Bromance is such an interesting area of study because the conflict between hyper-masculine traits and the idea of homosexuality has been dated throughout history. While reading Becker's essay, I couldn't but help but think of the Japanese warrior class, the samurai, and the Greek warring state, Sparta. Both of these separate cultures epitomize the idea of masculinity, or at least Hollywood does, with the movie "300" and Tom Cruise's "The Last Samurai." The common theme behind these movies seem to concentrate on the close bond these men form through tradition and long hours of training....so, in short, bromances. I wasn't reminded of these particular social classes because of their bravery, awesome military skills and blah blah blah, but instead I found it interesting that both of these social classes had a history of homosexuality. I am sure Tom Cruise and Gerald Butler would have passed on the role if their movies were to take a very historically accurate perspective.
For the Japanese samurai, "it was customary for a boy in the wakashū age category to undergo training in the martial arts by apprenticing to a more experienced adult man. The man was permitted, if the boy agreed, to take the boy as his lover until he came of age; this relationship, often formalized in a "brotherhood contract", was expected to be exclusive, with both partners swearing to take no other (male) lovers. This practice, along with clerical pederasty, developed into the codified system of age-structured homosexuality known as shudō, abbreviated from wakashūdo, the "way (do) of wakashū". The older partner, in the role of nenja, would teach the wakashū martial skills, warrior etiquette, and the samurai code of honor, while his desire to be a good role model for his wakashū would lead him to behave more honorably himself; thus a shudō relationship was considered to have a "mutually ennobling effect". In addition, both parties were expected to be loyal unto death, and to assist the other both in feudal duties and in honor-driven obligations such as duels and vendettas."
The warring state of Sparta saw homosexuality as an essential cornerstone of their society. They believed that their close relationships that had been developed off the battlefield would carry on into battle, allowing them to have a tactical advantage over their enemies. "Like other institutions in Plutarch’s Sparta, homosexuality had as its end the preservation of the state. Lycurgus believed that love ties between men who were comrades-in-arms increased allegiance to their ranks. In a word, homosexual love promoted battlefield determination -- lovers joined in the battle field side-by-side, the lawgiver felt, made for better soldiering -- and all the better fostered the love of state."
I know that Bromance differs in these historical societies in a way because Bromance seems to embrace many of the same attributes, but at the same time deny any homosexual tendencies or allusions. Another urbandictionary word that I can easily associate with bromance is "TFM" or total frat move and it is used to describe someone performing a hyper masculine action with no homosexual allusion.