We're finally moving past the stereotypical idea that boys will be boys and bros will be bros. Which is good news because, according to a new study published in Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, it turns out these boys and bros may be a lot more affectionate that you think. The study surveyed male British undergraduates who identify as heterosexual about what it means to have a bromance. And what followed can only be described as all the feels.
Interestingly, all but one of the participants said that they participated in “non-sexual physical intimacy,” including kissing, cuddling, and spooning with their bros. In fact, there were references to just lying in bed and having a chat and cuddle with your bro. Which, in scientific terms, translates to a massive "AWWWW!"
Now here's the thing: the study only looked at 30 people, but let's hope that it holds true for bros and bromances everywhere because it's just so damn cute. And, though we're dealing with a small sample size, the fact that 29 out of 30 said they were physical with their friends is definitely telling. Although, as an American living in England I'm not all that surprised. When I first came over here to study abroad, I was shocked that at clubs everybody danced in circles instead of bumping and grinding — except for the boys on the ruby team who basically had a writhing, hetero, back-slapping orgy any time there was music. British men take their bromances seriously.
Another exciting part of the study was that all of the participants said they had at least once close friend that they would count as a bromance. Which means that there are a lot of close, fulfilling friendships happening. And these friendships seem really meaningful — participants describe bromances as "someone who is literally there for you all the time” and “will always be there to back you up if you need it," according to researchers. Which sounds like a really strong friendship indeed.
Before we get too carried away with this study, though, it's important to think about why it's news-worthy. The fact that we're surprised and taken aback by platonic, male-on-male affections rests on very gendered assumptions. We probably wouldn't be as surprised if the same data was revealed about women or gay men — and we may not find it as patronizingly adorable. So it's an important sign that society is moving towards accepting and even celebrating the softer side of masculinity and male friendships — but we still find it very much the exception to the rule.
So next time there's some bro-bonding on the horizon, put away your thoughts of Jaegerbombs and video games. Because there's every chance that they're just looking for a spoon and a nice long chat. And really, who isn't?