March 4, 2010

Bromances blossoming at Knox

Walk down the halls of Elder Hall on a weeknight and you will probably notice the faint-blue flicker of an Xbox 360 and the chorus of a Nelly song ricocheting off the walls. Freshmen Mike Hendrick and Will Grumke like it that way.

Since first arriving at Knox last summer, the two have been nearly inseparable. Their first similarity: geographic proximity. Grumke lives in Kirkwood, Mo., and Hendrick in Smithton, Ill., only a short drive away.

“We’re both from the St. Louis area and on the football team. We really have a lot in common,” Hendrick said.

The two do everything together, from weightlifting to social activities and rarely miss a meal together.

“If you’ve ever been around when the two of us are together, it’s always a good time,” Grumke said. “We’re always joking around and having fun.”

The blossoming friendship exemplifies the recent popularity of the term “bromance,” which can be defined as an exceptionally close yet markedly heterosexual relationship between two males.

“Bromances” have been consistently found across mainstream media when referring to close relationships between celebrities. In 2009, Paul Rudd and Jason Segel portrayed a bromance to the extreme in the critically acclaimed motion picture I Love You, Man. Recent notable bromances have included the bond shared by actors Brad Pitt and George Clooney as well as between athletes Tiger Woods and Roger Federer.

But does Knox’s distinct environment create a more effective breeding ground for budding bromances?

“Knox makes lifelong friendships [in general],” freshman Michael Gasparro said. “People can foster relationships with people from a variety of backgrounds and not limit themselves to the same groups. There are many cases of bromance.”

There are many who argue that the tight-knit community only expedites the births of bromances, which in this day and age have all but become an inevitability.

Jay and Silent Bob. Evan and Seth from Superbad. Chewbacca and Han Solo. Wayne and Garth from Wayne’s World. Chandler and Joey from Friends. Bromances have long been accepted as a socially acceptable outlet for an emotional connection outside the conventional romantic relationship.

“We talk about a lot of things,” Hendrick said. “He’s like my brother.”

Grumke expressed similar sentiments, as his biological brother is often away from home due to his job.

“Mike helped me with some personal issues at the start of the year and helped me get through some tough times,” Grumke said.

Although they may perturb significant others at times, bromances are completely healthy. They provide a crutch in times of need as well as an endless stream of humor and a buddy to take on life’s struggles. And for Henrick and Grumke, that’s the way they like it.

Matt McKinney
Matt McKinney is a senior majoring in creative writing and minoring in journalism. His experience with journalism ranges from a year as co-sports editor for TKS to an internship with the Chicago Sun-Times, where he used his Spanish language skills to report a front-page story on changes to federal immigration policy. He has also written for The Galesburg Register-Mail and Knox’s Office of Communications. Matt is the recipient of the 2012 Knox College Kimble Prize for Feature Journalism and two awards from the Illinois College Press Association, including a first place award for sports game coverage. He is currently interning virtually with The Tampa Bay Times and will pursue his master's next year at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

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