- Jason Wood
I’m a gay guy wanting to do a “gay” thing. Now when I say “gay” I mean the improper use of the term that’s been thrown around for decades in locker rooms and among buddies to insult, harass, or bully one another. The “that’s gay” kind of gay that implies weakness, inferiority, or wrongness.
Anyhow, the “gay” thing I want to do is have a deep friendship with another man who is not my spouse. I want a bromance in which I can feel comfortable being my authentic self. I want to be able to get vulnerable with each other, talk about our friendship, and our emotions. There is actually nothing gay about this! Friendship and love is a basic human need.
Ironically, I recently had a a gay guy tell me that it’s impossible for guys like us to have a bromance because that is reserved for two straight men. Let me get this straight, one stereotypes tells guys it’s gay to have a close friendship with another dude while another tells us gay men can’t have bromances. Hmmmm..
Forming a bromance is not easy, whether you’re gay or straight. It requires stepping outside of our comfort zones, going against social norms, and making ourselve vulnerable. I’m tired of wearing the manly mask around other guys. I’m no longer held back by past rejections or failed attempts.
I’m working on this and am planting seeds in several relationships that I hope will blossom into the bromances I’ve longed for since childhood. However, it can be scary and uncomfortable at times. Yet, I draw hope from the unlikeliest of groups, the preschool class that walks past our house every day on their way to the park.
From where I work, I can look out the window and see the kids go skipping by with joy, innocence, and sometimes tears. The thing that stands out to me is the interaction among the boys. They will often be holding each other's hands or even hugging each other if one of them is upset. The gender norms and stereotypes haven’t robbed them yet of the “intimate” relationships we grown-up guys seem to run from.
We have a chance to change the narrative and make sure those boys will never have to feel the loneliness or isolation that so many men, myself included, experience in our lives.