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Cracking the ‘bro code’: What’s wrong with loving my best friend?

by Jericho Zafra

“THIS guy’s in love with you, pare.”

If you are a fan of Parokya ni Edgar, you would know how this song became viral two decades ago. It tells a story of what would happen if a gay man fell in love with his straight best friend. 

Although the song was released in 2002, at a time when homophobia and public shame for gay people were chronic, the piece challenged the idea of ending their friendship just because his best friend is gay.

But it’s not always the case in reality, especially today. Many associate male friendships with intimate relationships when they discover one is gay. 

To be clear: bromance involves a non-sexual relationship between two men but is not limited to heterosexual males only. It can be a gay-straight man friendship, too.

At present, more people have become open to engaging in a “bromance” friendship. Take Karl and Christian.

Karl and Christian work for business process outsourcing companies in Quezon City and live in the same dorm where they met.

Karl helped Christian, who was from the province and unaware of the way of living in the metro, to adjust to city life, giving him tips on commuting and on surviving away from the family.

“I didn’t know how I will be able to adjust in the first few weeks of my stay in Manila; Glad I was able to meet Karl, who shared tips on how to survive the city life,” Christian said in Filipino.

In an instant, the two became best friends to the point that they now share the same unit.

“Many people in our dorm suspected I am bisexual because I always wait for Karl before I go out and eat. We also lend each other money when we’re short on budget and even share personal stories,” Christian said.

When asked if these prejudices intimidate them, they refused to believe that concept. They shared why it has to be normalized today and how having a bromantic friendship has become beneficial for men who struggle with expressing their emotions.

Changing the image of masculinity 

While being with your homies (friends) significantly boosts your masculinity, labeling them as gay or saying they act like homosexuals will not make you more manly.

For Karl, friendships between two men should not be seen as equal to being homosexual as they are, in fact, two different things and two normal behaviors. And this should never be an issue.

“When people associate bromance friendships with being gay, it does not contribute to progressing the way we see masculinity,” Karl said.

Less judgment, more expression

“Having a pool of guy friends may be fun, but to have a bro best friend means having a brother from a different mother,” Christian said.

Christian said he grew up away from his immediate family and siblings. And when he met Karl, he could experience living with a non-relative brother without being judged. 

“I can be myself because I can’t be sweet with my group of guy friends because I feel like they will tag me as gay,” said Christian.

When asked how having a bromantic friendship helped him, Christian said he was able to “become aware that two males can be sweet without having an intimate relationship.”

Many have tried to decode what the bro code means. Although these unwritten rules have become the standard for keeping ties close, cracking the bro code sometimes means having to change the stereotypes about men – especially now that it’s 2022.



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