Throughout my career as a writer in the social media age, readers have—on occasion—gone to relatively adequate lengths to get under my skin.
The most common approach is by calling me “Jeffrey”—not such a big deal, considering it is the name my parents gave me. Another approach is the old “Baldy” thing. This, also, is pretty ineffective. I’m 46, and have been shaving my head for years. There are other tries—you’re old, you’re ugly, you look like [FILL IN THE BLANK]. I almost always end up laughing, because they’re funny and anything but personal.
The one word that sets me off, however, is “Bruh.”
Bruh, nice column.
Bruh, know your shit.
First, we’re not bruhs. Or bros. I don’t know you.
Second, it’s a lazy, cliched word you got from bad television.
Third, I dunno. The sound of it. The texture of it. The meaninglessness of it. The closest I can come to “bruh” is when you listen to sports radio, and people refer to the hosts as “guys.” As in, “Hey, thanks guys. Have a great weekend.” Under Jeff Pearlman bylaws, “guys” are people you actually know. Not pretend know. So … your neighbors who watched Islanders-Flyers at your house last night? Guys. Evan and Joe on WFAN, following a three-minute dialogue on David Wright? Not guys.
A couple of minutes ago my daughter made me aware of something that happened several months ago, when the hip-hop artist Offset appeared at Cardi B’s concert (unannounced) to apologize for cheating on her and deliver tons of flowers. It was some seriously manipulative, self-indulgent shit—you fucked around on your wife. So the idea of bringing this out in front of 20,000 people? No good.
But what really got me—deep, deep, deep beneath my skin—was the start of his apology. As you can see in this video, Offset holds a mic to his mouth, looks at Cardi B and says, “I just wanna tell you I’m sorry, bruh. In person. In front of the world.”
I’m sorry, but—what?
Bruh, you cheated on her with another woman. Then you humiliate her by having it go public. Then you apologize with some cheesy flowers and the least personal mea culpa ever. Bruh, are you joking? Seriously, bruh, are you serious here?
You’re a rap artists. That means words are your specialty. And the best you can do is Bruh? Bruh, she’s not even a bruh. A bruh is a guy. She’s a sis. Or, because that would be equally preposterous, she’s “Cardi.” Or “love of my life.” Or “Honey.” Or “Sugar bear.” Or “Diamond to my World.” Anything, bruh—but bruh.