This post is arguing against using two specific terms which contribute to the debasement of the English language. (There are so many attacks on the dignity of the English language that every such Jeremiad is a drop in the bucket. But we have to try.)
These two terms are "bromance" and "mancrush." If you regard yourself as even culturally conservative, much less politically conservative, don't use these words.
Reason 1: They are ugly.
Reason 2: They are multiply ambiguous. I find it interesting that conservative people who use such terms rush to explain that they have no homosexual meaning. Methinks the...er...modern language user doth protest too much. Oh, sure, they are meant to be used in contexts where, in fact, the speaker is not alleging that the person or people in question have homosexual feelings. But in terms of connotations, it would be silly to pretend that these words do not have romantic connotations. After all, the words "crush" and "romance" certainly have such connotations in the English language. Combining them with male prefixes does not change this. I find it interesting to see, in person, the slight grin with which such words are used. They are intended to be humorous, at least a little. Why? I would contend, partly because of those allegedly non-existent feminizing connotations.
Moreover, even on their own terms, the words are ambiguous. "Mancrush," even if we take at face value the "no erotic connotations" claim, can be used for any of the following:
--Dignified, justified admiration.
--Excessive, undignified admiration like that of an irrational fan.
--Admiration as of a much younger person to an older person. Puppy-like admiration.
--Desire for friendship.
"Bromance," even taking at face value the "no erotic connotations" claim, can be used for
--Deep, loyal, emotionally charged friendship between two males.
--Strong, loyal friendship between two males without emotional connotations.
Language should be used precisely. Say what you mean.
I was struck speechless (momentarily) on the one and only brief occasion when I got to meet Antonin Scalia and shake his hand. I felt like a starstruck fan, because I have had such a great admiration for him as a jurist and a man of principle and had wanted to meet him for a long time. I got his autograph. (No, this is not an invitation to argue about Scalia's legacy in the comments thread.) Saying all of that is a lot more informative and clear than saying that I have a "crush" on Justice Scalia.
Reason 3: These terms demean legitimate male feelings and relationships. We live in a time when normal male friendship and admiration are becoming more and more difficult to understand and describe. The last thing we need is to adopt terminology that puts down these feelings, speaking of them as if they are intrinsically effeminate or childish. "Friendship" sounds manly, admirable, and dignified. "Bromance" sounds like something to be embarrassed about.
If you are trying to raise a boy, you want to teach him to aspire to have friends, to love his friends, to be loyal to his friends. He's going to have a hard enough time in this world understanding all of this without wondering if he "might be gay." Don't use an effeminate-sounding, embarrassing neologism to describe friendship.
The same is true of admiration. If a young philosopher admires a more established philosopher, this is often a good thing (if the established philosopher is a good philosopher). The younger man shouldn't be learning to describe his admiration by posting on Facebook, "I have a huge mancrush on Professor X." That unnecessarily deprecates his own admiration for Professor X. It's part of the millenials' penchant for describing things that are serious and dignified in ironic or self-deprecating terms, and as such it should be discouraged. Say what you mean like a man and stand by it.
Ask yourself: If Professor X saw my posting, would he feel queasy and embarrassed about saying, "Thank you so much for your kind words?" If you post, "I enormously admire Professor X for all his work," etc., then he may feel somewhat embarrassed, but less so and in a different way than he will if you post, "I have a huge mancrush on Professor X." Imagine what he would or could say in response to that!
If admiring Professor X is a good and noble thing, because Professor X is a person deserving of great admiration, then don't say that you "have a mancrush" on him. That is unfair to everybody in the situation.
If, on the other hand, you really think that Bob's admiration for Professor X is silly (say, Bob is saving forever the paper napkin he happened to pick up when Professor X dropped it on the floor at a restaurant), then decide whether you want to say that to other people. If you do, say something like, "I admire Professor X a lot, but Bob takes it to extremes. For example,..." Even as a criticism of Bob, that is better than "mancrush."
I have found that it is sometimes difficult to get young people, and some older people, to understand the importance of language. They tend to adopt neologisms unthinkingly, and of course the internet encourages this. Hence, mildly unpleasant euphemisms like "friggin'" spread like kudzu by sheer osmosis. And if everybody on Facebook, including all your Christian friends, posts that his wife is "smokin' hot," then I guess it's hard to swim against the stream and say that that is a debased way of talking about one's wife. And don't get me started on being the last hold-out on terms like the generic "he" and "mankind."
I encourage everybody who values language, precision, and human dignity to be more careful about adopting neologisms. These are two that we can do without.