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College Ave Mag


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Bros Beyond the Frat

Photo by Austin Pacheco on Unsplash

Bruh, amigo, homie, chum, broseph… just a few of the things “bros” have been known to call each other. Fraternity life is 100 percent about “the brotherhood,” about making lifelong ties and friendships. But what about the dudes that aren’t part of these organizations? Is true bro-culture achievable outside of Greek Life?

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In the popular sitcom, “How I Met Your Mother,” one of the main characters, Barney Stinson, creates the “Bro Code” a list of over 80 articles that make one a true “bro.” These range anywhere from article 12, “Bros do not share dessert,” to the extremely specific article 55, “Even in an emergency that requires a tourniquet, a bro never borrows from or lends clothes to another bro.” This code supports hyper-masculinity in a brotherhood, lending encouragement to the idea that men cannot engage in “feminine” activities such as wearing pink or going to a movie together after five in the evening (article 29).

I was not convinced that this is what true “bro culture” is, so I took it to the bros that are not in fraternities, the ones that are on their own to cultivate this culture for themselves.

First, let’s look at the Webster Dictionary definitions of both “bro” and “culture”:

“Bro” is simply defined asa friendly way of addressing a man or boy and is linked to the definition of “soul brother.”

“Culture” is defined as the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time.

As I investigated the great bro mystery, it became apparent most guys aren’t aware of bro culture. They would ask me to define it, which was something I wasn’t even sure I could do. I would give them examples, but I always had to relate back to the well-known and debated girl culture. After fumbling over explanations of just wanting to know how and why they behave like they do, a few students opened up and talked to me about their experiences with bro culture.

Freshman physics major Noah Basurto told me about his experiences with his international bros. He lived in Guam for four years, and experienced his strongest ties with his bros there. Now that he’s living in Colorado, he’s noticed a lot of the same tendencies within groups.

“No matter where, we give new guys a chance unless they give us a reason not to,” Basurto said.

Basurto talked about how important cultivation time is within the friendships; he estimated it takes a good five months to really form a deep friendship, or bro-ship in this case.

Freshman journalism major Riley de Ryk, who grew up in Colorado Springs, chatted with me about how it was coming to CSU with a group of bros he had already formed in high school.

“I already had a community up here which was really nice, and it also helps with making other friends too. It’s a lot easier to make friends in groups,” Ryk said.

Ryk talked about how it isn’t about having to fit into a group of dudes in a new situation; for him it is all about finding the people he meshes well with in a new setting.

After interviewing these two, I knew that I needed more perspective. What about people that are close to frats, but aren’t in them?

Freshman journalism major Johnny Westerberg is an out-of-state student with an in-state roommate that is in a fraternity, Quinn Miller.

“I ended up hanging out with a lot of his [Quinn’s] friends, and they already had their group of friends from high school and I was accepted pretty quick. I mean, I didn’t have to go through initiation or anything, but we clicked,” Westerberg said.

Bro culture is proving to be a supportive network of dudes chilling out and occasionally roasting each other. As Ryk put it, “I think bro culture is worldwide. It’s being friends with a group of guys; you can do that anywhere.”

So my dudes, thank you for the glimpse into your culture.


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