Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bromance: Jonathan & Phout Sittin' in a Tree defines: Bromance

1. Describes the complicated love and affection shared by two straight males.
2. A non-sexual relationship between two men that are unusually close.
3. A close relationship between two bros to such a point where they start to seem like a couple.

Mans-ing (v)

1. The act of wooing a fellow male friend for the purpose of becoming closer.
2. Going to unusual lengths in an attempt to become closer with another male friend.

It all began on International Women's Day. Go figure. Didi, the Director of Sunshine School kindly invited us out to see the school's organic farm, which was about an hour outside Vientiane. International Women's Day is an actual Holiday here, so there was no school that day. Phout, the PhysEd teacher at Sunshine was at Didi's house when we arrived in the morning, as he was going to come out to the farm with us. For Phout and Jonathan, it was love at first sight, or love at first sight of the Lao Phrasebook, perhaps. For the entire car ride, and then for the next two weeks, Jonathan and Phout had a complete and utter bro-mance happening. Phout didn't speak much English and Jonathan spoke even less Lao. We had been given a Lao Phrasebook from an Aussie friend named Greta way back in Luang NamTha. From that moment, it lived in the shirt of Jonathan's breast pocket and he used it several times a day. It was/is a fantastic tool to aid in communication with the locals. Whether its ordering rice and veggies at a menu-less restaurant or asking someone if they have kids (or answering that question, which was more likely) we can't imagine Lao without that phrasebook. So, as he had been doing over the previous two weeks, Jonathan used the phrasebook to start up a simple conversation with Phout. The phrasebook is especially useful because it has the Lao characters beside the English word, so even if the person you were trying to communicate with didn't understand what you were trying to say, you could point to the word in Lao. Jonathan and Phout 'discussed' sports and basic life history the entire car ride to the farm, and all the way back. Every time the phrasebook came out Phout got excited. He was fascinated by it. Jonathan would ask Phout a question and hand him the phrasebook. Phout would gingerly flip through it, getting distracted by the variety of subjects the book covered, reading words, getting Jonathan to pronounce them for him, and so on.

The next day at school, courting, Phout came and found Jonathan in his last class before lunch and personally escorted him to the lunch area. Everyday, Sunshine School fed everyone at the school a hot, scrumptious vegetarian lunch. The students came and brought a pot of rice and a pot of the day's main course to their classrooms to eat, and the teachers served themselves in the kitchen. Phout found Jonathan a bowl, filled it until rice was heaping over the edge, and then made him a second bowl full of the main course and carried them out to the table for him. He brought him extra fresh herbs and spices and sat right next to him, in case Jonathan had a whim for anything further. When Jonathan finally had worked his way through his first helping, without even asking, Phout whisked his bowl away for a refill. After the feast, Jonathan and Phout parted ways with an enthusiastic high five. And so it began. The daily love affair of Phout and Jonathan. They gushed at each other when they passed in the hall and waved excitedly when they saw each other across the courtyard. Everyday Phout would personally serve lunch up for Jonathan while, everyday, I stood in the middle of the kitchen, empty bowl in hand, watching in dismay. Everyday, while heading over to the lunch table, hands full of food, he would turn to me with a sly smile and shrug his shoulders as he left with Phout. If his hands hadn't been pre-occuppied with all the food Phout piled into them, there is no doubt those two would be walking around holding hands! If Jonathan ever happened to go to the bathroom before lunch, or stay in the class to talk to a kid and I went to the kitchen myself, I would be met with an adorably worried Phout. 'Where's Jonathan?' would be his greeting. And then, not only would I be standing there food-less, watching as Phout ran about making special arrangements for Jonathan's meal, I would also have to follow him around, assuring him that dear Jonathan was certainly on his way. 'No, of course he's not mad at you! You look very slim in that Phys Ed shirt! Any man who can't see how wonderful you are just isn't worth your time!' Haha Just kidding. But, Jeez. When does my suffering end?

p.s. Is it just me or does anybody else get the feeling that Kristen is very comfortable using hyperbole as a rhetorical device?


Gina said...

Hahahahaha that was great :)

Nancy said...

Hey guys!
As always, your trip looks amazing and you guys are too funny...check your facebook Kristen! I left you a message!

Anonymous said...

Jon - did you leave the translation book for Phout? for his next 'bromance'? LOL