Thursday, August 9, 2012

Being ‘bro’ for a day


By Dashiell Young-Saver

I don’t know if it’s because I’m a nerd or an only child, but I’ve always been fascinated by the “bros.”

For those of you who don’t know what a “bro” is exactly, a bro is a young man who can be found at any party, nightclub, beach or gym. 
They are everywhere in Southern California and are most known for: 
-traveling in packs, like wolves, except they have more body hair and do more howling (mostly at girls). 
-having a uniform: athletic shorts, a small tank top, a wide-brimmed cap, two glass stud earrings and fine Italian sunglasses handmade in Venice—actually, let me rephrase that last part: great rip-off Italian glasses hand-sold in Venice Beach. 
-not speaking English. They speak “bro,” a language that has only four words: “bench press,” “dude” and “chicks.” They have to get creative to speak with the locals. One time, I heard a bro order a “chicks press” at a restaurant. Thankfully, it was El Pollo Loco and the dish was on the menu.
-driving large, black trucks that run on the tears of baby sea lions. 
-spending most of their time emphasizing the fact that they are heterosexual and masculine. But this can be hard sometimes because they spend most of their time admiring the muscle mass of other bros.
But I’ve never really understood the bros.
If there were nothing under their superficial image, how could they find life interesting? They must have some sort of secret hidden under their sleeves.
So, in a quest to find that secret, I decided to join their ranks for a while by experiencing their natural habitat—24 Hour Fitness at 1 a.m.
I drove my mom’s Prius to the gym with two of my close friends, not bros, of course. When we parked, the car was barely visible beneath the sea of gas-guzzling pickups.
We walked in and the workout area was almost deserted. Booming from the loudspeakers was a dreadful slew of techno slow jams, including a version of “Tiny Dancer” that has Elton John sounding like a robot going through puberty.
Unfortunately, it was a Saturday night (or Sunday morning), so there were only three bros in the gym. The rest were out partying.
We talked to one bro for a little bit, asking how often he wore tank tops.
“Pretty much every day,” he responded. “All my shirts have no sleeves, and the ones I buy with sleeves, I rip them off for a better range of motion.”
He was definitely a bro. We talked a little longer, but pretty soon, after covering the great philosophical bro topics of abs, pecs, shoulders and biceps, there was nothing else to talk about, and he left to do his workout alone.
We stayed for a while, working out like the bros did. I figured that doing a bro activity with my friends would help me find their secret. Instead, I almost found a hernia.
Feeling dejected and exhausted, we left the gym. Despite my desire to go home and write my column, one of my friends convinced me to make a stop at Denny’s. It was 2:30 a.m.
I told him I really couldn’t go, but he insisted. I figured I could afford to shake my responsibilities for one night. Anyway, that’s what a bro would do.
Turns out, there were a lot of bros at Denny’s that night. They had just come from a country music bar, so they had cowboy hats on. I heard one at the next table order a “pressed chick’s dude, over easy.”
But I didn’t want to talk to bros anymore. Instead, I talked to my friend about politics, the notion of free will and the plausibility of the existence of God. I was still depressed, so the restaurant seemed dark and the syrup bitter. I really just wanted to go home, write my article and go to bed.
It started to get really loud in restaurant. Some of the more intoxicated bros went from table to table, yelling and lifting up their shirts. Others threw their pancakes around like Frisbees.
Normally, I would be dark and critical, making sarcastic comments about what was happening. But I was too tired. So I let myself watch. To my surprise, I began to enjoy it.
There was laughter at every table. The waiters had smiles on their faces. The presence of the bros seemed to turn the restaurant from a sad place in the wee hours of the morning into a partying sanctuary, protecting everyone inside from the cold, dark pressures of the outside world.
I finally realized something about the secret that the bros hid under their sleeves—they don’t have sleeves.
“I found the secret of the bros,” I told my friend excitedly. “They don’t have one. They just take life as it comes and don’t think about it too much. It’s simple genius.”
“Cool story, bro. Pass the syrup.”
“Sure thing, bro,” I replied.
Dashiell Young-Saver graduated from Westlake High School this spring. He will attend Harvard University in the fall.


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