The Bromance app is aimed at heterosexual males aged 21 to 40 who want to hook up for a fishing trip, to shoot some hoops, an ultimate frisbee session or even a pub crawl.
But some media critics are already suggesting it could actually end up as a challenger to gay dating apps like Grindr. And that perception is also spreading to its potential users.
Mat Percival, a straight bromantic with many gay friends, said he wouldn’t be likely to use the app.
‘I think it would be a bit weird meeting strangers,’ he told GSN. ‘I have several bromances on the go but it is always in context.
‘I would also wonder if it’s really really straight or is it posing as straight? Would you be joining Gaydar without realizing it?’
The Bromance app is still in beta testing and not yet available on the iTunes store. But it shows the new-found acceptability of strong but non-sexual male friendships and affection.
The word, bromance (a brother or ‘bro’ romance) is thought to have been first conined in the 90s to describe relationships between skaters.
And the concept has been popularised by celebrities like Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, politicians including British Prime Minister David Cameron and his coalition colleague Nick Clegg, and even fictional characters like Frodo and Sam in Lord of the Rings – it seems everyone is having a bromance.
Interestingly a 2009 academic paper suggested by William Deresiewicz suggested that expressions of love between platonic male friends were stifled from the 19th century onwards due to the emergence of visible homosexuality. If so, the emergence of bromances may mean there is now less stigma about being wrongly perceived as gay.
This autumn the concept was celebrated with Tim Berg’s new Seek Bromance video. It depicts a hair-ruffling hugged-up friendship between two American roadtrippers who even end up having three-way sex with their blonde female companion after a night in Las Vegas.