is.
  • There's more to life than naked women, so talk about other stuff.  But man, don't be a prude if the other guy emails you a pic of Scarlett Johannsen "sunbathing".  C'mon, it's Scarlett Johannsen!
  • The age gap should be minimal.  I've become friends with someone at the office recently, but the guy is 28 years old.  Everytime a topic comes up that involves a year, say 1985, I hear "Doug do you know how old I was when you were 23 & dating that girl?  5!"  

Well, there's probably around a hundred other rules, but if someone tells you there should be no rules--then they've never had a real bromance!