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In 1960 Biff wore J. Press and played tennis. That same year he sired Biff Jr., who in 1986 wore Lacoste and Brooks and played squash. That same year Biff Jr. brought into this world Biff III, who would go on to wear Abercrombie & Fitch and Vineyard Vines and play lacrosse. Biff the elder was considered “shoe.” Biff Jr. was considered preppy. Mais Biff Le Troisieme est un douchebag.

There’s no denying that the defender of a certain strain of WASP values — namely, conservative casual clothing — is a species of fratty jock known as the “bro.”

According to this NPR blog post from yesterday, preppyness is one of the ingredients in brodom:

We’re thinking less ascot-and-yacht preppy and more Abercrombie and Fitch preppy. The bro uniform isn’t Brooks Brothers, but the sons of guys who wear Brooks Brothers. A bro’s sartorial inclinations are conservatively casual. But in the event that a bro does suit up, it’s all Barney from How I Met Your Mother: a nice suit that doesn’t look like he’s trying too hard.) A lot of people suggested that bros gleefully wield their social privilege.

You can see prep’s contribution to brodom in this Venn diagram:

gr-bro-venn-624

Biff III is now 27 and has outgrown his Abercrombie. When he gathers with his fellow bros, they look something like this:

cup1

Yesterday, while NPR was opining on brodom, I was out on assignment on Long Island. On my way home I stopped at a terrific golf course operated by the Town of Oyster Bay, where I joined a bro threesome.

They were avid but poor golfers, the kind who get progressively worse the closer they get to the hole. The 20-yard pitch shot is skulled and flies 50 yards into a bunker on the other side of the green, while the two-foot downhill breaking putt is not treated with the terror demanded of it and runs 14 feet past the hole.

The bros spent the round talking about other bros, who all seemed to be getting engaged, having a bachelor party, or having a kid. Locker-room banter, though spare, was nevertheless compulsive whenever words such as “long,” “shaft” or even “balls” were mentioned.

The bros were all clean-shaven with neat haircuts and wore cargo shorts with bright shirts and those little athletic socks worn with their golf shoes where it looks like you’re not wearing any socks at all. They were all very buffed and hit the ball a country mile, as Biff The Elder would say, the only problem being that, for all intents and purposes, the ball more or less landed in another country.

“I don’t understand why I keep hooking!” one of the bros yelled as another ball sailed onto the Jericho Turnpike and we hushed for a moment, listening for the sound of screeching tires.

Lack of self-awareness is a problem that plagues all poor golfers, but especially the bro golfer. — c C m