Bro versus Dude. Dude versus Bro. PBR versus Natty Light. Flannel Shirts versus Lacrosse Pinnies. Classic Muscle Cars versus New Model Year Crossovers. Corn Dogs versus Ramen Noodles. Van Halen versus Deadmau5. So many subjective metrics to evaluate, but only one decision that ultimately can be made. A debate that will determine what makes up Dude DNA and what comprises Bro Building Blocks. A debate that will compare this Dude DNA with Bro Blocks in every facet short of harming the general population with a tainted blood transfusion supply. And from all of these findings, I shall once and for all decide the true victor in the pitting of Dude versus Bro.

* * *

1978 was the year. A year which the release of Animal House unofficially birthed the divide that has become Bro versus Dude. A movie that was responsible for mainstreaming the fraternity house experience. It started the popular notion of keggers and debauchery that many fraternities are now known for. Animal House‘s inside portrayal of early 60's frat life made it a cult classic, and turned what was just a sliver of frat life into the accepted and common reality of the fraternity social sphere. As this small sample of fraternity living evolved into something bigger, another social transformation occurred. Back in '62, the Animal House was filled with Dudes. Today, your typical fraternity is filled with Bros.

In the years during the phasing out of Dudes, and the simultaneous evolution of the Bro (basically the 1990's), the debate had begun to simmer. There was the genesis of the Bro, and the decline/deportation of the Dude. The transition from Budweiser and Jack to Natural Light and Smirnoff. And eventually, Dude and Bro became almost completely independent of each other, two easily identifiable entities, as polar opposite as possible. As with every polarizing issue, it became a topic of debate, and this debate now rages harder than any Bro has ever raged before. Bro versus Dude.

So why are they so different?

And what makes someone "definitely a Dude" and someone else a part of "Bro Boulevard"?

The answer to both of these questions? Sean Payton.

Ashton Kutcher - Teenage Millionaire hatNo, not really. But Sean Payton is a Dude in the same way Ashton Kutcher is a Bro.

Ashton Kutcher is the kind of guy who will hang out with you at the bar, the Bro who will help you pound beers in your dad's garage beforehand, and on every step of the prowl, even to the point of forwarding you an Express for Men Groupon during the work week. But… all things considered, Ashton Kutcher is merely a Bro. He's gonna let you down, and sooner or later, you'll find out that he's only there for the superficial aspects of your life.

Sean Payton with George Bush Sr.Sean Payton on the other hand, is a Dude. He'll give you advice after you fuck up, tell you how much he enjoys your Gchat status, drive you to the airport when nobody else will, and get the most out of you as a person, while still remaining your friend. All of this because of nothing, and all of this because he's a tried-and-true Dude.

* * *

Throughout the lives of men, at every stop, we're confronted with an inordinate amount of peers. At each of these stops, we ultimately have to ask ourselves, "Who are my Dudes?" and "Who are my Bros?"

As many a wise man have said, and/or written: "Keep your Bros close, and your Dudes closer."

This determination isn't always as easy as it first appears. Many times, a Dude can come across as a Bro when we first get to know them, and many times, a person we have initially pegged as a Bro eventually reveals himself to be a Dude. It seems at times that the only way to discover the difference is to feel the consequences of the experience. Sometimes to find out that your buddy may not be a Dude, is to get burned by a Bro. And that is how many of us learn. It's a fact of life: you learn from the burn.

For example, here are some cases based on shallow assumptions and absolutely no independent research.

  • A Dude doesn't really listen to techno and/or club music. All Bros on the other hand, firmly understand that 4×4 = 12.
  • Bros can be hipsters, and so can Dudes. But that is the only loophole accessible in the case of A and Bro Dudeality.
  • Dudes like to eat chili, drink beer, and talk about sports with their comrades. Bros compete for faux lacrosse supremacy, wear backwards hats and casual white sneakers, spend an inordinate amount of time trying on hats, and say things like "come at me," "come get some," and "come on, Bro."

As previously mentioned, Sean Payton is a Dude, and Ashton Kutcher is a Bro. But what about other notable figures?

  • Lance Berkman is a Dude… but he is nearly a Bro.
  • Seann William Scott is nearly a Dude… but he's a Bro.
  • John Wayne, if he were alive today, would definitely be a Dude.
  • Sam Elliot is a Dude.
  • Jeff Bridges is "The Dude," and his lack of recent irrelevance does not affect his current Dude status.
  • Any minor male character in the American Pie series is a Bro.
  • The Dutch Boy is neither Bro nor Dude, and is possibly lacking genitalia.

Sometimes it takes more than examples and creative analogies to really explain the chasm between Dude and Bro. So here's a crude attempt at a table.

Top Three Things a Dude Has That a Bro Does Not

  • Mustache
  • Muscle Car
  • Mustache

Indian dude

Bro with a popped collar shirt 

Bro playing lacrosse

Michael Phelps wearing gold medals 
Dude (who can swim!)

Ted Danson

Dutch Boy Paint
Neither Dude nor Bro. Possibly lacking genitalia.

Nelly (rapper)
Nearly Dude, not quite Bro.

Tim Tebrow on the football field
Tim TeBrow.

Sometimes, visual stimuli just isn't enough. Sometimes, you need to get analytical. So let's tackle this algebraically.

1. Liam Neeson = Dude
2. Ashton Kutcher = Bro
3. Liam Neeson/Ashton Kutcher = Dude/Bro = Undefined (since you cannot divide by Bro)
4. Ashton Kutcher/Liam Neeson = Bro/Dude = 0 (since Liam Neeson is an infinite quantity).

Once you've established an algebraic relationship, you can then dissect the issue logically and philosophically (it is imperative that you cover all of these disciplines).

A. All Dudes are Men, and that's a given.
B. However, all Men are not Dudes.
C. We also know that Bros are not Dudes (given).
D. Therefore, Bros are not Men.

Some Hipsters though, are Bros. And unfortunately, so are some Dudes…even though Dudes have unsuccessfully campaigned three times to exterminate Hipsters.

Bros play lacrosse and drink light beer. Dudes play football and pound PBR. Bros shop at Hollister and listen to dubstep, Dudes shop at fucking Sears. Dudes have a creative sense of humor. Bros usually employ someone else's.

Bro Dude Hipster guys
Rarely can a photo distinguish Bro from Dude.
Dudes rarely use the "Two Thumbs, This Guy" combo (i.e. "Who is hungry and has two thumbs? This Guy!"), whereas this is the conversational staple of the Bro, a way to communicate with/discern their brethren. Along with the word "totes," the phrase that sounds like an antibiotic "chillaxin," Bros have put together something that in most countries would be considered an independent dialect. As with many languages, this too has some incongruent meanings. For example, it is common to find Bros preying upon women who had never learned to cook, only to constantly ask them to "make me a sandwich." It really doesn't make sense. As has been pointed out before: Bros think they're funny, Dudes actually are funny.

Yes, Dudes may belch, fart, and release sounds/smells from every orifice from time to time during "guy time," but at least they don't act like the latest best-selling feminine hygiene product. Dudes may even use the word "bro" in casual conversation, but it carries nowhere near the same intent. And when it is not used in jest, it is purely derogatory.

Let's face it, many Bros are aspiring Dudes who just haven't made the leap yet. Even though they graduated from high school and earned a lacrosse scholarship, they still live in that translated reality several years later. It is not until they stop shopping at Hollister, not until they hang up the lax sticks, and not until they develop a sense of originality, that they will make the leap to becoming a Dude (or at least a man). It is then, and only then, that they will give up their incredibly feminine inhibitions, and ascend to the primitive level of that which is the accepted connotation of Dude.

Now, this may appear to be a tremendously biased argument, especially coming from me (an admitted Dude). In fact, if you're still reading this essay, and your interest is piqued, then you're probably craving some "hard data." Well… I've got that data… and it is definitely hard.

Through hours upon hours of re-search, I have formulated the following measure, aptly named the "Systematic Coarse Rating Observation Tabulated Ultimate Metric," or as it's better known, the SCROTUM.

Let's first see the calculations that go into a "Scrote-Score," and then look at the SCROTUM results.

Meaure 1: Prototypical Conservative Disapproval Percentage

Hundreds of right-wingers were polled, and after observing three confirmed Bros, three confirmed Dudes, and three placebo males performing simple everyday tasks, the staunch conservative judges quantified their respective disapproval. The score was subtracted from 100 and tossed into the SCROTUM.

Here were the results:

Bro: 100-83 = 17

Dude: 100-56 = 44

Placebo: 100-50 = 50

Measure 2: Ability to Survive Mountain Cat Attack

Again, three Dudes, three Bros, and three placebo males were subjected to this evaluation. The possible scores attainable were 0, 33, 67, or 100. The score was solely based on the amount of people from each group surviving attacks from various mountain cats (i.e. pumas, mountain lions, cougars, panthers, and the like).

Here's how they fared:

Bros (1 survivor): 33

Dudes (2 survivors, 1 life-long friend made): 67

Placebo (3 of 3 dead): 0 

Measure 3: Ounces of Hair Product Subtracted from 100

In this final measure, three Dudes, Bros, and placebros… err… placebos were again evaluated. This time, each of their bathroom vanities were raided, and the aggregate amount of hair product (gels, mousses, sprays, conditioners) were measured and confiscated. The average amount of hair product (in ounces) was subtracted from 100 and then donated to the Jersey Shore cast.

Here are the results:

Bros: 100 – 89.4 ounces = 10.6

Dudes: 100 – 6.2 ounces = 93.8

Placebos: 100 – 24.4 ounces = 75.6

*Please note that one Dude participant was a Mountaineer, and "pork back-fat" did not qualify as a hair product.

So, now that we have the three measures, let's tally the final SCROTUM:

Dude SCROTUM: 68


It doesn't take a studious scientific eye to see that in fact, Dudes have bigger SCROTUMS. In fact, over three times as big! It really is refreshing to prove something that you knew was true, while having little knowledge of the subject beforehand.

As with all statistics, metrics, and opinionated takes, though, there is certainly some wiggle room. Ultimately, it is up to you, the reader, to choose a reliable source, examine the facts, and determine what you believe in. If I'm not that source, well, that's perfectly fine. But I would gladly side with you if you were to side with me. No offense, Bro.