Great Bromances in World History

 
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    August 10, 2011 at 6:00 am

    Urban Dictionary defines bromance as “a non-sexual relationship between two men that are unusually close.”  In essence, it is a close partnership between gentlemen that exceeds friendship, but falls short of romantic affection.  Today, the term has been hijacked by spikey-haired douchebags sporting Affliction gear and tribal tats.  History, however, is full of alliances between remarkable dudes that changed the world around them.  Today we examine the great bromances in world history.

    Cortes and Moctezuma II

    cortes-moctezumaThis is perhaps the strangest of all historic bromances.  Moctezuma was ruler of the Aztec Empire, and Cortes was a Spanish conquistador who traveled across the world to line his own pockets with Mexican gold.  Although the two began as adversaries, they eventually developed a bizarre friendship that still puzzles many modern historians.  Cortes landed in the Yucatan Peninsula in 1519, and steadily made his way into the Valley of Mexico.  By the time he and his men reached Tenochtitlan (by far the most sophisticated city on Earth at the time) Moctezuma had heard much about the otherworldly invaders. Moctezuma invited Cortes and his men to stay in his palace, but Cortes decided to kick things up a notch by essentially putting Moctezuma under house arrest and running the city.  Over the ensuing months, Cortes and his prisoner developed an odd relationship filled with hunting expeditions, boat rides, and even playing sports together.  Eventually the Aztec people became enraged at the perceived treason, and stoned Moctezuma to death.  According to first-hand accounts from his own soldiers, Cortes wept uncontrollably upon learning that his friend/prisoner/political puppet had died.  Some historians attribute Moctezuma’s bond with his captor to Stockholm Syndrome.  However, I chalk it up to only one thing: bromance.

    Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin

    roosevelt churchill stalinWhat we have here is a rare three-way bromance.  Forged in the flames of global conflict, this triumvirate of good buddies came together to save the world.  As heads of state for the three main Allied powers (America, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union) these guys essentially ran WW2 for the Allies.  Churchill and Roosevelt started their friendship early on in the war by exchanging thousands of letters and phone calls regarding wartime strategy, and even created nicknames for each other.  As the war dragged on, Roosevelt reached out to Soviet dictator and well known sociopath, Joseph Stalin.  Churchill was skeptical about this addition at first, but the three men quickly became famous collaborators.  Stalin behaved like Sloth from The Goonies: he was loud, goofy-looking, and freaked everyone out at first, but proved to be invaluable when it came to saving the day (by repelling the German advance on the Eastern front through a combination of bitter cold weather and a HUGE population of cannon fodder.)  These three, although they had their differences, knew how to bro-down and work together.  They even had a swank pad in Yalta where they would smoke cigars, swill brandy, and come up with creative new ways to kill Nazis.  Stalin also liked to make borscht for his pals.  Bromance?  More like borschtmance!  Right?  No?  Sorry.

    Keith Richards and Mick Jagger

    richards-jaggerThis is one of the longest living bromances on record.  Keith and Mick met as schoolchildren in the 50’s and were founding members of the biggest rock band in history.  When you think of The Rolling Stones, you think of these two.  You probably also conjure images of horrendous drug use, anonymous group sex and fist fights.  That’s because Richards’ and Jagger’s bromance would probably be best classified as “complicated.”  As the group rocketed to stardom, Mick looked after Keith like a protective older brother.  They were best friends, and fabulously successful.  But, as is often the case, things changed.  As Keith struggled with drug addiction, Mick struggled with his own ego.  The relationship began to tank when Jagger embarked on his solo efforts in the 80’s.  This touchy issue has plagued the relationship ever since. Richards also had the dubious task of comforting Jagger’s wives whenever they learned about his stable of mistresses.  In his recent biography, Richards criticizes Jagger’s diva-esque attitude, and even alleges that the Stones front man has a tiny penis.  Jagger Has remained fairly mum about this accusation, probably because his enormous wealth has numbed the part of his brain that reacts to public humiliation.  With all of this considered, Richards has summarized their bromance by saying “we’re not really friends anymore but we’ll always be brothers.”  Complicated indeed!

    Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday

    wyatt earp doc hollidayA friend will help you out in most sticky situations.  But a bro will go so far as to join you in a semi-illegal death binge of vengeance on the cattle rustlers that killed your sibling; and that is precisely what Doc Holliday did for legendary lawman, Wyatt Earp.  Holliday began his career as a dentist, but soon became a social deviant with a penchant for gambling and getting in gun fights.  It was in this capacity that he first saved Earp’s life in Dodge City by chasing off a bunch of ne’er do wells who had the lawman surrounded.  Over the years this life debt blossomed into a full-blown old-west bromance.  After the events of the gun fight at the O.K. Corral unfolded, two of Wyatt’s brothers were attacked by the notorious Clanton cowboy gang, leaving one wounded and the other dead.  Those responsible were not pursued by the authorities, and the case against them was thrown out on a technicality.  This didn’t sit well with Earp, who had devoted much of his adult life to the rule of law.  Because of this, he made the difficult decision to go rogue and administer a little frontier justice on his own.  Doc Holliday eagerly joined his pal, because…well…Doc just liked shooting people.  Over the next few weeks Wyatt, Doc, and their ragtag band of “deputies” rode around the frontier and swiftly dispatched the rustlers they believed were guilty.  Before long, however, the posse became wanted men themselves, and had to disband.  Their epic ride gave birth to the common old-west saying “bros before bandits.”  That was a real thing.  Everyone said that…all the time.

    Magic Johnson and Larry Bird

    magic-birdSports are the catalyst for many famous bromances.  Perhaps the most renowned of these happened between NBA legends Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.  But like many famous associations, they started off hating each other.  Bird played for the Celtics, Johnson for the Lakers.  If you know anything about anything, you know the Lakers/Celtics rivalry is a heated rivalry to say the least.  It was especially bitter during the 80’s (back when people in L.A. actually cared about sports, and stuff in general.)  The two first faced-off during the 1979 NCAA title game, and soon thereafter became regular foes in the NBA.  The rivalry was made all the more exciting given that the two best players in the country were routinely battling each other.  It wasn’t until 1985 that the hatred between the two men thawed.  The two were filming a commercial in Bird’s hometown of Frenchlick, Indiana, and tensions were high.  During a lunch break, Bird invited Johnson to his home for lunch.  Over a home cooked meal by Bird’s mom, the two men eventually warmed up to each other and realized they had a lot in common.  The two developed a deep friendship that persists to this day, and their story is even set to be the subject of a Broadway play!  It makes you yearn for an era when players could be fierce competitors and bros at the same time.  Unlike today where they’re toting guns, punching out fans, and boning each other’s moms.

     

     
     
     
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