Wednesday, 23 September 2009


In 1980 Jake and Elwood Blues were on a mission from god. With their new found freedom the Blues Brothers jumped into their 1968 Black Cadillac Fleetwood and took us on a bumpy ride. Through the streets of Chicago, Illinois ‘bromance’ was born. Over the years this portmanteau has been fervently embraced by the film industry; pairing up the boys and sending them each on a journey. Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman found (Shawshank) redemption, Lethal Weapon’s Mel Gibson and Danny Glover upheld the law, Beavis and Butthead did America, Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn crashed your wedding, and Superbad sent Jonah Hill and Michael Sera in search of their manhood. These ‘buddy films’ whispered that a close bond between two men did not automatically suggest homosexual connotations. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. These days these ‘isosocial relationships’ are as vigorous as the metro-sexual beauty regime, and both are being readily accepted by the world at large. Ever wish you were vigilante Batman or how about Superman?

However, what hasn’t had wide coverage is the ‘man crush’ – when a man is completely smitten by another man; a neologism which usually concerns celebrities, musicians or athletes. It is a desire driven by admiration for or jealousy of an individual, who is believed to be more fortunate, talented or good-looking. Similar to ‘bromance’ this phenomenon concerns non-sexual relationships but unlike ‘bromance’ it derives from idolization or infatuation. Take for example David Beckham, men all over the world have admitted to having a ‘man crush’ on the English-born football-star, who not only plays good football, earns good money and looks good, he is also married to former Spice Girl, Victoria ‘Posh’ Beckham. As soon as the player enters a room, conversations fall to a hush and eager gentleman, push past the love-struck women, and coyly make a beeline toward him; holding out their hands in preparation for his sturdy grasp, ready to shower him with praise and admiration.

In 1994, season five of TV show, 'Seinfeld' hit the screens and embraced the ‘man crush’: “You know, I think George has a non-sexual crush on him… I mean, every time I see him, it's Tony this, Tony that. George is like a school girl around him”. In the 76th episode, George develops a ‘man crush’ on Tony (actor Dan Cortese), a vapid, ‘mimbo’ (male bimbo) rock climber; imitating Tony’s backward cap-style, insouciant mannerisms and lexicon, George admits that ‘it's a different world when you're with a cool guy’. Recently, a good male friend of mine experienced a similar situation, in which he was the recipient of some man love; a highly-strung enthusiasm and unrequited adoration that seemed rather unjustified. My male friend is no rock-star, albeit he plays some mighty fine Guitar Hero, and yet this particular male admirer was smitten. My friend’s girlfriend, on the other hand, was often sidelined and ignored, any attention that she did receive was of an undesirable nature, and this included many ice-cold death-stares from her boyfriend’s frisson fan.

Such behaviour is often witnessed at music concerts, in which fanatical female fans are forced to compete with over-zealous male fans. We girls anticipate the vexation of our sisters and their underhanded methods; the elbow in the back or the heel on the foot, but what we don’t expect are the guys. The guys who are just as keen to catch the musician’s gaze or experience the tactile sensation of his touch, as the barely dressed girl standing beside them. They reach over us, leaning their weight, while attention-seekingly waving their hands in their air. They hug one another, slur ‘flattering’ comments, spill their drinks and have no regard for their surroundings. At a recent Mike Snow gig the lead singer was more than willing to shake the hand of those male fanatics, enough to make their knees buckle. This is man love at its best - backed by a beat.

In early 2000, the world watched as former Prime Minister John Howard fell for George W. Bush’s cowboy swagger; enough to persuade Howard, amongst other things, to send SAS troops to Afghanistan and Iraq. He also signed a Free Trade Agreement with the US and from this alliance or ‘man crush’, a highly-publicized ‘bromance’ soon flourished. Mr Howard announced Australia was the best friend the United States ever had and the two men ‘fought’ the war against terrorism, mano-a-mano.

In the Anglo-Saxon world, men can now feel comfortable expressing their platonic love for a male buddy - sans the identity crisis. Have you ever heard a guy say “I’m not gay but if I was ‘insert name here’ would be the one”? I have. Man crushes are no longer kept in the dark, instead they stand up with confidence; at the football stadium, in the movies, see Clooney, Pitt and Affleck and their ultimate series of ‘bromantic’ comedies, Ocean's 11, 12 and 13, and at concerts – even in the front row. Don’t believe us? Check out, a voting-based site founded in 2005 by Eric Vecchione, which caters for the growing number of gents who appreciate their hombros. Currently Jesus is number one, lucky number two is jail-house rock legend Elvis Presley, who is closely followed by Hollywood’s twisted bad-ass Edward Norton. But don’t be confused, this is pure unadulterated isosexual love. In the words of Scrub's besties JD and Turk “it’s man love, that’s all it is”.

1 comment:

  1. Nice article :)

    Oh, can I add George Clooney to my list. A new broad every week, stylish wardrobe, millions, respect. Who wouldn't want to be Clooney.


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I am more than prone to monologues; however, this is solely due to the manner in which they compliment a witty anecdote and their ability to resemble concrete evidence when it is so obviously lacking. I often wish I could emulate that aloof character who coolly stands in the corner smiling mysteriously as if she has a secret. However, I fear resisting the temptation to involve myself in other people’s conflicts and responding through body language rather than verbose banter may come across as contrived and arrogant. And, I am not willing to take that chance.

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