Wednesday, April 2, 2014

March's Book: The Bro Code

The Bro Code by Barney Stinson and Matt Kuhn
Pop Culture (2008 - 195 pp.)

With the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother wrapping up this past Monday night, there was really no other month to read this book. I had to read it now or risk reviewing it when it would appear far less relevant. Having been a month behind on these books ever since the dreaded ice storm of this past December, this was a perfect opportunity for a quicker read.

For those unaware, an extremely abridged background: Barney Stinson is a character on How I Met Your Mother, played by Neil Patrick Harris. He is a wealthy 30-something corporate executive known for his alcohol consumption and womanizing. He lives by a document referred to as the Bro Code, which has been replicated in full for all of our enjoyment. The Bro Code is divided into 150 articles, as well as short ending sections on amendments and violations. The whole thing is something of a statute for being a bro.

One of the best features of The Bro Code is its interactive nature. Article 86 concerns the "Hot/Crazy Scale" men can use to evaluate wives, girlfriends or one-night stands, complete with a magazine-style quiz. (113) Article 89, "A Bro shall always say yes in support of a Bro" includes a Mad Lib of sorts (117) that gave me the unique opportunity to use the phrase "beanbag chair whittling". Article 102 allows the reader to consider the practical application of game (133) and Article 127, on reconstructing the events of a particularly interesting night, includes its own MENSA puzzle (163) that I got mostly right.

A problem I have with The Bro Code, by which I mean it makes me less of a bro, is the phenomenon known as "broflation". It is defined in the book's glossary as "(1) a sudden increase in female expectations about how dudes should act." (193) It comes up in Article 39 regarding how soon not to call a woman, specifically that the supposed three-day rule should be jettisoned in favour of a 96-hour rule in order to lower women's expectations about men. (56) My tendency to call people in general makes it far more likely I'll violate the Bro Code by calling a woman sooner than I should, thus exposing me to the Punishments section at the back of the book.

The Bro Code comes with burdens that may impede otherwise efficient life. Article 30, "A Bro doesn't comparison shop" (45) just seems impractical. It would have been nice to see what Barney has against getting deals considering he wears suits so often. Article 81, "A Bro leaves the toilet seat up for his Bros" (106), contradicts wisdom gleaned from the Seinfeld episode when Jerry accidentally drops a toothbrush into a toilet, the reason I leave the toilet seat and lid down to this day.

I can't possibly pretend this book has any educational content whatsoever. It's verging on an advertisement. It's a great advertisement for a great show, though. Thanks to a good friend for reviewing this months ago. It was as quick a read as suspected.

Ease of Reading: 10
Educational Content: 1

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