In this special investigative report, Hella Deep Background takes a look at an oft-cited but little-understood demographic of San Diego society – The Bro. Sure, we all know about his douchey Hollister t-shirts, brotein bars, and fist-pumps, but what’s it really like for the Nabroleon Bronaparte’s of this world?
To find out, Hella Deep Background spent twelve weeks in the glib and garb of the archetypal Pacific Beach C-3PBro under the assumed identity of Chaduranga – Broga instructor by day, Jager-guzzling womanizer by night.
PACIFIC BEACH – “Alright brodhisattvas, we’re going to close out this session with some back-strengthening exercises,” I said to my class of three. “If it’s in your practice, bro ahead and push back into Double Complete Rainbro.”
It was my first Broga session at a rented studio space off the main drag of Garnet Avenue. I was nervous, suddenly self-conscious about the character I’d been formulating for over a year in order the break into the inner-sanctum of the Bro elite. Could they see through my rouse? Was it obvious I abhorred the Coors Light we all chugged as part of the tadasana “Tap the Rockies” Mountain Pose? Would this colossal undertaking sink before it had even left the harbor? Surely, only time would tell.
An intrepid Broto Baggins in my own right, I had set out to unveil the occult soul of Brociety by simple observation and reporting. I had assumed all the evidence would be right there, begging to be released from an odious den of half-empty beer cans, dirty laundry stench, and Carmen Elektra posters. Like the great Truman Cabrote before me, I accosted my subjects in cold blood.
As luck would have it, I was quickly accepted into the social circles of my students Brock, Connor, and Brad, and in no time I was reveling with the best of them – bumping chests and slamming nachos to televised football games, rocking keg stands, slapping high fives, and having unspeakable encounters with women of dubious integrity.
The setting was rife for exposé, but what I ultimately found was an utterly repulsive, unnerving, and intoxicating shame.
For, while at first it all seemed like a crude joke, an altogether alien notion soon began to pepper my incisive psyche. A few weeks of stern boozing, lecherous behavior of the most ill-advised nature, and general fuck-offery had begun to affect my proper senses. Something strange had happened to me over the course of my investigation. In a purely pagan breach of journalistic protocol, I had unwittingly sacrificed my objective aloofness for belligerent participation and even – dare I say it now? – delight.
You see, whilst the Uptown hipsterati silently suffer in the self-imposed prison of too-tight jeans, veganism, and tedious musical affinities, the Brohemian lives a rich life of carnal pleasures, unrestrained by ephemeral fads and spineless ideologies. Were he alive today, J.P. Donlevy would herald the Bro as the only truly living creature amongst the sapiens – a brotype of futureman whose only conscience is an insatiable lust for bitches and intoxicants set to the background drone of shitty three-chord pop punk anthems and bad pick-up lines.
And I, it appeared, was becoming one of them.
Does everything, indeed, as the great Russian philosopher P.D. Ouspenky posited in his largely overlooked 1913 masterpiece Tertium Organum, eventually become the opposite of itself?
I came to fear the worst.
Was I really just playing the part when I howled for another Keystone, hollered at State Beckies from Brad’s F-150, and slapped my Bros on the ass with a redemptive proclamation of “no homo”? Was I only faking mirth at having Iced Brock three times in one evening? Did I actually enjoy the blackout coitus with Corrine, who shuns brophylactics? Was it all a bad joke? Or was it my former self that was the farce?
A hermetic circle of sorts was making itself known to me. I had set out to expose the heart of the Bro, but could it be that I would ultimately be doomed to expose the Bro in my own heart?
No, stop. This is madness. Pull yourself out of it, man! Before it’s too late. The psychosomatic liver damage and venereal diseases would be appearing in no time. Then the lifted truck, the inexplicable knack for Skin Industries and Famous Stars and Straps garments. The Upside-down Visor.
Perhaps it had all gone too far.
These thoughts plagued me over the course of my investigation. Meanwhile, The further I traveled down the rabbit hole, the more polarized my identities became. Chaduranga took on a life of his own, asserting his right to blast cocaine and New Found Glory until dawn five nights a week.
Like the fabled Dr. Jekyll, I had created a monster which threatened to absolve me entirely.
By week twelve I’d lost it completely. Broga class devolved into rowdy binge drinking sessions with little to no spiritual activity. Were it a game of Oregon Trail, our dharmic feast would have been running meager to scare. The assignment itself became a foggy lost memory. I had reached rock brottom.
Then – what’s this? – a flash of light. A recognition. Ah, there you are ole boy! A sliver of the old self shining through. The bicycling journalist who would totally wear a Three One G shirt if he had one. The affable partier who wishes everyday was Burning Man and has a soft spot for girls who put their finger in your mouth when you yawn. Your Humble Narrator was back!
But alas, the toxic, schizoid fog began to take hold again, and the last conscious words I uttered were both a blessing and a resignation to my fellow brogis.
“The Coors Light that shines within me honors the Coors Light that shines within you,” I said, humming the first lines to some shitty Pennywise jam. “Brahmaste.”