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friendships, guy friends

not sure if this should be asked in shipping but I'll ask here in case.

Ever since I started using canon characters, it seems like if I put two guys as friends and have them act as typical guy friends, then people think I'm either shipping them or hinting some kind of bromance. I mean, can I put two guys as friends and not have bromance aura coming?

I'm not sure if it's just people or if I am actually doing something wrong and not knowing it. Like I did once scene with two executives and at the end someone on DA thought it was pretty.... gay in *their* own words. :-/

Proton remained silent. He did not want to say a word and it was as a signal for the guy to drop the subject. He did not feel comfortable going into details about his love for Ellie and especially not to Petrel. He’s his friend, but sometimes he can get carried away with certain topics. He sat there, silent while giving Petrel the death glare. His face was turning beat red as he clenched his fist. Once again, Petrel still retained a friendly smile as he puts his hands up in peace.

“Hey, I’m just giving you a hard time. I won’t speak about it anymore,” the pink haired guy said as he stood up and stretched. “I’ll jot down my number and I’ll call you maybe.”

As he took a piece of paper from a small sticky pad, Proton proceeded to laugh. He also got up and wrote down his name and number on a sticky pad paper as well. He then took his hand and grasps Petrel’s shoulder as he still chuckled. ‘You are something else…’ he thought as he smiled. After they exchanged numbers, they gave each other another friendly hug before Proton was about to leave. However, before he left, he turned and gave a hard smile.

“Oh and about your TV appearance, I thought you should know that you are so thin, you can hang glide on a Dorito!” Proton exclaimed. “So you cannot complain about the camera adding ten pounds.”

“Oh shut up, you!” Petrel said with a grin as he threw a paper ball at him and missed.

The aqua haired boy stuck out his tongue as he proceeded to leave the building.

As I said these two guys are *friends*, (plus they have girlfriends in this fic, well one does the other is about to get one) but is there a correct way of doing this?

If anyone understands where I am getting at?
 

Griff4815

No. 1 Grovyle Fan
It's not just you. People will do this with almost anything. It's especially common in Pokemon. I'm a big advocate of platonic friendships in fiction, but there will always be somebody who misconstrues two characters' dialogue, interaction, or whatever for something "more" than just friendship. Maybe it's wishful thinking. Of course, this isn't exclusive to only two guys, but a guy and a girl who are just friends are just as likely to be paired together. As for anything you can do about it, probably not. If somebody has an idea in their mind, nothing you do will stop them, most likely. Shippers gonna ship.

Me personally, I wouldn't change the dynamics between two characters just so people won't ship them. If there are two male characters who are close, then that's how they should be portrayed, and if somebody thinks they're gay, then so be it, you can always tell them they're not, if the topic is brought up, and it's up to them whether to listen or not. That's my view, anyways.
 

Sid87

I love shiny pokemon
I write a LOT of stories with a pair of male main characters because I really enjoy the guy dynamic of being friends or partners or even just stuck together. It's kind of a habit I tend to get stuck in, but oh well, that's a story for another day.

I'm also not notorious for doing any shippy or overly romantic stuff, though, so I don't think I've too often gotten accused of the kinds of things you mention. I guess it all matters what your history as a writer is (if you ship a lot, people are going to assume almost everything you do is a ship) and how you portray the characters (if you are used to writing romantics leads or ships, you may be unconsciously giving your characters romantic undertones because it is your comfort zone).

Also--and this may not be fair, but I have a feeling it is a distinct possibility--you are a younger female fanfiction writer. To be honest, if you say the words "young, female fanfiction writer" to me, the words "slash fiction" IMMEDIATELY pops into my head. Now, I know that's an unfair generalization, and I've read a LOT of works that by such authors that are very much NOT slash ships, but still...it does seem to be a common stereotype. It's something you've got to just fight through and prove that your work is its own story and not subject to such stereotypes.
 

Dragonfree

Just me
People will see shippy subtext in anything. If they show signs of liking each other, they're in love; if they show signs of disliking each other, they're secretly in love and the hatesex would be awesome; if they show signs of apathy towards each other, they're just hiding their feelings. There's basically no way to write a relationship that nobody in the world could read romance into.

Your particular scene does feel more shippy than average as it stands on its own - after all, they're exchanging numbers with no explicit purpose other than "I'll call you", and Proton is commenting teasingly on Petrel's appearance, both of which happen more often when there is an aspect of romance to the relationship than not. Let's just say if I were reading this scene out of context and trying to read the author's intentions from it, my best guess would honestly be that Petrel is flirting with Proton. But if that's the dynamic your characters have, don't go change it just so nobody could possibly read anything romantic into it ever (as if that wouldn't be futile anyway). Some real-life friends act towards each other in a way that makes outsiders assume they're a couple, just because that's how their personalities mesh and how their relationship developed; a friendship feeling couple-like doesn't mean you fail at writing friendships, just that this particular friendship works out in a way that's easily misinterpreted as romantic, and in the wider context of a story, the reader should be able to tell the difference.

(This does mean it has to feel like a consistent, natural part of their individual personalities and the dynamic between them - not all friends act couple-y, and if it really, really doesn't seem like what the characters would do or what they'd bring out in one another as friends, the reader may feel like there's something more to the dynamic.)

It is possible to inadvertently go beyond "friends with couple-like dynamics" into "no, really, they are secretly longing for each other" - if you start describing them touching each other in sensual ways, the electrified feelings of warmth they feel when they look at one another or have them thinking about each other while they're having sex with their girlfriends, the reader won't need slash goggles to assume the intended reading is romantic - but you'd generally need to be pretty oblivious to get into that territory without realizing it.

Also, you don't have to take it personally as a problem if people are interpreting your characters in unexpected ways. If you're communicating the wrong thing about the characters entirely - if the reader honestly walks away with the impression that you're setting up for them to leave their girlfriends for each other - then you may have a problem, but somebody seeing romantic subtext between your characters isn't the end of the world. Take it as a compliment: your characters and their dynamics are resonating with someone in a way greater than the sum of their parts. Well, so long as it doesn't get into the "You didn't make Proton and Petrel get together! How dare you!!!" kind of craziness.
 
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Skiyomi

Only Mostly Dead
Yeah, like the others said: not everyone is going to have the same interpretation of your writing as you. That's not a bad thing, and it probably shouldn't worry you too much. Certain people will read friendships as couplings and there's ultimately nothing you can do about it. It happens in romances and it happens in non-romances.

Though, there is some degree where you should start paying attention to this--particularly if you're writing a shipping fic and you're trying to highlight a completely different couple. If you're trying to write a story shipping Character A and Character B together and you get a lot of comments about Character A and Character C being a cute couple, that probably means that it's time to give the relationship between Character A and Character B more attention because it's coming out weaker than the one between two characters you meant to be just a friendship. In that case, I wouldn't suggest tamping down the friendship as a reaction--strong, platonic friendships are awesome. The thing to do in reaction to this is to spend more time developing the relationship between the two characters you actually want to be romantically involved.

That all relates to shipping fics, though, where the actual romance matters a lot. If you're not writing a shipping fic then you can probably shrug off the comments. But this is for Reunion, yes? If so, then the solution is probably to develop the relationship between Proton and Ellie (and as a secondary point, Petrel and Amy) further.

EDIT: Also, as a minor point, I tend to find repeated reference to characters by some kind of fanciful physical description (i.e. "the purple-haired rogue," "the golden-eyed maiden," "the capricious brunette") to be a common occurance in romance novels, so phrases like "The aqua haired boy" probably aren't doing you any favors in getting people's minds off romance and romantic tropes.
 
Yeah i think I'll put more emphases on the relationship I am trying to put in the spotlight. Besides, I don't believe it's in Proton or Petrel's personalities to flirt with each other. But that's just me judging from the games.
 

Sid87

I love shiny pokemon
Yeah i think I'll put more emphases on the relationship I am trying to put in the spotlight. Besides, I don't believe it's in Proton or Petrel's personalities to flirt with each other. But that's just me judging from the games.

I don't know that I have enough data just from their appearance in the games to decide I know who they definitively are, but I can say that I agree with Dragonfree. That scene definitely has romantic/shippy undercurrents. They hug, one of them touches the other and thinks "You are something else.", they exchange numbers for what seems like no reason at all, and they smile and joke about the one guy's weight. It reads as INCREDIBLY flirty to me. I wholeheartedly believe you when you say it's not what you want people to see, but...it's absolutely there.
 

Kutie Pie

"It is my destiny."
(Gonna feel more useless since everyone else pretty much said what needed to be said.)

But don't best friends do that? Or is it a gender thing?

Teasing each other, giving "man hugs" (the ones where they pretty much smack each other on the back while hugging), calling each other names in the aforementioned teasing tone, yeah, best friends, or at least good friends do that. If there's an inside joke that can come off as sexual (of course, it probably could be) to someone else not in on it, they can do that too.

When it comes to writing a friendship between two males, you have to be careful with your wording if they are only friends. The "friendly hug" you put in the small scenario may come off as something else. You could've said "a quick (shoulder, or however you wanted it) hug and slap on the back" and we would've gotten it immediately, "Oh, man hug!" (Here's the TV Tropes article.) When they're calling each other names or as a friendly jeer like the "you're so thin you can hang-glide on a Dorito", perhaps you could have it where Proton smirks or looks like he jeers while smiling. And calling Proton an "aqua-haired boy", like someone said, doesn't help. I imagine Proton's old enough to be in his mid-20s, so he'd be a man.

Despite my background in writing romance, I remove that trait when it comes to two or more guy friends just having a conversation, a man-to-man talk, or just calling out on each other while showing that they don't (sorta) really mean it. Gonna use one of my examples. *pulls out Deoxys and Rayquaza* These two are buddies now, though they were rivals, enemies... whatever for a while. They still show that, but it's not as cruel. Deoxys is a shrewd pervert, while Rayquaza is crude and makes come-backs on the fly.

A quick scenario in script format.

Deoxys: (walks up to Rayquaza's side, throws hands behind head and looks off in distance)

Rayquaza: (looks down suspiciously) The hell are you doing?

Deoxys: (still looking off in distance) Nothing.

Rayquaza: (glowers for a moment, then looks away while maintaining his suspicions)

Deoxys: (smirks, glances down at Rayquaza's tail end) Nice ass. I can see my lovely complexion in it.

Rayquaza: (growls, lifts up middle finger) Screw you.

Deoxys: (returns it) You wish, bub.

Raikou: (pops up from behind) You're right, Deoxys! Only you can talk about Rayquaza's ass and get away with it!

Deoxys: (arms morph into tendrils) Until I use these, that is. Ray, I'm gonna pop it off and use it as one of those jump-rope things, m'kay? (wraps tendrils around Rayquaza's tail end)

Rayquaza: (smacks Deoxys into air with his tail) Then I'm going to use your ass as one of those rubber ball things!

Raikou: (rolling on the floor laughing out loud)

Not a great example, I know, especially since it's not written out properly, but I think you can see the difference. It's mostly through the way you describe their body language and emotions that will tell us the relationship between the two or more characters.
 

Sid87

I love shiny pokemon
But don't best friends do that? Or is it a gender thing?

I'm a guy and I have guy friends. And I can count the number of times in my life on 1 finger than I have ever hugged another guy as a friend, and that was because his g/f made us because he was going away for a few months.

Also, I can honestly say I've never dreamily thought "You are something else" about any of my friends.

I might need more context on why there are scribbling down phone numbers for each other; especially since they work together, so it's not like they don't see each often enough. I don't see why they needed to hurry up and exchange numbers like that, unless Proton was going to invite Petrel to his fantasy football league or something. :)

Let's see what else...

My friends and I don't tend to rub or grab each others' shoulders. We give high fives after we score a point in ultimate frisbee and shake hands when we meet or get married or something else big, but that's pretty much all the physical contact we have.

And this:

“Oh and about your TV appearance, I thought you should know that you are so thin, you can hang glide on a Dorito!” Proton exclaimed. “So you cannot complain about the camera adding ten pounds.”

“Oh shut up, you!” Petrel said with a grin as he threw a paper ball at him and missed.

That just doesn't sound like genuine grown male dialogue. It sounds, honestly, like two high school girls. If you narrated that they started jumping around, giggling, and hitting each other with pillows while speaking those lines, I'd say "Yeah, that sounds right".

Now, I'm not saying EVERY guy acts like this or has to be described as such, and I'll cop to being somewhat of a touch-aphobe (no homo; I don't like women touching me unsolicited, either), but the scene DOES come across as very flirtacious and giddy because it's not how guys (especially grown, hard-*** men in a criminal organization) generally act.

Also, just for clarity's sake, I'm not trying to make you feel bad about your scene there. You're obviously not a 20 or 30 year old guy, so it's not necessarily going to be in your wheelhouse to just start writing those characters hyper-realistically. I just wanted to help by comparing my life experience as such a guy to the scene you wrote and see if that is helpful to you or not. :)
 
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Eh, I'm going to say that they dont have official ages in the games, so I just look at their artwork. That's why in this ficverse, they are younger than you see them because I see judge their artwork differently. That's why you see young boy, young man when I'm referring to these guys. But that's a separate cause.

But yeah, it was defiantly helpful to me what you wrote.
 

Ememew

Emerald Mew
That just doesn't sound like genuine grown male dialogue. It sounds, honestly, like two high school girls. If you narrated that they started jumping around, giggling, and hitting each other with pillows while speaking those lines, I'd say "Yeah, that sounds right".

Just going to interject here with the fact that I'm a girl, and we don't tend to talk like that either. ;)

But yeah, these are things that come off as more flirtatious than a normal conversation would. The fact that they're exchanging numbers strikes me as odd for another reason, though. If they're both high ranking members of an organized crime group - organized being the operative term - why don't they already know each others' contact info?
 

Diddy

Renegade
I'm a guy and I have guy friends. And I can count the number of times in my life on 1 finger than I have ever hugged another guy as a friend, and that was because his g/f made us because he was going away for a few months.

Also, I can honestly say I've never dreamily thought "You are something else" about any of my friends.

I might need more context on why there are scribbling down phone numbers for each other; especially since they work together, so it's not like they don't see each often enough. I don't see why they needed to hurry up and exchange numbers like that, unless Proton was going to invite Petrel to his fantasy football league or something. :)

Let's see what else...

My friends and I don't tend to rub or grab each others' shoulders. We give high fives after we score a point in ultimate frisbee and shake hands when we meet or get married or something else big, but that's pretty much all the physical contact we have.

Implying that it's normal for men who happen to be friends barely making contact with each other. I think Chandler and Joey have something to say about that. Are Chandler and Joey gay for each other? I could probably find a metric crap ton of fanfics that tell me they are, but they quite clearly aren't.

That's the distinction you have to make. People will ship anything. I've read a shipping fic between two paintings in a art exhibit, I've seen a shipping fic between two zeppelins, I've seen a shipping fic between the line piece and four almost completed rows in tetris (I honestly can't link to this enough. It does have quite a lot of innuendo in it though, so watch out for that) I've seen a shipping fic between Twilight Sparkle and the Candle Sconce that hangs on the front door of her library. Hell, I wrote a shipping fic between the Sinnoh Gym Leader, Gardenia and Celebi. Not that by grouping these example together do I imply that I wrote my Gardenia/Celebi fic as a joke (Quite the opposite, it's one of my all time favourite ships), but considering that I couldn't find another shipping fic with the same characters, you can tell that it was a unique one at least.

Sid does make two good points though:

This one

Also, I can honestly say I've never dreamily thought "You are something else" about any of my friends.

and this one

I might need more context on why there are scribbling down phone numbers for each other; especially since they work together, so it's not like they don't see each often enough. I don't see why they needed to hurry up and exchange numbers like that, unless Proton was going to invite Petrel to his fantasy football league or something. :)

I don't come across many guys who add you to their mobile phone contact list just because you might be friends with them. Generally there's a reason to add someone to your contact list, that reason being you can be contacted for something.
 

Tigereye13

Active Member
There are things in this that do seem like shipping in this little bit. Most people have already mentioned the main things but I’d figure I’d just talk about one thing.

After they exchanged numbers, they gave each other another friendly hug before Proton was about to leave.
The hugging thing is really dependent upon the person, not the gender. I am female and I dislike being hugged or touched by other people. I can name a female friend from high school who upon seeing someone would hug them as a greeting or farewell. I know some males from my collage that as a greeting will hug people and I know some that dislike being hugged by others. So it is really dependent upon the person’s personality and what personal space things they are comfortable with.

Just from how these two act in the game, I could see Petrel be willing to hug his friends while Proton not so much. Petrel is relaxed and somewhat friendly towards the player character despite the fact that the player is messing up their plans. He seems like a person who might be willing to hug his friends whatever his orientation is. Proton is the self-proclaimed ‘scariest and cruelest guy in Team Rocket’ so hugging for him doesn’t seem as intuitive of an idea, and to him it might be something that would hurt that image. Maybe Petrel hugging him just to joke around and Proton struggling to get free would work?
 
I know it's also personality, like the female executive I'm working into this fanverse of mine *slowly*, she does not like being hugged or touched and that's just my personal headcanon. Well unless she was touched by someone she secretly had a crush on (*COUGH*Archer*COUGH*) then yeah, she doesn't like to be hugged.

But that's a different story. But yeah that could work since I've had Petrel make Proton angry and not even know it, but would that idea make him seem gay?
 

Kaiserin

please wake up...
Well, if the focus of the fic isn't on them or their (lack of) romance, I would just leave it alone. You don't need to go out of your way to dispel a handful of readers who think they're totally gay for each other... or, I guess, who would ship them regardless, depending on the reader. On a smaller scale, that's exactly what happens with people who create fictional franchises of any medium, every single time, without fail -- some things are taken by the fandom in a way the author didn't intend, or people start shipping things the author didn't push for, etc. But more often than not, the authors don't care and don't bother pouring effort into making it exactly how they envisioned it while leaving absolutely no room for interpretation whatsoever, because that's still up to the reader to decide how they want to perceive what they've just read, in the end. After all, most of the fun in any story comes from challenging the audience to fill in their own blanks where necessary.

It might help to dedicate a scene or two to fleshing out their bond if it bothers you that much, but you'd still probably be better off just letting people think what they want. Even if you put your foot down, shippers are still gonna ship, you know?
 

Azurne

~ ♥ ~
There's nothing wrong with being a "yaoi fan brat" even if you were one. :p

That said, it's your work. If you said two characters are or are not gay, then they are or aren't, simple as that. If people want to ship those two characters they will do so regardless of how you feel about the situation.
 
I know there's nothing wrong with it but many people on FF and on DA complain about slash fiction and as someone said, it's often pinned to young girl writers and since I'm like maybe one of the youngest people on here, I'm more prone to that stereotype.
 

JX Valentine

Ever-Discordant
I know there's nothing wrong with it but many people on FF and on DA complain about slash fiction

I wouldn't worry about FFNet and dA. They tend to represent the more close-minded parts of fandom. If you want to know whether or not you'll be accepted in a different community, go into it understanding that not every community is, well... anything like them. I'm not sure what the atmosphere of the shipping forum here is like, but I'm sure they really wouldn't look down on you just for writing about two guys bromancing it up.

'Course, that might not stop them from interpreting those two differently from how you intended, but I'm just saying don't stress out too much about it. They're probably not going to judge you for it. *nod*
 
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