[Originally published October 8, 2009.]
The bro is a category of male most commonly found on the campuses of North American universities and colleges. Bros display the most extreme form of homo-social behavior. They are most typically found in groups of other bros who refer to one another as “bro,” “bra,” “broseph,” or some other term of endearment using the prefix “bro-”. The categorizing of bros is a fairly modern development, but bros as a social entity are believed by many to have existed in some form for centuries.
The earliest known recording of an exchange between two bros was during the 1804 expedition of the Northwest Territory by explorers Lewis and Clark. The exchange took place when Clark reportedly asked Lewis to, “Be a bro, and fill up [his] Nalgene” with water from the newly discovered Mississippi River.
The common term “bro” is used as a catchall for bros who don’t fully fall into the sub-categories bra or broseph. It is also sometimes used as an umbrella term encompassing all sub-categories of bro. This makes bros the most common type of bro. The potency of bro-like behavior in a bro can range anywhere from wearing Polo wristbands and constructing towers from empty Coors Light cans, to simply referring to another comrade as “bro,” even in a semi-ironic way.
The bra, as distinguished from the bro or the broseph, tries as much as possible to emphasize his physical prowess. A bra spends much of his waking hours in the gym “liftin’” with his other bras. The bra can be most easily identified by his sleeveless Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirt and backwards baseball cap. A bra is most at home in a setting where he can punch another comrade in the chest and refer to him as his “bra.”
“Broseph” was originally a term reserved for a bro or bra named “Joseph,” but the broseph has since evolved into an entirely separate sub-category of bro. Brosephs are best known for taking bro-like behavior to its extremes. For example, while the wearing of a backward visor is a strong indication of a bro, a broseph may be identified by wearing a visor backwards and upside down. Or where a bro might chew on a stirring straw once or twice a week, a broseph will chew on a stirring straw nearly every day, often repeatedly twirling it around his finger. Additionally, while all categories of bro are known to spend a significant amount of time “mack’n on honeys,” brosephs tend to mack more than any other kind of bro, but with the least amount of success.
A Broseph Stalin is a broseph who so embodies the characteristics of a broseph that he is considered an ideal form of broseph. It is believed that a Broseph Stalin is so rare that only two men in history have ever been accurately referred to as such: the 20th century dictator Joseph Stalin, from whom the term received its namesake, and Charles Guiteau, the man who assassinated President James A. Garfield. However, there has been recent buzz in the brommunity that actor Wesley Snipes is perhaps a Broseph Stalin. Critics are quick to point out, however, that the nomination of Snipes is merely a token attempt to tear down the long-standing color barrier for Broseph Stalins.
One thing that bros of all stripes have in common is the use of their unique vernacular which typically involves the shortening of some multisyllabic words to one syllable and the addition of the prefix “bro-” to others. The following are a few examples.
Brolific — An adjective that describes a bro with particularly philosophical sensibilities
Bromide — A salt of hydrobromic acid consisting of two elements, one of which is bromine, as sodium bromide, NaBr. While the properties of bromide do not physically change when handled by a bro, the chemical is said to hold special significance when it is.
Chews — A term that refers to something to chew on; typically either a piece of chewing gum or a stirring straw.
Croosh — Something that is essential or crucial.
Croosh-chev — Something that is so essential, that the term “croosh” does not adequately express its essentialness. Many outside of the brommunity mistakenly believe this term refers to a bro who shares the characteristics of the former leader of the former Soviet Union, Nikita Krushchev. In fact, Krushchev is often derided by the brommunity for his policy of de-Stalinization, which many bros view as the dismantling of history’s one perfect ubropian society.
Procrastibate — To avoid doing an undesirable activity by masturbating.
Taze — The act of assaulting or attacking another person with a tazer gun. The word “taze” is most famously found in the expression “Quit taze’n me, bro!” which is ironic, because a true bro would never taze another bro. Bros may sometimes use the expression to express a falsely inflated discontent with another bro’s actions. For example, a bro might ask another bro to “quit taze’n him” if that bro successfully “bounces” on him during a beer pong game, or drinks the last Coors Light in the fridge before it has been restocked.
As the brommunity absently glances to the future, there is no telling what lies ahead. Whether it’s the re-Stalinization of Russia or re-re-Stalinization of Russia (after the Russian people taze the international community by rejecting the initial attempt at re-Stalinization), one thing is for certain: the bro will live on long after the man has passed—ideally by being crushed under the unbearable weight of a wall of Coors Light cans.
SUGGESTED READSPage Six By Jared Paul Stern
by Ben Greenman (4/12/2006)
List: In Lineup Form, Possible Nicknames for Semi-Popular Former and Present-Day Major League Baseball Players Using Only The Full Names of Former Catchers Who Themselves Lacked Nicknames
by JT Dobbs (2/15/2001)
List: Nicknames For The Various Manners In Which A Shirt May Be Worn
by Kevin Canfield (5/5/2001)
RECENTLYThe Pagan Origins of Valentine’s Day
by Kathryn Doyle (2/12/2016)
List: Some (More) Things That are Worse Than Being Alone on Valentine’s Day
by Ali Garfinkel (2/12/2016)
Inside Witnesses: One Crime’s Many Narratives: Chris Loses Kevin Outside
by Marti Jonjak (2/12/2016)
POPULARList: Alternatives to Resting Bitch Face
by Susan Harlan (1/25/2016)
Jamie and Jeff’s Note to the Babysitter
by Paul William Davies (1/13/2016)
Eight Excuses I Have Told My Son to Use for His Failure to Hand in English Homework, Excuses I Have Learned are Acceptable During a Thirty-Year Career in Journalism, Books, and Film
by Nick Hornby (2/5/2016)