Bromo Sapiens

That… did not go well.

We just got done with a pair of midterm exams – first physics, then biology. I thought I did okay on physics yesterday and terrible on bio today, only to come home and find my second consecutive unacceptably bad physics grade waiting for me online. Awesome. I can’t wait for biology’s grade to come out. A text message conversation with a postbac friend, “L,” went as follows:

Me: Time to pray for an awesome aka terrible average.
L: I wrote to Doucheky [professor’s nickname; he is not a favored teacher] to ask. In the meantime I am on my way to Kroger to buy livers to sacrifice/burn.
Me: …Livers?
L: Decided to go to the ancient Greeks. Maybe Zeus has some love for me.
Me: Zeus? Fuck that. Buy a flounder, build a funeral pyre out of a boat shoe and pray to Broseidon.
L: I’ll set it up in the field so I’m surrounded by Greeks. I’ll set up torches from red Solo cups.
Me: You’re forgetting – you need to enlist the services of a brobbi or a bromam. Call the frat stars from physics to perform the necessary rites. They’re usually paid in Natty Light.
L: Each torch will be lit by one of them reciting the Greek alphabet and then allowing the embers to ignite the Everclear in the cups.
Me: Well, if you’re going to include fire, you’ll need to include a tribute to Brometheus.
L: Fuck, you’re right.

Some one obviously spent hours photoshopping this.

It’s a running joke in our program, which has a lot of matriculants from small private colleges, that the Greek life at this school dominates to the point where it’s completely hilarious. I did some digging online, and it turns out that only 30% of the undergraduates are registered as Greek – that is, an active member of a fraternity or sorority. Those aren’t exactly Ole Miss or Alabama numbers, but it seems extremely low given the prevalent style of dress here, the uniform I have named Bromo sapien. Maybe the people who fall in that 70% just haven’t pledged yet. This got me thinking how such obviously smart people (it’d be impossible to pass intro physics without a modicum of intelligence, or without cheating) could worship so fervently at the Throne of Bro. Interested – and seeking to distract myself from my Russian jet test scores – I conducted a thought experiment to answer this question. What could possibly explain the fact that these students can score so highly on exams and do well in their classes, then return to their houses and say nothing but the word “bro” until Monday morning rolls around?

(By the way, I’m so fascinated by this culture that I’m creating a brand-new category for it for future posts).

It appears evident that the kind of idiot-type evinced by movies like Old School and the brotastic classic Animal House is simply at odds with the high achievement of kids at this school. It is impossible to behave like Brosemite Sam and still pass biology. (If you’re keeping score of the ‘bro’ references, we’re at six). I further stipulate that it is impossible to be both a broseph and study at the same time. Now, I estimate my neighbros spend approximate two hours a day on weekdays and nine hours a day on weekends on their patio, performing sacred bro-rites like flipping the “lax” ball back and forth, grilling hamburgers, blaring rock anthems mixed with Lil’ Wayne, and obviously drinking the sacred bromide, Natty Light. Of course, the neighbros are not studying during this time.

So how is this possible? Either this college is full of geniuses, or they have dual personalities – a bro-life and a fugue state where they are broless. I think we can toss the “full of geniuses” argument, because the true geniuses all live in the basement of the chemistry and physics buildings, haven’t been outside since Bush was elected and are decidedly brosophobic.

Maybe these brotastic students are simply closet geniuses? I don’t think this is the case either; far too many of them step off the curb in front of buses without batting an eye. Though the presence of homophobic slurs in the bronacular seem to have decreased slightly of late, it’s still worth noting that in the interest of preventing an interrobrotion from the Brommander-in-Chief, most true Romebros avoid all closets, if possible.

The only viable alternative, then, is the split personality possibility. During the weekday, much of the population turns up in class and on campus in Brobi Wan Kenobro mode. They are the brolliant beacons of the Vineyard Vines pullover, the Topsiders, and the pastel shorts. During these days, they resolutely save seats for fellow brosephs, though their brotners in bro rarely appear. During the weekend, the bro squad maintains this behavior during what I will call “the brobbatical,” an extended period of drinking from kegs and listening to bad cover bands. At night… well, we don’t need to go into that. Suffice to say that there are broltercations and the occasional brotastrophe.

During the weekend nights, though, these Rambros turn into much meeker inhabitants of the libraries. I haven’t decided yet if they actually go home and change out of their bromo sapien clothes into something less phebromenal, but either way the studying gets done. Then, after not having attended class due to their brosponsibilities elsewhere, they come in and make people like me miserable.

I think I’m a brosophobe.

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