Being a Bro in Brooklyn
I don’t know. Maybe it’s my fault. Assimilation isn’t always my deal.
Maybe I shouldn’t wear my tattered, mesh, high school lacrosse shorts to Bikram yoga. The toned ladies in their mid-thirties whom I share a studio with in Park Slope always send a few sneering glances my way when they see them. Plus, the shorts are way too loose, so my balls kinda flop out during wind-removing pose. Not that—I don’t think anyone notices.
So yea, there are things I could do. But I don’t believe the problem lies with me.
Because it wasn’t always this way. I used to be the coolest, man.
Down in D.C., it only took a couple trips a year to H&M to be more fashionable than anyone else. These days? Everything I do feels off. I used to be confident walking my dog in dingy, frayed sweats. Those pants garner gawking stares now.
Sorry, but it’s 8:00 a.m. on a Tuesday in March. I’m confused by you. Why are you wearing a proper peacoat, legitimate slacks and a thin scarf intentionally tied in that European way designed to obfuscate your sexuality?
Did you… shower before coming to the dog park? Does always maintaining your look matter that much?
Like I said, this isn’t my fault.
There’s nothing I can do about Brooklyn not being accommodating to Bros.
And… no. I’m not getting laid. Thank you for asking. I’m not getting laid one bit.
I’m not even getting second dates. Which is fine, I guess. My desire isn’t to pursue girls whose only life goal is to constantly affect a facial expression that’s the precise blend of dourness and effervescence.
I would like to have sex, though, so I keep going on dates. Which, issues start right away. It’s the clothes, again.
I arrive in jeans from J. Crew and oh, the horrors of a mainstream American clothier. Might as well be carrying a factory farm on my arm.
“Over there is where I abuse the cows.”
Look. Sorry. Sorry I don’t double check myself in the mirror every morning to ensure I’m adopting the appropriate amount of fey.
“Is this fey enough? It needs more fey.”
Even if dates didn’t hinge on that particular—which they do, because no woman in Brooklyn would ever be seen with a dude who owns a vest from the Gap—they automatically take a turn for the ‘this fucking guy’ when employment comes up.
Which is, like, you know, at the beginning.
Everyone here has these jobs that involve causes. If it isn’t the girl from Greenpoint whose passion is renewable energy in the Caribbean (how charmingly unassailable), it’s the woman in Williamsburg who runs a blog covering America’s ambivalence toward prisoners with Celiac disease. (If you didn’t know the topic you give the single least amount of fucks about, I humbly suggest that one.)
Yet, stupid as they are, I at least feign interest.
“Really? Gruel has gluten?”
It’s the polite thing to do. Yet, when my job comes up, my dates recoil like I told them I once gave a baby cocaine.
“So, what do you do?”
“I blog. On the internet.”
“Oh. So cool. Where?”
“Men’s humor website. BroBible.”
“Ohhh… Kay,” they all respond in a twisted intonation, having already planned to act excited, but physically incapable of masking their repulsion.
Should I have lied and said The Awl? Which, yea. I enjoy some confounding and esoteric prose, but I also like the tits of celebrities. Is that that bad?
Oh, right. White males.
“So your audience is … guys?”
“Not exactly,” I lie, because telling a female in Brooklyn that your job is to explicitly cater to the base desires of the post-collegiate American Bro is like taking a straw effigy of Kim-Jung Un out into the streets of south Pyongyang and sticking your dick in the mouth hole again and again.
“Please reconsider your ‘Fuck the Patriarchy’ stance, as it is detrimental to my long-term career goals.”
At least I have the decency to refrain from reminding them that the only reason they went out with me in the first place is because I am a white male.
“That’s not true! I would date a black man, or a transgendered Latino. I just haven’t met any yet,” she would lie, kind of almost believing it herself.
It’s so weird, because we really should be getting along great here. Bros aren’t all that much different from hipsters. We’re just less discerning. I like cheap, mass-produced beer, just like you. But I can’t bring Bud Light to a party here because “Corporations are ruining America. Pass me a Miller High Life, please.”
See? Being discerning simply for the sake of coming across as discerning is stupid. All beers are good. I want to purchase them all. Except I can’t, because when I pull out my debit card, I get the disaffected, “We’re cash only here” stare.
Have you ever been unable to pay for a date? I have, thanks to this borough’s lovingly backwards idea that making it easier for customers to pay for transactions will have an adverse effect on profits.
“But the money we save on credit card fees goes to provide clean drinking water for people in need.”
Guh. Ugh. Can’t a Bro just get a chicken-and-biscuit sandwich without helping better humanity? I want to be allowed to act in my own, selfish, self-interest. I don’t want dinner ruined by knowing the money I’m spending is going to a country I don’t care about.
No. I want my dollars to keep pumping through our terrible, broken economy like a good slave of the system. Stop trying to break free.
Which, incidentally, is the title of my favorite Dave Matthews Band song. Break Free. How has everyone in Brooklyn forgotten how chill he is? I just wanna smoke some pot and listen to Dave and drink Coors Light and wear my Adidas sandals and talk about lax without being judged by everyone. I don’t judge y–. Oops.
Whatever. I’m right.
And I’m NEVER gonna get laid.