Now that the term “Bromance” is showing up in pop culture so prevalently, I found myself asking the question, why? Also, what changes might it bring to heterosexual relationships between men and women? As horrific a plague as AIDS is and has been on the world, perhaps it has changed men and their capacity for intimacy. When gay men started going to funerals as often as they were going to the gym, a change began to take place in the mating habits of homosexual men.
I started to see it in my practice: more gay men searching for relationships with men that had genuine intimacy and partnership. Although there is more tolerance in the male gay culture for non-monogamous relationships, as their friends began dying prematurely, more gay men began to seek a deeper connection than just sex with other men. Now that we are twenty five years down the road and another whole generation has reached adulthood, straight men are evolving and developing a stronger sense of their feminine side. Now, we women have pretty much taken credit for that as we entered the work force into more powerful positions and demanded more of men, thus developing our masculine side too.
Some of that may be true. Straight men have become more feminine as a result of the Feminist Movement but I think that gay men coming out of the closet has also had a huge impact on the relationship needs of straight guys. The prevalence of men raised by single mothers in this generation (a rather new phenomenon) created a void in traditional male modeling for intimacy, not just with women but in their friendships with men as well. Both men and women are searching for lives that contain meaning and purpose. Intimacy in relationships (all relationships) is growing stronger as we become more isolated in this cyberspace definition of friendship. Ashley Montagu’s seminal book, Touching: The Human Significance of the Skin (first published in 1971) showed us many years ago that we need to physically touch each other without sex necessarily as a follow up. It is interesting to note that the hard back release of Touching coincided with the beginning of the Gay Rights Movement and the paperback edition came out in 1986 as the AIDS epidemic in America began to proliferate in the straight world. Coincidence?
Who knew that the group who brought us Michel Angelo, Truman Capote, and Versace would also bring straight men into deeper connection with each other? As a straight woman who believes some straight men are capable of emotional intimacy, I thank you Harvey Milk and every brave gay man who has chosen to openly fight for the right to marry. Whether you know it or not, you are helping us women not just as our fashion consultants and substitute for boyfriends on Saturday night, but also by influencing our future husbands by your stand for marriage.
Dr. Toni Galardi is a licensed psychotherapist who has just published a book called The LifeQuake Phenomeonon. The thrust of her work is to assist people in releasing old beliefs that keep them from living a life that is authentic and joyful.
For more information: go to her website, www. LifeQuake.net or call
310-712-2600 for personal consultation.