Bromance provides "a case study of gender, sexuality, and exclusivity constraints in twenty-first century America as they operate in law and beyond.
Those constraints in turn speak to the privilege and subordination imbued in this type of relationship, with implications for other types as well." This is in distinction to the connotations of romantic friendship, a terminology of 20th century historical scholarship that retrospectively described close homosocial relationships, including Boston marriages, which had become less common after potential physical intimacy between non-sexual partners came to be regarded with anxiety in the second half of the 19th century.
While the term has generally been applied to straight relationships, mixed gay-straight relationships with no form of sexual intimacy have also been dubbed bromances.
Examples of well-known gay-straight bromances include Ronnie Kroell and Ben Di Chiara from the Bravo reality series Make Me a Supermodel, in which the pair was nicknamed "Bronnie", and Clooney's bromantic tendencies served as the basis for an episode of the animated series American Dad!
entitled "Tears of a Clooney", in which lead character Stan Smith becomes bromantically involved with Clooney as part of an elaborate revenge plot.
Bromance is a portmanteau of bro or brother and romance.
Dave Carnie is credited with coining the term as editor of the skateboard magazine Big Brother in the 1990s to refer specifically to the sort of relationships that develop between skaters who spent a great deal of time together.
Numerous examples exist of intense homosocial friendships throughout history, between men and also between women; such relationships were common.
Romantic friendship, a historical construct with a different homoerotic connotation and social construction, is discussed within that article.
Bromance has been examined from viewpoints such as historiography, discourse analysis, social research, and queer theory in book-length reviews.
Its emergence as a distinctive conceptual genre and theme in the movie and television industry is seen as reflective of a "broader acceptance of nonheteronormative cultural expressions as well as the prospect of a same-sex intimacy that transcends matters of sexual orientation".
Contemporary cultural circumstances, including the struggle for and attainment of gay marriage equality, and specific elements of the depiction of bromance in movies and television separate it from buddy films, as well as historic romantic friendships, which reflect a different social construction.
According to Chen, society has taken a collective interest in reexamination of some of the traditional constraints on male friendship, and in potentially reshaping the constructs of gender, sexuality, and intimacy.