The term “bro” is used as a broad sociocultural characterization amongst college populations; however, it oftentimes carries negative connotations. One might, for example, picture a lanky, 6’3 lacrosse athlete named Scooter who spends his days planning his ascent into corporate stardom and his evenings passed out, facedown into a plate of Buffalo wings. Ranch dressing on the side.
Who the heck is Scooter, you might ask yourself, and why does he think he is ten times #cooler than he actually is?
Yet, Scooter is just one wolf in a many-bodied bro pack.
What constitutes a “bro?” According to the highly reputable Urban Dictionary, “bros” are “obnoxious partying males often seen at college parties.” This could be true — depending on where you go to college and how much you trust items you read on the Internet. Personally, I think that definition is a bit reductionist and unfair. Bros are so much more than solo cup wielding, FIFA playing, Burnett’s loving, Snapback wearing half-animals.
There are some bros with a hidden soft side.
You just have to scope them out. Go to parties and survey the room for the guy standing by himself — slowly bobbing his head to “Wake Me Up” by Avicii* while looking as though he slightly regrets the debauchery and the hordes of people taking blurry Instagram photos around him. Go up to him, tell him he looks vaguely familiar, and ask if you have class together. If he says no, cut your losses and wander elsewhere — he seems lame, anyways. If he says yes (and there’s an 80 percent likelihood he’ll say yes, even if he has never seen you before), go with it.
Later, if you get the chance, hang out with him again. Discuss his penchant for Russian literature, which is just as strong as his passion for subpar sports blogs — which feature pictures of Kate Upton. Hate the fact that he loves pictures of Kate Upton but know that he ultimately respects women — even if he does occasionally shoulder pop to that one Robin Thicke song. Sensitive bros are, at heart, respectful and tender creatures. They just get caught up in misguided cultural pressures that encourage them to treat and think of women with the half-hearted, hot-and-cold wishy-washiness that most Patriots fans treat Tom Brady.
Discover that he, your sensitive bro, has a copy of Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski on his bathroom counter, next to his toothpaste and economy-sized bottle of Axe body spray. The rest will be history, and you better start to feel the butterflies flutter in your stomach after that moment. Flush the toilet, wash your hands, and wipe them on your pants because he doesn’t keep any towels in his bathroom. Go back outside, grab him, and never let him go — because you caught yourself a rare, good one in a sea of otherwise slippery, thrashing beasts.
You’ll have to tell your friends, the next time you see them, that you “oh my god, can’t even” but “like, wait, so totally dig him.”
*Once, someone told me that he had a radio show on our college station. During his weekly hour-long segment, he and his cohost only played different remixes of “Levels” by Avicii. He was clearly a bro (duh, Avicii) but also sensitive (because he had a radio show)…and it was like #Cupid was smacking me repeatedly in the face while we talked.