Worst fears of a bromance - the dreaded dudevorce

21 June 2015 - 21:04 By Ndumiso Ngcobo

One of the most hilarious aspects of belonging to that not-so-exclusive club of silly mammals known as human males is how our emotional development seems to freeze around about the time our voices start breaking and hair grows in our armpits. If there was an Olympic code involving a 3000m race between a man's physical development and his emotional maturation, the physical side would lap the emotional about 12 times before crossing the finish line.I have been friends with my buddy Sifiso since we got entangled in a fist fight in a primary school soup queue in the 1981st year of our Lord and yet I have never told him I love him.And note the use of the neutral, meaningless word "buddy" instead of the more appropriate, but emotionally loaded (in the eyes of a man) "friend". In fact, you can't even call another man "my friend" in certain testosterone circles unless you want people to give you a wider berth than Shilowa at a COPE parliamentary caucus meeting.block_quotes_start There is no meeting characterised by lots of weeping and blowing of noses in paper napkins block_quotes_endBut the truth of the matter is that men are more often than not involved in very deep emotional relationships - the sort that led to the coining of the urban slang word "bromance". I have only been aware of the word since circa 2009, when the Hollywood flick I Love You, Man was released. A bromance is defined as an intimate but non-sexual relationship between two, usually heterosexual, men.That "heterosexual" bit is inserted to ostensibly distinguish it from the Elton John and David Furnish kinda love because Lord forbid a straight man is confused with a gay one.History is littered with examples of prominent bromances. Roman general Mark Antony was involved in a very tight bromance with the emperor Julius Caesar and even fought his wars in places such as Gaul. So great was their bromance that Antony started a romance with Caesar's former lover, the Egyptian queen Cleopatra.Even closer to home, our own Zulu emperor, Shaka, was inseparable from his trusted lieutenant, Mbopha ka Sithayi, even though that bromance ended on a bloody, sour note. During the ANC struggle for liberation, great bromances were spawned, including the Nelson and Walter friendship that blossomed on the Island.And lest we forget: for almost three decades leading up to the 2007 putsch of Polokwane, Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma were like coffee and Cremora - inseparable. In sporting circles you had Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher.full_story_image_hleft1I bet when Kallis realised that alopecia was pushing back his hairline faster than the Kalahari Desert is encroaching on arable land, he consulted Bouchie first before deciding to have those wispy pubes implanted to avoid going fully chrome dome. Need I invoke Juju and Floyd?That is all leading up to the fact that I have recently come across a slang word from the urban dictionary that complements the bromance word. Apparently when a bromance goes sour and men end their relationship, this is called a dudevorce. I should know. I have gone through two dudevorces in recent times.Now, while a normal divorce is generally quite dramatic, public and very official, a dudevorce is usually an extremely clumsy and awkward affair. The reason has obviously to do with how emotionally stunted the average chap is. I mean, how do you dudevorce a guy when you've never acknowledged that you're emotionally attached to him? The relationships of males (read: psychologically prepubescent Stone Age Homo erectus) are generally based on barely sublimated homophobic hysteria after all.story_article_right1So when it becomes apparent that things are not working out, there is no WhatsApp text that reads, "Dude, it's not you. It's me." There is no meeting at Mugg & Bean characterised by lots of weeping and blowing of noses in paper napkins. There isn't anyone who yells, "I cannot believe that you would do this to me!" Instead, all you get is stony silence. That's it.During my last dudevorce, I didn't even realise I'd been dudevorced until about two months later.And this was after about a dozen of my "Oi, Hyena Breath, wanna grab one Castle draught or seven later today?" texts went unanswered. I just thought the bastard was really busy and didn't have time to help me put together another buddy's birthday party. Boy, did I feel silly when the penny finally dropped!Of course, I started feeling a little better when I put things into perspective. People grow up, and growth comes with change. And change is generally a good thing. Besides, I figured, at least I didn't discover that the bromance was over in the way that King Shaka did when Ka Sithayi joined forces with his brothers Dingane and Mhlangana to carve him up like a piece of steak.That said, the brotherhood of men needs to grow up. And our kids show us the way every single day. About 17 years ago I witnessed a far more grown-up dudevorce than I've ever personally experienced, between my first-born and one of his preschool friends.I was dropping him off when he just stepped up to this kid and announced, "You nah mah fend anymore!"In the words of Selebi, finish and klaar.E-mail Ndumiso Ngcobo at ngcobon@sundaytimes.co.za or find him on twitter @NdumisoNgcobo..

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