By KRISTEN GREEN ’14 and MARIANA ZEPEDA ’14
Features Editor and Online Editor
Two bros from Brisbane, Australia recently launched BroApp, a $2 application, now only available on Android devices, that allows well-meaning boyfriends to program their phones to send caring, automated text messages to their unsuspecting girlfriends.
“Whether you’re lifting, gaming or just hanging with the bros, BroApp: maximizing your relationship,” lauds an online video promoting the new application.
Indeed, BroApp is marketed for the busy guy who might not remember or have time to text his girlfriend. Those who download the app can program the times of day they’d like the messages to be sent out. They can also personalize the content of the messages (“See you tonight, darl” might be worth altering). In addition, the creators of the app, after some broflection, installed a few safeguards in BroApp—because no bro wants his girlfriend to get a “Hey babe” text message when he’s already in the movie theater with her.
For one, bros can select specific WiFi networks that will deactivate the automated messages temporarily. This means, that if a bro’s chilling at his girlfriend’s house (a no-bro-zone, according to the BroApp video), his phone won’t send out any “thinking of you!” messages.
The other safeguard ensures that no automated text messages are sent out if there’s been any exchange of messages between the bro and his girlfriend within the last hour.
BroApp is marketed as your “clever relationship wingman.” Scott Christianson put it best in his “This Month in Bro” GQ column: “She’ll think you’re thinking about her, when you’re really keg-standing your way into a coma.”
Isn’t it bromantic?
So, what does BroApp tell us about 21st century exchanges of affection?
On the one hand, maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to berate the bros. After all, whoever downloads the app has to take the time to program and customize the messages. There’s something sweet about ensuring that your significant other feels loved and thought of throughout the day—so long as the intention isn’t pacifying a “needy” girlfriend. Maybe the problem is that the app is marketed solely to bros, and seems to operate within an understanding of a girlfriend-boyfriend dynamic in which the girlfriend whines and nags her boyfriend into giving her constant attention and validation.
On the other hand, there’s something eerily “Her”-esque about surrendering to technology control over our emotional lives. Yes, maybe human interaction can be tiring and messy, but is the effort to make relationships more efficient really necessary? Even BroApp’s tagline, “maximize your relationship,” suggests an economic approach to romance that implies that a bro should put in the least amount of effort to yield the “maximum” result.
BroApp may be the app-tly (see what we did there?) named application marketed at the bro-set, but it’s certainly not the only one.
UrbanDaddy allows a bro to select a situation (taking an ex out to drinks, having dinner with your girlfriend’s parents, taking your wife to lunch, etc.) before offering a potential plan of action for the evening. The app will tell you where to go for drinks, what to order, present options for nightlife and tell you about different deals in your area. It has menus for most major cities in the United States.
Bros can also download their own version of Emily Post. The Ben Franklin Virtue app lists the virtues that founding father Benjamin Franklin most prized. It includes thirteen virtues, such as chastity, industry, and silence—so that bros can remember to regulate their conduct in any given situation. Bros can track their virtue by placing a blue dot on days where they transgressed a particular virtue. In a year, bros go through the 13 virtues four times—focusing especially on one virtue each week.
The bros who download this next app would do well to judge themselves by the Ben Franklin app standards. PMS Alert “protects” bros by monitoring the menstrual cycles of those women they love. “Don’t be caught off guard the next time your loved one has her monthly mood swing!” the application’s site advises. How sweet.
And if you come across a bro at a party who keeps checking his phone, fret not! He’s probably consulting his trusty “how to talk to a girl” app. Apparently, there are about 25 iterations of this app genre, making the process of courtship a whole lot easier for the shy bro.
With all this technical support, it really is a good time to be a bro!