1. Set your jaw. Lock eyes. Slightly flare nostrils. Smile as if nothing is going on, and nod with your eyelids like an Abercrombie ad. Because Everything is going on. Because not only is he going after your woman, he’s doing it wearing beer-soiled dress pants and no shoes: It’s not a faux pas, it’s a sin.
2. Four years earlier, when we both answered to she, Adrien had become my bro like this: I interrupted his flirting to tell him I didn’t know what I was attracted to but it wasn’t him; he told everyone I was straight and I stayed in the closet for a year longer. We did not express affection for one another again.
3. We were raised by dykes and straight women who were really gay and gay women who fell for even the maleness about us, so we taught each other how to be bros:
(it was pretty simple)
Instead of talking about our feelings, we objectified people.
4. I didn’t tell him that when he gave me haircuts, the way he held my head reminded me of my mother.
And that when he had sex, three or four times, with the woman I was sleeping with and didn’t tell me, I only cared that he didn’t tell me. I was glad she’d experienced those hands.
When we got too close, in one of our rough embraces or rougher shouting matches, I often restrained myself from kissing him. I wanted to taste his fear.
5. Other times his fear was forced upon me, like
when he had thrown me against the basement wall skull to concrete and headlocked, calling me a “fuckin’ white liberal,”
I should have slapped him hard in the face and XXX XXX XXX XXX. Instead I cowered under his strength, tried to protect my head from the light show, and panicked, “my glasses, you’re gonna break my glasses and I can’t afford new ones!”
He threw me again, calling me a hypocrite like I knew he would,
even though his mom’s a professor and mine’s unemployed,
his father’s an absent alcoholic, mine’s a pastor.
Maybe we’re more like our parents than we admit, I thought later.
Maybe some inadequacies are easier to deal with than others.
6. I guess it was seeing his girlfriend in the same position,
her neck pinned to the wood paneling of our living room
that allowed me to taste something sour in our bro-dom.
She and I understood later how we’d sacrificed ourselves.
At the time we just wanted him to understand his own strength.
7. So when you see him, and I am speaking to the bros in the room, set your jaw.
Do not let him take what doesn’t belong to him.
When he stands apart from you, searching for intimacy and mocking women instead, remember:
Distance is power struggle, is insecurity, is need,
and those who are desperate to feel needed take the most from us.
So be the first to give.
Back slaps and half hugs are pathetic excuses for love;
lap dances and forehead kisses are sometimes required,
spooning with extra snuggles should be expected.
Kissing doesn’t have to mean you want to have sex,
(But if you wanna have sex, then have sex!)
Hold his hand.
Your muscle hulk only makes you a man if you use it to hold others
We will be stronger,