I am an only child, with few strong male role models - my father once called me gay for kissing him on the cheek.  I was nine.  I was also lucky enough to attend a school where heteronormative behaviour was judged by your willingness to stamp on someone’s head if they didn’t acknowledge the queuing system on the table tennis, or how much you liked Oasis.  But somehow I’ve not become one of those “emotionally retarded English men” that Madonna gets so aggro about (that means you, Guy ‘Will You Ever Make A Good Film?’ Ritchie).



Thanks to Sex And The City, there’s a common misconception that heterosexual men don’t know how to show their fondness for each other.  All the Zoo magazine reading fellas who’d sooner piss in their passed-out mates mouth then hug it out in a time of emotional crisis are giving the rest of us a bad name. We’re not all testosterone monsters who only make physical contact when asking each other to pull our fart finger.  We’re capable of real friendship - like the time Joey bought him and Chandler matching gold bracelets.

So, when I discovered one of my BFF’s (for the sake of privacy, let’s call him Sean William Scott) had split with his fiancé, it was time to roll out the red carpet bromance treatment.  He planned a weekend away from provincial hellhole Coventry, and I laid on three days of hetero action designed to take in all the necessary tropes of modern bromance: your wing man, your confidante, your analyst.

Here’s how it rolled.


In anticipation of another brother’s arrival, I’ve been brushing up on lines from Swingers, although I’m pretty convinced I’m more Jon Favreau than Vince Vaughn. This might be a problem if I’m to make SWS feel better about himself.  I also can’t get Arab Strap’s “Girls of Summer” out my head, which is making me want to binge drink and have sex with a girl I barely know. A weekend of living vicariously clearly awaits…

We head east to the appropriately titled Chicks Dig Jerks club night with a heaving throng of assorted macho friends, planning on staring at all the champagne girls dancing to Michael Jackson. Rarely have I seen femininity so terrifying.  A 6ft plus girl with half of her head shaved is wearing an all-in-one 70s basketball uniform and looks like one of the lesbian prostitute gang members from The Warriors. My heart swells in seconds, but I unselfishly sacrifice her attentions for some brotherly confessionals.

We discuss the things we’ve lost during various break up wars, and it’s not just our dignity – clothes, records, books, DVDs etc. I recall a copy of Annie Hall that went missing when I ‘accidentally on purpose’ broke-up with a girl over email, while she was on her ‘Trip Of A Lifetime’ holiday in South America. I’ve probably got some emotional trauma the size of 9/11 heading my way for that one…

In between King of Pop medleys, our friends’ band Calories take to the stage and it’s perfect timing. Not only do they have male gang chant vocals and a penchant for emo, but they also rip through their heartfelt bro-anthem “Drugged” claiming it to be a “love song for men”.  Sweet, dude. With this blasting in our ears, surrounded by increasingly Girls Gone Wild female behaviour, I’m starting to think I must have planned all of this.  Or I’m very lucky. Either way, I’m a great friend. But because we’re fairly sober dudes, we head for the exit before the end, SWS drinking in the feeling of a newly awakened single life. London is a good place to do that.

We arrive home to catch the final crushing scene of betrayal in Carlito’s Way, quietly appreciative of our own loyal friendships, and we toast an excellent evening with cups of tea and thoughts of more of the same tomorrow. Brothers in arms.