Swat Bromance: Bill Beck and Nathan Wainstein

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Every Valentine’s Day, the Gazette sheds light on one or two campus romances for some easy human interest fluff. But there are equally important relationships all around us that often go unnoticed. I am of course referring to the bromance – that most magical of platonic male bonds that can only be described by a portmanteau.

This Valentine’s Day, the Gazette spoke with what it deemed to be the best bromance on campus: seniors Bill Beck and Nathan Wainstein, known more concisely as Bathan.

DG: Are you guys surprised that the Daily Gazette chose you as Swat’s Best Bromance?

Bill: I think I’m definitely not surprised, but I don’t think we fit the bromance category.

Nathan: Yeah, I just don’t know about the superlative. You can’t really judge it based on, you know, what you see in Sharples and stuff.

Bill: I don’t know if we’re bro-y enough, to get the bromance vote.

DG: Ok, but you’ve got the “-mance” down. So how did you guys first meet and how did your friendship develop?

Bill: Fairly good story.

Nathan: Kind of a good story. You tell it better.

Bill: Well, we got each other’s names as roommates from the administration, so I sent him a Facebook message like, “Hey, I’m really excited, glad that you’re gonna be my roommate!” and sent some questions about what I should bring and stuff like that…but my email was like super enthusiastic, and then he just responded, umm, “Yeah, sounds great.” Period, that was it.

And I remember my first impression of him was just looking at his Facebook pictures, and I guess he had just been in a musical so it was just, 100 pictures of him as Gaston? So, I didn’t know what I was getting…

DG: So clearly the housing office played a role there. They tend to do a pretty good job.

Nathan: Yeah, it’s pretty unbelievable.

DG: But what made you stay together?

Nathan: Uhh…

Bill: No problems?

Nathan: Yeah, we’re kind of like the same person. That’s gotta be part of it. We have a routine, we sort of have a routine down. No problems.

DG: No problems? Have you ever gotten into a fight, or what’s been the biggest challenge to your friendship?

Nathan: Umm…there was one year that I brought an Xbox from my house. And we played, like, NBA2K4. It was like really, really old. And we played it every day after Sharples in the spring and we wanted to kill each other every day. The game was really cheap, it wasn’t really a game.

Bill: Yeah, you could dunk in ways you shouldn’t be able to dunk, in real life.

Nathan: It was infuriating.

DG: But you kept playing it?

Nathan: We kept playing it.

Bill: We pulled through.

Nathan: Probably had some of my most agony-filled moments playing that game.

DG: Umm, it honestly doesn’t sound that agonizing, so generally you’ve just got this idyllic, kind of Stepford Wives relationship going on? You know, some friendships are dominated by ups and downs and it seems like you guys are just, always with each other and pretty chill overall.

Bill: Pretty static. Yeah.

Nathan: I mean, I don’t find it that surprising though. Do guy friends usually fight a lot? Unless it’s competitive, unless it’s like a game.

Bill: I have ended friendships over Scrabble games before.

DG: So were you also roommates sophomore year?

Bill: Yeah, yeah, three years.

DG: And now, are you, like, living next door to each other?

Nathan and Bill: Yes.

Bill: Just a wall separating.

Nathan: We knock on the wall sometimes…

DG: Any one story that kind of epitomizes your relationship with each other?

Bill: Do we have any really good stories? I think if it’s epitomizing our relationship it’s gonna be pretty boring…

Nathan: Maybe the pushups? I mean sometimes we would like, do our pushups at the same time before going to sleep.

Bill: Not on purpose though.

Nathan: Yeah, sometimes it just happened.

DG: Your rhythms cycled together?

Nathan: Rhythms, yeah. We were just totally synchronized.

DG: So, like, at the exact same beat, or…?

Nathan: Maybe not the same beat but pretty much, sharing the same floor-space.

Bill: Maybe we could think of a better story…is there another question?

DG: How would you say your relationship differs from a romantic one?

Bill: I’d say romances are more exciting, probably? Hopefully?

Nathan: He’s probably right.

Bill: We eat dinner together all the time, but I feel like there have been weeks when we’ve sat across from each other and just, barely spoke to each other.

DG: So maybe a romantic relationship would demand a bit more communication. Isn’t that kind of the ideal though, where you can just, sit in silence and enjoy each other’s company?

Bill: I guess it’s the ideal for like, 80 year olds.

DG: So you’ve got an octogenarian relationship.

Nathan: Especially since we go to Sharples at like, 4 o’clock, for the early bird special and then, not speak.

DG: So…physically speaking…what’s the furthest that you’ve gotten with each other?

Nathan: Other than, like, helping each other do pushups—well there was that one night that I was sleeping in a cot next to his bed, so we were technically, basically sleeping in the same bed.

Bill: That’s not in the same bed…I mean, physically, we play basketball together…

Nathan: Yeah, lots of basketball. Lots of contact. I’ve used his razor.

Bill: He’s used my boxers.

Nathan: I’ve used his boxers.

DG: (long pause) So do you guys have any plans for Valentine’s Day?

Nathan: Uhh…with each other?

Bill: He’s got a girlfriend now, so…

Nathan: Yeah, yeah so I might, I’ll probably…well I’ll probably save some time to hang out with him on Valentine’s Day.

Bill: Actually [Nathan’s girlfriend] did invite me.

Nathan: She did invite him so, yeah he’s probably gonna come on my date, yeah.

Bill: It’s also been suggested that I come as a third for screw…

Nathan: As an alternate.

Bill: (laughing) As an alternate, yeah. Just in case it doesn’t work out.