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Cracking the Guy Code: Deciphering the unspoken rules
Question of the Day
More recently, an episode of the sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” saw the character Barney Stinson (played by Neil Patrick Harris) espouse the virtues of the “Bro Code,” a tongue-in-cheek guide to male friendship later turned into a pair of books, primarily penned by show writer Matt Kuhn. Among its do’s-and-don’ts:
Article 8: A Bro never sends a greeting card to another Bro.
Article 44: A Bro never applies sunscreen to another Bro.
Article 52: A Bro is not required to remember another Bro’s birthday, though a phone call every now and then probably wouldn’t kill him.
Cracking the Code
Rule No. 30: A hug involves one - and only one - arm.
When Toronto Raptors players Reggie Evans and Leandro Barbosa walked off the court following a victory over the Orlando Magic last spring, they did - at least by Guy Code standards - the unthinkable.
They held hands.
No bro-dacious fist bump.
No supportive, you-might-have-a-torn-ACL arm over the shoulder.
Just … intertwined fingers! The same affectionate gesture, it should be noted, that is totally cool and decidedly non-sexual in many other countries, and also when deployed during meetings between American presidents and Saudi royals.
“Fitting into the code, a piece of it is to assert that we are straight men,” Mr. Greif said. “For my book, we did research with 400 guys. A large percentage let the fear of appearing gay shift the kinds of things they will do with their male friends.”
In part, the Code is rooted in a desire to not send the wrong sexual signals. Article 27: A Bro never removes his shirt in front of other Bros, except at a resort pool or on the beach.
More broadly, the Code is a coping mechanism for male social fears and insecurities.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Patrick Hruby is an award-winning journalist who holds degrees from Georgetown and Northwestern. He also contributes to ESPN.com and The Atlantic Online, and his work has been featured in The Best American Sports Writing. Follow him on Twitter (@patrick_hruby) and contact him at PatrickHruby.net.
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