The Literacy of the Bro

The Literacy of the Bro

Being an almost 21-year-old in college, I, naturally, have a thriving love/hate relationship with the Bro.

Bros are great in a “you’re not actually something I like, but I find you hilarious” kind of way (like hipsters). They drink lots of cheap beer, usually from a red cup, wear obnoxious man tank tops and possibly Ed Hardy (depends on the specific species of Bro), think they’re hot stuff, and generally don’t have brains. They work out a lot. At parties, they creep on girls, and then nod knowingly to other bros when dancing with said girls. Or else they’re playing beer pong.

As you can tell from my brief description, today’s youth culture just wouldn’t be the same without the Bro. (Again, like hipsters.)

Literary people around the States have recently being giving Bros their proper literary due, and being an almost 21-year-old in college studying literature, I feel that we must give these upstanding alterations, innovations, and analyses of literature their due.

I first came across the Bro in literature at a website called On the Bro’d. On the Bro’d’s mission is to re-write On the Road by Jack Kerouac, in its entirety, in Bro. Here’s an excerpt you’re all sure to recognize:

But then they strutted down the streets like total pimps, and I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after bros who interest me, because the only bros for me are the awesome ones, the ones who are mad to chug, mad to party, mad to bone, mad to get hammered, desirous of all the chicks at Buffalo Wild Wings, the ones who never turn down a Bud Light Lime, but chug, chug, chug like fucking awesome players exploding like spiders across an Ed Hardy shirt and in the middle you see the silver skull pop and everybody goes “Awww!”

On the Bro’d is only roughly half-way through the novel right now. If you haven’t been following the blog, they have a button that’ll take you right back to the beginning so you can read it in order.

Another literary bro phenomenon is the invention of “broetry.” It’s Bro. And poetry. Combined. How can you lose?

Broetry is basically what it sounds like. They’re poems, usually free verse because bros don’t know how to rhyme (just kidding, talented broetry writers out there!), about hot wings, Hooters, and drinking lots of beer.

Broetry by Brian McGackin (Quirk Books 2011) is one of the few (or, perhaps only) actual books you can purchase if you’re interested in owning some broetry yourself. I haven’t read it, so I can’t judge, but it all its reviews on Amazon have give it either five stars or one star. So that’s interesting. One thing’s for sure though: it has a freaking awesome cover, taking on some William Carlos Williams and featuring this masterpiece of our generation:

I have finished

the beer

that was in

the ice box


and which

you were probably


for Friday


Forgive me

this girl came over

so sweet

and so hot

If you want some more broetry samples, check out “Bro is my Soul” by Joel Bustamante, or Christopher Wink’s blog post on Quirk Books’ Broetry Slam they put on to help publicize and celebrate McGackin’s collection. And if you especially liked William Car-bros Williams poem up there, you’re sure to appreciate this one by Edgar Allan Bro.

I read a blog post a few weeks ago in which this girl was discussing which Jane Austen character she thought was most brotastic, but it appears to have disappeared according to Google and I can’t remember which character she ended up picking. Was it Mr. Bingley? I guess I’ll never be sure.

Needless to say, that got me thinking on which literary characters I’d pegged as total bros. “The Hipster-Literary-Bro Continuum” on The Literary Man helps us to place authors. Obviously, Ernest Hemingway makes the cut. I’m having trouble brainstorming, but here are the few literary bros that come to mind:

  • Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway: Mr. Gatsby definitely loves a good party, but I have to throw Nick in because together they’re the cutest bromantic broskis.
  • Dracula: Let’s be honest here. If we just forget the fact he’s smart, Dracula has lots of bro qualities. He definitely likes his beautiful women, and we can just pretend blood is beer in his case. On that note, I feel like most shallow vampires are rather broish (except for the Cullens). They tend to enjoy great wealth, beautiful women and men, partying, and drinking the blood of many different partners.
  • Pretty much every male character in Shakespeare’s comedies:

Sir Toby Belch: Approach, sir Andrew: not to be a-bed after midnight, is to be up betimes; and diluculo surgere, thou knowest,–

Sir Andrew Aguecheek: Nay, by my troth, I know not: but I know, to be up late is to be up late.

Sir Toby: A false conclusion; I hate it as an unfilled can. To be up after midnight, and to go to bed then, is early; so that, to go to bed after midnight, is to go to bed betimes. Does not our life consist of the four elements?

Sir Andrew: Faith, so they say, but I think it rather consists of eating and drinking.

Sir Toby: Thou’rt a scholar; let us therefore eat and drink.—Marian, I say!—a stoop of wine.

Twelfth Night; Or, What You Will, Act II: Scene III

First of all, his last name is Belch. Second of all, I’m pretty sure I’ve heard that exact conversation on campus before, and it was not in a Shakespeare class.

And finally, just for fun, the best for last: Harry Potter’s 10 Most Bromantic Moments.


(And the “Brothello” photo was totally found at Failblog, they get the credz.)