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Men have been chucking heavy shit at things since forever. From Ancient Greece’s stone discus, to the rubble chucked into your local river, lads have always been lobbing rocks as far as they can. Now, with the advent of social video, they’re showcasing their “talent” to millions.Head to YouTube and you can watch excitable men drop cars, Xboxes and vending machines from a 45ft tower just for a laugh. Meanwhile, on TikTok, you’ll find hundreds of guys hurling rocks from bridges, where the hashtag #ThrowingRocks has collected over four million views.
Why, Bro? is a semi-regular series where we look at the reasons why men do the things they do.
Most of the related rock videos play out the same: Giddy men shake under the weight of a heavy boulder as they try to hurl it off a bridge and into the water below. The comments are full of appreciative guys sharing notes on the satisfying impact – “best thing I’ve seen all day”, “it’s better than drugs”, “do it again” – or making requests for larger rocks and bigger drops.In one of the most popular videos, TikToker @jayteeemm drops a 125-pound slab from a respectably massive height into a green river below. Over 48 million people have watched this video – with many of the reaction TikToks (aka Duets) seeming to come mostly from men. Men who love tossing rocks.On TikTok – and perhaps all across the world – the rock-loving men demographic is becoming increasingly visible. After a 25 year-old TikTokker named Phoenix uploaded one of her own rock-throwing videos, she noticed a huge uptick of male followers.“My content was definitely tailored towards women and queer folks, so I was just like, this is a cute and wholesome way to say thank you to the guys,” she says. Phoenix dunked some pebbles into the water, landed an impressive skim across a lake and smashed upload. But it blew up.“I got 60,000 followers in the first three days,” she says, “and I ended up with probably close to 100,000 new followers altogether – basically because of that video [of me throwing rocks].”
After this sudden surge of attention, Phoenix checked her gender demographics and realised her male followers had jumped from 20 to almost 60 percent, and her comments became flooded with stone-throwing requests. Now, she launches a rock at something every Monday, dropping stones in water, throwing them off bridges and cracking rocks onto other rocks, all “for the boys”.Again: men, rocks, water – why?According to archaeologist and geologist Dr. Reid Ferring, humans have probably been pelting massive chunks of shit for hundreds of thousands of years. During the late Homo erectus or early Neanderthal periods, throwing rocks was a communal undertaking. It’s also related to survival – how else do you keep a saber-toothed cat off your back and away from your food?“One guy carrying a rock doesn’t have much of a chance. It’s like only having one bullet in your gun – they’re gonna get you afterwards,” Dr. Ferring says. Bring people together, however, and you can make it rain. Rock throwing’s ancient history could explain why the trend is so appealing to modern day men; it’s basically a chaotic bonding experience. Most videos feature several fellas co-operating to pick up a boulder that would be too heavy for just one of them. But even the clips that feature solo throwers have become conversation starters for thousands of guys on the internet.
“We threw rocks constantly as young boys. If you could break a window with a rock and then run away, it was even more fun,” Dr. Ferring says. “We always wanted to see who could throw a rock the farthest. [Throwing rocks] is just a great way to show who the strongest man in the group is.”Also, there’s the aesthetic element. Think about how water ripples when you throw rocks onto it. This is something that 22 year-old Vincenzo Carbone – a self-titled “rock throwing guy” – identifies with. His most popular rock throwing video was viewed by 11 million people, and he says it was motivated by a mix of competition and catharsis. “Personally, it’s a stress reliever,” he says. “When I see the splash I always try to get a bigger one on the next throw. If I’m with someone the goal is to throw it further than my opponent. Sometimes it’s to feel better – and sometimes it’s to show who’s the best.”As far as Carbone is concerned, men are very basic creatures. “We see rock? We throw it. We see stick? We cut tall grass swishing the stick,” he says. “I don’t think there’s a particular reason for that. We simply enjoy the little things.”@andrewdidatweet