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What's Up With Love?

​Ask a Bro is a column dissecting bro culture in all its beefy, V-necked forms. First up, we went to a wedding in West Virginia to ask bros what they think about love.
July 21, 2015, 4:00pm
Image by Chris Classens

If love really is patient, kind, unenvious, unboasting, and unproud, it might be the polar opposite of what we know as the bro, a notoriously self-seeking figure whose quickness to anger might only be matched by his delight in evil. Or that's what I thought, at least, as I made my way south recently to celebrate my brother Evan's wedding. Because Evan spent most of his young life playing on increasingly muscular and intimidating baseball teams, I expected his groomsmen to be bros in a very classic, punching-each-other-on-the-arm-as-they-take-shots-and-talk-about-A-Rod kind of way. What I didn't expect was how damn sentimental they'd be.


All photos by the author

Bobby, 22

BROADLY: Since we're at a wedding, we should talk about love.
Bobby: Love? Man, it's a rough topic for me.

Do you believe in it?
Yeah. If you didn't have someone you wanted to spend the rest of your life with, what's the point of spending the rest of your life doing anything?

So you derive all of life's meaning from another person?
Without reproduction, there would not be life, and in my opinion without love there shouldn't be reproduction.

Yeah. We're human because we go above the biological meaning of reproduction as all other animals do [it]. That's the biggest thing that diversifies us. I don't think any animals share the same love that humans do.

Do you believe in sex before marriage?
I'm not against sex before marriage. I believe sex is a big part of love. Should you really have sex with someone before you love them? Probably not. But will I say I go by that? Not necessarily.

What's a good age to get married?
Whatever's right for you. Whenever you're stable, whenever you know what you want to do with your life. Some people take longer to settle down-if it's going to take you a little longer to settle down, don't rush into marriage, because you're just going to make a mistake. I would say anywhere from 20 to 30.

Do you believe husband and wife should be equal?
Yeah. I mean, why wouldn't they be? Women were made from my rib, but that's equality right there.

How is that equality?
We're made from the same thing. Women were made from men's flaws, in a sense, and it was to make us whole. I think without women, there's no reason for men, and without men, there's no reason for women.


What about gay people?
Personally, if you want to be gay, you can be gay. Do I support you? No. Am I going to go out there and bash you for being homosexual? No. I'm not going to go up [to you] and say, "Hey, I'm so proud of you," but if you want to do it, go ahead and do it. I'm never going to put you on the spot and be like, "This dude's a queer."

Stephen, 24; Teddy, 22

BROADLY: Do you believe in love?
Stephen: With today's times, I believe love is a true thing that's hard to find. Many people find it before marriage, and they marry the wrong person, and that's why almost 50 percent, every other couple you meet, has been divorced. I think love is a once-in-a lifetime thing, and I believe there's a right person out there somewhere, but I don't know if we always find it. I'm not sure we all know what "love" truly is.

OK. That's a lot of different things.
Stephen: I'm saying I think we all fall in love, but we don't always find our true love.
Teddy: I 100 percent think that love is an experience.
Stephen: You're right! What he's saying is-no, what he's saying-I know what you're saying. Can I say something? He's saying that we, like-I love this beer. I love your brother. I love Evan.
Teddy: Oh, yeah. Great guy. Love him.
Stephen: But there's a difference between love and soul mates. I've fallen in love before, but it wasn't "the one."

What does falling in love feel like?
Teddy: I think honestly that whenever I fall in love with a girl, I will look at her like my mother. There's certain times you probably hate your mother as well-she'll tell you to clean your room or do whatever-but at the same time you're doing that, you love her at the bottom of your heart.
Stephen: If you're in love, it's that breathless moment, where you pause-
Teddy: You're reading from a book now.
Stephen: No, I'm not. It may sound like a movie, but it's the truth. It's not a time-it's a moment. It hits you, and you know what love is.
Teddy: 100 percent comfortability around a person, honestly, in my opinion, is love.
Stephen: But you can love things more than other things. That's the difference between falling in love and meeting a soul mate.
Teddy: I can love a lot of things. I love to [quietly] smoke weed. I love to fucking drink fucking beer. I love to fucking sit here at wedding receptions-
Stephen: I love to have sex. But I'm not going to spend the rest of my life drinking beer and having sex with random people. I hope one day I meet that one person, and I know that there's one person, not like a bunch of different people, that's meant for me.


But you like having sex with random people right now, surely?
Stephen: Yeah. I'm not matured to the age where I think that marriage is for me. I'm still, as they say, spreading my wild oats.

Are you single?
Stephen: I am single. How many times have you fallen in love?

Hard to say.
Teddy: How many times have you been occupied by something you really enjoy?
Stephen: There's a difference between enjoying something and loving something.
Teddy: There's something that always takes charge over another thing, dude.
Stephen: If you're in love, you're going to make priorities.
Teddy: Do you mind if I ask you one question?
Stephen: She doesn't mind.
Teddy: What do you think love is?

I think it must be a biochemical thing.
Teddy: One thing that love is, is loving somebody no matter what. No matter what they do, if it's something that you dislike-
Stephen: It doesn't matter if they're a cheating whore-
Teddy: No, that does matter.

Would you forgive someone if she cheated on you?
Stephen: Absolutely.
Teddy: Absolutely not.

Teddy: If she cheated on me, the only thing that means is that she was not thinking about me for one second, but she was on my mind the whole time.
Stephen: The fact that she cheated on you-that's her opinion. That doesn't mean that you don't love her.

Evan, 22

BROADLY: What's love? All your groomsmen told me I should ask you, since you just got married.
Evan: If you saw me crying today, maybe you'll understand it.