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Sorry, Bro, But I'm Not Your Bro: Rules For Bros

It's finally happened, which is a good and important thing. Private jokes and cackling fits bode well for the solid lifelong sibling relationship my husband and I had envisioned for them. What I didn't anticipate was how bro-ish the whole situation would get.
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The bros are cackling. Maniacally.

This is what happens now. I say something to my teenage sons -- nothing intended to evoke a cackle, mind you, but an ordinary exasperated mom question along the lines of, "Will you two please look at my face-hole when words are coming out of it?" -- and suddenly they're both doubled over, sputtering catchphrases from some private joke or meme while I stand there blinking and confused.

I have mixed feelings about this. I used to long for the day they'd stop fighting and form a brotherly alliance. It's finally happened, which is a good and important thing. Private jokes and cackling fits bode well for the solid lifelong sibling relationship my husband and I had envisioned for them. What I didn't anticipate was how bro-ish the whole situation would get. (My husband, for the record, is not cackling but is definitely stifling a snicker.)

I suspect their attitude is partly my fault. You reap what you sow, and I've been planting punchlines for so long that apparently now I am one. Turnabout is fair play, right?

Well... not exactly. Part of growing up is understanding that different rules apply in different relationships. What is OK in the locker room is not OK in a work environment (unless you happen to work in a locker room, which seems highly unlikely, not that there's anything wrong with that). My sons need to learn that they can't treat bosses and grandmothers and customer service people the same way they treat their bros. And guess what, guys? I AM NOT YOUR BRO, BRO.

So, a bit of training is in order. As a non-bro of the respect-your-elders variety, I am entitled to certain courtesies, such as:

  1. When I say a bro's name, bros shall respond, "Yes?" [Note: Silence and "WHAT?!" are not acceptable alternatives.]
  2. When I ask a bro to do something, the bro shall reply in the affirmative (see above) and actually do it. Like, right then and not "In a minute," "After this game," and (definitely not ever) "When I get to it. Calm down."
  3. I should not experience, with any of my five senses, any bro bodily functions or the products thereof.
  4. When I attempt to initiate a conversation with a bro, that bro should look at my face-hole and make sounds back with his face-hole (preferably words) until the conversation comes to a natural end, which shall not include bleeps, bloops, vibrations, or any other pocket computer interruptions.
  5. And, most importantly, bros in mixed company (that is, a place including both bros and non-bros) shall follow all standards of public decency and non-bro behavior. If any bro is asked to leave a mixed-habitat (primarily including, but not limited to, Chipotle and the living room), all bro phones, laptops, and gaming systems shall be confiscated until proof of gentlemanly restraint is demonstrated.

I'm trying, but I need your help. When you encounter a pack of teenage bros in the wild, don't ignore them. Get your mom face ready and shoot them a "Seriously?!" or "C'mon, guys" look. And make sure they're looking at your face-hole.

Peyton Price is a Babble contributor and the creator of Suburban Haiku. You can follow her ongoing battle of the bros on Facebook and Twitter.