Friday, December 28, 2012


Hello, everyone! Welcome back to another edition of Ask-a-Dude!

Remember, you can ask your own questions using the submission form on the right!

Today's question is:

Q: My boyfriend has developed a bromance with my brother. It's getting pretty serious. Should I be worried?

A: Yes. Very. 

Most people see bromances as harmless homosocial relationships among guys. A movie here, some Taco Bell there, maybe a day trip to the local Indian casino for some poker and all-you-can-eat ribs. You may even come to see your brother as a release valve for all the pressure built up by your boyfriend's desire to indulge in lame habits. Do you really want to spend the next five hours watching your boyfriend achieve international ranking in Hitman: Absolution? Of course you don't. But your brother does. Send him in like a disposable bomb-diffusion robot and retreat to a safe distance (like your local mani-pedi martini bar, for example). By the time you get back, your boyfriend's desire for primal male bonding will have been sated and now he's up for the Romantic Rossellini retrospective you've been dying to see followed by the most intense tantric cuddling you've ever experienced, leaving you an exhausted, smiling little snuggle-strumpet.

What could possible go wrong?

Oh, it starts out harmless enough. Your brother thinks your boyfriend is kinda cool and since he's coming around more often it's likely they'll start up a conversation and discover they have a ton in common.

Brother: Oh my God, you vape?!
Boyfriend: Totally! I got into e-cigs after that cool Stephen Dorff commercial.
B: Me too! You wanna go smoke some watermelon-strawberry niquid I just got?
BF: Does the pope sh!t in the woods?
B: *giggle-snort* you're hilarious, dude!
BF: You too, man. By the way, I like the way that hoodie brings out the green in your eyes.
B: You get me.

Saying your brother and your boyfriend have a lot in common is like eating a poppy-seed muffin and then testing positive for opiates. It's a false-positive. They have a lot in common because ALL guys think stupid stuff is cool, it's wired in our DNA. The very first bromance between Oog and Snor probably started with a shared interest in fart-lighting (made possible by Oot's discovery of fire which was originally intended solely for that purpose). It doesn't mean there's a real connection here. If you could program a toaster to randomly spout text from the latest issue of Maxim, your boyfriend would always have warm PopTarts on his camping trips.

The problem isn't that your boyfriend might turn gay (oh my god, you wish). The problem is that his relationship with your brother might become an analogue for your own.

Let me explain. Do you remember that scene in Back to the Future when Doc Brown tells Marty not to reveal anything about the future? He says that knowing about the future could have unintended results and cause a rift in space-time.

Do you want to be responsible for a rift in space-time? Let me answer that for you. No. You do not want to be responsible for a rift in space-time. It's space-time. When you break space-time you don't just get out the extra big tube of SuperGlue.

Here's the most likely scenario. Your relationship will be cruising along like a Tom Hanksian romcom. Things are so good, you don't have memories, you have montages, complete with Carly Rae Jepsen soundtrack and a scene of the two of you running barefoot through the surf.

You live in Nebraska.

But if you look closely, you see a shadow in the background of your montage scenes, a shape that can't be lit by the light of a thousand suns.

I think that's Christoper. Is that you, Christopher? Christopher, answer me!
Soon you notice unfamiliar scenes in your montage. You think they're forgotten moments from your own relationship. Did you really throw Jujubes into your boyfriend's mouth at the Transformers 5 midnight screening?

Wait, that wasn't you throwing Jujubes, it was. . .

Your brother!

Here's where things get weird. Your montage begins to overshoot the present, showing you scenes that haven't happened yet. But they're all from your brother's timeline. Somehow you've crossed the streams. Instead of seeing your own relationship unfold, you're watching something you don't quite understand, like bomblight from a nuclear weapon. Or a Lady Gaga dress.

Sure, there's a lot of nad punching and tequila-induced nudity. You know, stuff you'd expect to see. But now your brother is taking style cues from your boyfriend. He's wearing the same ripped jeans and faded plaid shirt. He's gap-lacing his Chuck Taylors just like your boyfriend does and using the same Axe Body Spray for Dudes. Even his meals are exact replicas of your boyfriend's: one Swanson's Mexican Style Fiesta and eight habanero chicken wings on weeknights (nine wings on weekends).

Your brother not only looks like your boyfriend, he smells like him, too.

The turning point comes when your brother goes into the same Super Cuts your boyfriend frequents and asks for your boyfriend's hair cut. LITERALLY. He walks out with your BF's hair clippings in a sandwich baggie.

Oddly, this isn't the worst of it.

You watch as your boyfriend notices something is off. His first clue is when he sees your brother in a doorway and thinks he's standing in front of a mirror.

Have I always been this handsome?
This creeps your boyfriend out and he starts to distance himself from your brother, ignoring his texts and pretending he has plans when you know for a fact he's home watching the James Bond marathon on TNT. You brother starts showing up places he knows your boyfriend is likely to be. Like Gamestop. And Costco at sample hour.

When your boyfriend sees your brother he starts yelling, telling him to stop stifling him, that having him around feels like being trapped in a cage. Your boyfriend pulls out the picture strip from their trip to the State Fair and tears it up. The pieces rain down in a confetti that turns into snow swirling in a snow globe. You pull back. Your brother's sad face is frozen in the snow globe and your old, gnarly hand is holding it.

This is YOUR montage now. No sunlight. No beach. No Carly Rae Jepsen. Just you, your Howard Hughes-style fingernails and your creepy brother snow globe.

You hear a voice. You turn. It's your boyfriend. He's young. You look back down. The snow globe is gone. You're back to the present.

Before you can figure out what just happened, your boyfriend asks if you guys are still good for Slurpees and go-carts with your brother. 


See, the way your boyfriend treats your brother becomes an analogue for how he might treat you. Forget for a moment that everything you just saw is a figment of your imagination. Come on, you just saw your brother's head in a snow globe. You're not thinking rationally.

Doesn't matter. If your boyfriend can break your brother's heart, it's hard not to imagine him breaking yours and suddenly you're tossing out a perfectly good boyfriend because his bromance caused a rift in space-time and let you see the future.

Look, I know George Clooney and Brad Pitt make it look easy. But they're rich and have Bromance Butlers to keep them from getting too close or losing themselves in one another. Most bromances don't look like that. They look like this:

May-December bromances are the most dangerous
If you insist on letting your brother and boyfriend hang out, make sure you keep a close eye on them and intervene at the first mention of mix-CDs.

And if your boyfriend asks you what to get your brother for their six-month anniversary, you're already too late.

Copil's most torrid bromance ended after a disagreement over whether the flap in men's underwear is decorative or functional. You can cast your vote on Twitter (@Copil).


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