From 2007, the Year of the Bro

Ah, frat boys. Consider the plight of young privileged males on the college campuses of America. More boy than man, these sturdy, somewhat elongated young stags are in the grips of what Tom Wolfe winkingly called “the season of the rising sap.” Completely housebroken, of course, but pretending otherwise to impress their “Bros.”

Bros should not be confused with dudes. Bros are closer than dudes, but dudes can become Bros after some straight-boy ritual of male bonding like consecutive all-nighters playing Halo 3 and ordering out for Taco Bell or performing any of the American tribal stunts seen in the Jackass films — taking turns riding in a shopping cart, for instance, as it barrels down a hill into traffic, then putting the video up on YouTube or your Facebook page.

It’s the deep basso chuckle of collective Bro-dom that one hears in darkened movie theaters when the notice comes up before the Jackass films warning that the stunts onscreen are performed by “professionals” and should not be attempted by the jackasses in the audience.

In a world where closet doors have swung open, guy-bonding must never be mistaken for gay-bonding. Thus the phenomenon of the gay seat. This is what the Bros call the empty seat that’s left between two friends who go to the movie together but who must never be confused with being together. To double insure this, the Bros are most likely to attend what they call dick flicks, movies characterized by car crashes, explosions and boobs. Dick flicks are the polar opposite of romance-sappy chick flicks and peopled almost exclusively by other guys all psychologically separated by empty seats.

Homosexuality — serious homosexuality and not the gross-out joke kind — crosses their mind, if at all, at the far infrared reaches of the spectrum, and then in a sort of skittering, hastily receding Doppler effect. Yet, at this stage, they know one thing undeniably. The company of guys is the most fun thing in the world: guys who share their same goofball love for babes, booze and first-person shooters.

Particularly appealing is the crude humor and the joy of grossing each other out with semi-porn poses when the cell phones start snapping away at the drunken frat parties. The sleeping friend is always an irresistible target for mooning behinds and snarky penises dangled near the face (but always and importantly in a shy, flaccid state).