“Dear Erik”: A bromance

J.B. Sivanich

Last week, I discussed my love of America’s greatest innovation, malls, and I ripped on my fellow columnist Erik Wyse for fun.
My email inbox was flooded with the typical letters of what can only be described as disbelief at my incredible skill at writing columns. Some said that I, to quote from said emails, “am deserving of a MacArthur” and “make one wonder if hiding behind [my] impeccable taste in fashion, good looks and impenetrable charm, there is actually a savant.”
But there was one sentiment about last week’s column that was repeatedly brought up. It was present in an email that went like this: “Your column was absolutely hilarious as usual, but why were you so harsh on Erik? The kid seems pretty harmless to me.”
I thought to myself, “Hey, what’s the problem here? We live in the age of Reggie Miller vs. Spike Lee, Donald Trump vs. Rosie O’Donnell and Sarah Palin vs. every person with a brain. Is Lawrence so touchy-feely that everyone has to throw their hands up in the air when I merely compare the intellect of some hapless religious studies major to that of a penguin? I thought we were beyond this.”
These emails got to me more than I thought they would, but it wasn’t the emails I kept thinking about – it was Erik.
A week or two before my last column came out, one of our mutual friends told me that Erik thought that I had a “man-crush” on him. I scoffed at this like Simon Cowell scoffs at 12-year-olds asking for autographs.
Me having a man-crush on Erik? That’s like Kobe Bryant having a crush on Jamie DeMatthew or Justin Timberlake having a crush on Justin Bieber. On second thought, if the latter was good enough for Usher maybe this isn’t so far-fetched.
The emails and the backhanded insult were only hints, subtle foreshadowings of our humble hero’s eventual dramatic about-face. It was only when I was doing my homework for Shakespeare that I came to my realization.
As a third-term senior, I have vowed to never read any of the plays assigned for class but instead watch the teen-movie adaptations, and so instead of reading “The Taming of the Shrew,” I was watching “10 Things I Hate About You.”
Having always felt a particular kinship with Heath Ledger – darkly piercing eyes, chiseled facial features and a tendency to be misunderstood sound familiar to anyone? – I was surprised to find myself instead feeling a deep connection with Julia Stiles’ character.
And then I realized: I have only been thinking about Erik so much, and taking time to publicly disparage him, because I, like Kat in “10 Things I Hate About You,” have been repressing my true feelings. I, J.B. Sivanich, have a bro-crush on Erik Wyse. Not in the “Y tu Mamá También” way, but more in the way of any movie involving Paul Rudd.
I know it might seem unlikely – what with me, a potent blend of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Robert Redford, a model from one of those Armani advertisements and he who dresses like 38-year-old Austrian hippie stuck in 1986, fanny pack and all – but I swear the feelings are true.
I can’t explain it, because I don’t really understand it. But I think most guys know where I’m coming from.
You’re playing intramural basketball and the guy who’s too cool to say anything in your Gandhi class pulls a pretty good move but you think it’s super-sweet; after the game you say, “Hey, wasn’t that move Josh pulled on the base line pretty sick?” Your friend says, “Kind of,” and gives you a weird look. Later, you see him at a party, some girl’s hitting on him and you think to yourself, “He’s way too good for her.”
You’re walking to class, pissed that you can’t finish watching the Inter Milan vs. Barcelona Champions League semi-final, and after passing him on the Hurvis bridge, you think to yourself, “I bet Josh would be a pretty fun guy to watch some international soccer with. And I’m sure he’s not a fan of ManU.”
Sooner or later, you’re wishing that you were hanging out with Josh instead of your girlfriend. I’m too cool to have a girlfriend, but that’s how it is with Erik and me.
So I want to apologize for last week’s column:
Dear Erik,
I am sorry that I was so condescending to you in my column last week. I have had a hard time coming to terms with this, but I think you’re a real swell guy. Can we give all of this another shot? Maybe, we could toss a Frisbee on Boldt Way sometime, just the two of us? Or maybe we could throw water balloons at people on the frat quad out of a SigEp window? Just tell me what you think, and I’d be happy to accommodate.
-Your bro, J.B.

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