Your friend's pissed, lost and scared and just asked you for a lift but your girlfriend's telling you to blow him off. What do you do? Ditch her, of course.
This trope refers to the concept of putting friends before a romantic interest, with the idea that love is fleeting, but True Companions are forever. Although, this is ignoring the fact that friendships can also be fleeting and can have the same problems that romances could be plagued with.
A sub-trope of The Bro Code.
"Pals before gals" is the G rated version. "Mates before dates" is an Australian version. "Chicks before dicks" is picking up steam as the feminine version; "sisters before misters" or "Bows before bros" works too.
- Blue Flag has a rare opposite sex friendship variant. Mami Yagihara, a girl who was tired of romantic drama and wanted a solid platonic friendship with guys, ended up fast friends with her classmate Shingo. One day, he was found beaten up by the guys in class, one of whom decided to confess to Mami. While she's initially touched, she puts two and two together and realizes those boys found Shingo a romantic threat and bullied him so he'd stay away from Mami—and rejects the boy wholesale, decking him in the face for it along the way.
- Ouran High School Host Club: Quite literally when Kaoru gives up on his romantic feelings for Haruhi so that his brother, Hikaru, can realise his feelings for her so that he might learn to grow to be a little more independent.
- Soul Eater: Soul and Black Star. Though not just hoes; anything really.
- Wolf's Rain: Bros before total and utter betrayal.
- Berserk: A panel of Sirs Owen and Laban greeting each other◊ has acquired via Memetic Mutation the caption "Brethren Before Wenches." Canonically, neither shows much interest in wenches in general.
- Kind-of inverted with Casca, who tells Guts she cannot go with him because Griffith, crippled for life, needs her more. She even tries to convince Guts to not stay with her when he offers to.
- Throughout their lives in My Love Story!!, Gentle Giant Takeo has seen the girls he likes prefer his buddy Suna, only for Suna to always reject them. The reason: All those girls would badmouth Takeo behind his back. Takeo would frequently return the favor, in particular going to be with Suna when his father's in the hospital, even though it meant abandoning a birthday date with his girlfriend (after Suna had insisted he go). The aforementioned girlfriend later shows up at the hospital as well, having made a garland of origami cranes for Suna's father.
- Kaguya-sama: Love Is War:
- During the Culture Festival arc, Kashiwagi forgoes dancing with her boyfriend Tsubasa at the bonfire to spend time with Maki instead. When Maki asks why, Kashiwagi simply responded that she cares more for her best friend than him.
- Likewise, while Maki may have had feelings for Tsubasa long before Kashiwagi started dating him, she never makes any serious attempts to steal him away because she cares for Kashiwagi too much as a friend to break her heart like that. And when Kashiwagi tries to dump Tsubasa so Maki can date him at the end of the series, Maki actually gets angry that Kashiwagi thinks she'd want to do so at the expense of her friend's happiness.
- The Quintessential Quintuplets has the eponymous quintuplets all trying to be in the same group as Fuutarou for their school trip... then Fuutarou reveals that he's already formed a group with his male classmates. Fans coined the phrase "bros before quints" in response.
- Grand Blue has this in Busujima's introduction chapters. While the girls are perfectly fine flirting with Kouhei and Iori, once they learn of Kohei's Otaku hobbies they instantly start mocking him for it. Iori, despite craving female attention, decides to dump the girls and go after Kohei.
- Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade is a very dark example, with Fuse having to choose between his brothers-in-arms in the Wolf Brigade (Bros) and the Mysterious Waif/double agent he is falling in love with (Ho). It turns out he already chose Bros, having known the Ho was The Mole the whole time. It still pains him deeply to shoot her for the sake of his friends.
- Deconstructed in Ino-Head Gargoyle. Back in high school, Saejima always put his friends before his girlfriend, which is why she broke up with him and never told him about their son.
- A gender inversion occurs in Negima! Magister Negi Magi. Misa Kakizaki wants to make a serious move on Nagi Springfield who is actually just a magically aged-up Negi, but wonders if she's being unfair to her friend Ako Izumi, whose feelings she supports.
- In the Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen story "Jimmy Olsen's Wedding", Jimmy dreams about being married to Lucy Lane, only for her to keep harassing him about his bond with Superman at every turn. When Jimmy awakens, he essentially tells her that if it comes down to a choice between her and his pal, she can expect to lose.
- A French comic adaptation of The Epic of Gilgamesh has Enkidu have a worrying dream, and goes to Gilgamesh's room to talk about it. On seeing him busy with two women, he hesitates, but Gilgamesh immediately kicks the girls out, even asking them what the hell they're still doing there when his blood-brother wants to speak with him.
- The female-solidarity version happens twice in Adventure Time with Fionna & Cake: Card Wars. First Cake upsets her adopted sister Fionna by failing to respond when a member of her otherwise all-male gaming club insults her. Later, when Cake is playing Prince Gumball, one of Fionna's potential love interests, Gumball suggests that this might create a conflict of loyalty for Fionna, but Fionna absolutely denies this.
- Red Ears: Downplayed when a guy catches his wife in bed with his best friend. They're not even really angry at each other, and decide to settle the dispute over a card game instead of fisticuffs. Just to keep it interesting, the best friend suggests they put in 10 bucks on the side.
- Wonder Woman: There are across all iterations a small subset of the Amazons who believe in sisters before misters so strongly that an Amazon spending any time with a male loved one when she could be doing something for her "sisters" is seen by them as a terrible betrayal.
- Secret Six: When Deadshot is forced to choose between his girlfriend Jeanette and his best friend Catman, he picks Catman. Instantly. Multiple times.
- The Mass Effect Kink Meme gives us this. To say more would be to spoil it.
- Homestuck fanworks have given us the phrase "rails before pails".
- Simon repeats this phrase over and over to himself after he sees Kamina kissing Yoko in the satire of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
- Coeur Al'Aran's Dating What Daddy Hates RWBY: Part of the reason Weiss chooses Sun to be her fake boyfriend is because of this; since Sun's friend Neptune is interested in Weiss, she knows he won't try to make things weird. Likewise, Sun is interested in Weiss' friend Blake. However, when Neptune realizes that Weiss and Sun do have real chemistry, he is quick to tell Sun that he should go for it. Weiss and Neptune haven't been on a single date, so Neptune doesn't have any real claim on her. On the other side of things, Yang tells Weiss to go for it because Blake mostly sees Sun as a Dogged Nice Guy and isn't really going to mind if Weiss ends up dating him instead.
- Tales of Fairies:
- Gender-inverted in The Black Book of Boyfriends, where three of the guys from Lucy's book of potential boyfriends (Gray, Jellal, and Laxus) are crossed out for different reasons, with the fact that each of them is taken (respectfully by Juvia, Erza, and Freed) as the one reason shared between them.
- A Played for Laughs gender-inversion in Bros Before Hoes, where the other guys think that Gajeel had violated this trope by not only inviting his long-time friend Juvia to their boys-only meeting but also sharing the private stuffs they discussed at those meetings with her. Gajeel argues that he is following the code, namely with Juvia as his "bro" while her own Love Interest Gray is the "hoe".
- Fate Grand Dungeon: Heracles begins training Bell Cranel and urges him not to reveal his identity or that of the other Servants. When Bell's crush Ais asks who Heracles is, he nearly gives it away, but remembers and stops himself. Heracles looks on in approval and quotes in his head, "Women were temporary, brotherhood was eternal."
- In Open Season it is phrased as the PG-friendly "bros before does."
- Subverted in the Disney film The Three Caballeros where the theme song is all about "bros" until this verse: "Through fair and stormy weather / We stand close together / Like books on a shelf / And pals though we may be / When some Latin baby / Says yes, no, or maybe / Each man is for himself!"
- Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie: "Nerds Before Birds" is a mantra the titular Nerd lives by.
- A Boy and His Dog: When Blood is dying from thirst and starvation, Quilla tries to convince Vic to abandon him. Instead Vic kills and cooks Quilla for Blood's lunch; it doesn't get any more bros before hoes than that.
- A rather extreme version from Clint Eastwood's Bronco Billy:
Antoinette Lilly: Have you ever been married?
Bronco Billy: Sure. A long time ago.
Antoinette Lilly: Did you love her?
Bronco Billy: With all my heart. Sometimes that just isn't enough.
Antoinette Lilly: What happened?
Bronco Billy: I caught her in bed with my best friend.
Antoinette Lilly: What did you do to him?
Bronco Billy: I shot her.
Antoinette Lilly: What! What about him?
Bronco Billy: He was my best friend.
- Con Air: While Cyrus's gang refuel the plane, one of them is sent to hide the transponder on another plane. In the hangar he meets a female mechanic and is so busy talking to her that he misses the take and is shot while trying to catch up, explicitly dying because he chose to stay with the woman instead of returning to the bros.
- In Heneral Luna, the titular general recounts with his adjutant Rusca an incident when he was still a student in Europe, when he and his friend José Rizal almost fought a duel to the death over a woman's affections. Luna was drunk at the time and, when he sobered up, quickly apologized.
- In Hold-up, a trio of bank robbers is made of two friends, Grimm (Jean-Paul Belmondo), Georges (Guy Marchand) and the girlfriend of Georges, Lise (Kim Cattrall). After they pull off their heist, Lise makes it clear to Grimm that she loves him and not Georges. Ultimately, Grimm refuses Lise's offer to leave solely with her, out of his friendship with Georges.
- In How To Stop Being A Loser Ampersand shouts the phrase to James at the airport, but it's the cheese sandwich that saves the day.
- Duncan and Charlie do all but cite this in Mystery Team.
- In New Jack City, drug king Nino Brown makes with his friend Gee Money's mistress when she offers herself to him. When Gee Money later voices his anger at Nino for taking everything for himself, Nino dismisses the girl as a skank and says that Gee means infinitely more to him.
- Saw 3D has two men in a trap with a woman who's been bedding them both and having them steal to get her what she wanted. One of the three will be killed by the trap, while the other two will survive. The two men initially compete against each other to get the other man killed, when the woman makes the fatal mistake of cheering one on and saying she never loved the other... and then reversing it and cheering on the other one when he seems to be winning. At that point, they both realise she was playing them for fools and decide she's not worth it, before letting the trap kill her. Bros before hoes, graphically portrayed.
- Someone Great has the "chicks before dicks" variation; Blair is reluctant to admit her feelings for Matt because he used to date her good friend Jenny.
- In Transformers (2007): Sam's friend protests ("Bros before hoes!") to no avail as he is ejected from the car to make room for Mikeala.
- In White Christmas, the song "Sisters" subverts this:
Those who've seen us
Know that not a thing can come between us
Many men have tried to split us up
But no one can.
Pity the mister
Who comes between me and my sister
And pity the sister
Who comes between me and my man!
- Zig-zagged in Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts with the FFF: a bunch of single guys who can't get dates and will hunt down anyone else who gets any luck with girls because they want everyone to know how it feels to be alone.
- Cal Leandros: Referenced and Played for Laughs. In Blackout, Cal convinces Niko to get a tattoo which matches Cal's own, but has Ishiah write the text in Aramaic for him, as it's one of the few language Niko cannot read. When Niko inquires the tattoo's meaning, Cal claims it's 'Bros before Hoes', but hastily admits it's actually 'Brothers before Souls' before Niko can rip him a new one.
- Duumvirate: Jeremy references this trope by name when realizing his servant is far more valuable to him than his girlfriend.
- Gathering the Enchanted: Inverted. Bannor's best friend Daniel ditches him so he can date Bannor's ex, Becca. And this is all going on while Bannor is being ostracized by those around him because of the event where he saved Daniel and Becca's lives from a movie theater shooting. Ouch.
- Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating: In a female version, Aisling and Deirdre grow upset with Hani claiming she's ignoring them for her (fake) girlfriend Ishu. In fact however they're being less than accommodating of her relationship, and basically don't want her to date Ishu period, using this as a way to undermine them.
- In My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!, this is the main reason why Nicol treats his crush on Catarina as Forbidden Love – it's less about the fact that she's betrothed, but that she's betrothed to his Childhood Friend Geordo.
- A Place Beyond Courage: Patrick of Salisbury is dismissive of the men who have declared allegiance to Matilda in the civil war. Despite them being genuinely devoted to her, he denounces a woman’s attempts to rule and claims her followers could do much better in her rival Stephen’s camp. His sister Sybilla calls him out on his presumptions and he essentially invokes this trope:
Sybilla: "So it is better to betray those you love than to hold by them?"Patrick: "Love is a conceit of women encouraged by troubadors. A man’s loyalty is to his family first, and then his lord. He cannot afford to be softened by devotion to a mistress - whether he beds her or not."
- Romance of the Three Kingdoms: Invoked/referenced where Liu Bei stops Zhang Fei from committing suicide over a failure with "[b]rothers are as hands and feet; wives and children are as clothing. You may mend your torn dress, but who can reattach a lost limb?". Though this could also be credited with how he 'justified' tossing the rescued Liu Shan to the ground just because it endangers Zhao Yun...
- Another story or variant of the novel features the three brothers almost breaking the code, and then realizing in time that they should have kept their code together: After the defeat of Lu Bu, Cao Cao hands over his lover Diao Chan to the three brothers on the purpose of breaking them up. Initially the plan worked, with Liu Bei and Zhang Fei occasionally bickering on who gets to be with Diao Chan. Guan Yu, however, smells a rat about how many powerful men fell due to the wiles of a beautiful woman and deduces that they're falling for Cao Cao's trap. So one night, he took Diao Chan for a walk alone and then kills her. Henceforth, the three brothers never argued again and Cao Cao's plan is thwarted.
- To All the Boys I've Loved Before: There is a "Sistahs Before Mistahs" variation where although Lara Jean has feelings for Josh, even though he and her sister Margot break up, Lara Jean refuses to act on her feelings because she knows Margot still has feelings for Josh and it would be a betrayal to her sister.
- On Parks and Recreation, Leslie invents some feminine versions when Ann asks her if she can go out with Leslie's crush Mark:
Leslie: Oh Ann, I am so fine. As long as you and me are cool. You know my code. Hos before bros. Uteruses before duderuses.
Ann: Got it.
Leslie. Ovaries before brovaries.
- The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon, of course, gives us the Expo Speak version.
Sheldon: Howard has informed me that my allegiance be to male comrades before women who sell their bodies for money.
Leonard: Are you sure he didn't say 'bros before hos'?
Sheldon: Well, I changed the phrasing so as not to offend the hos.
Sheldon: He was actually quite sympathetic. His exact words were: "I got your back, Jack. Bitches be crazy."
- In another instance Sheldon's World of Warcraft account was hacked and they managed to trace the perpetrator. At the time Leonard was dating Raj's sister, Priya, and while everyone was set to track down their foe, Leonard was hesitant about stiffing Priya two nights in a row over this thing. This leads to Raj saying "Come on, Bros before ... my sister!"
- There's also the episode in which Sheldon tries to shove Amy out of his life (fearing a Relationship Upgrade) by simply ignoring her... because he's Sheldon, he even takes down one of the street numbers of their building so she can't forward him any letters, and when Leonard asks him what they would do about the mailman, he tells him that he explained the whole situation to the mailman and...
- On 30 Rock when Jack wants to put his girlfriend's needs ahead of company's he mentions he can't because the company has a strict "B's before H's" code.
- Ted pulls a non-gendered version in How I Met Your Mother, dumping his girlfriend Karen after she told him he couldn't be friends with Lily anymore — this is even after he got into a huge fight with Lily because she tried to underhandedly break him and Karen up.
Barney: Hey, bros before hoes, right? No matter how mad she made me, Robin's still my bro.
- This version is also present in Barney's Bro Code as well. For instance, a bro must always, whenever possible, provide another bro with protection.
- "Bros Before Hoes" is, in fact, the very first commandment of the Bro Code, as passed down by Broses.
- Barney demonstrates that the concept is much more complicated that it first seems (for those unfamiliar, Robin is a female character):
- This version is also present in Barney's Bro Code as well. For instance, a bro must always, whenever possible, provide another bro with protection.
- Inverted in the Seinfeld episode "The Stranded". Jerry explains the Male Code as not only putting women over your friends, but that your friends must accept it without question and are obligated to do whatever it takes to help you hook up with the woman, no matter how much it screws them over. In the episode, Jerry allows George to take a woman home from a house party in the car, leaving him and Elaine stranded there for hours. When Elaine complains, Jerry says there was nothing he could do. "It's part of the Code."
Jerry: All plans between men are tentative. If one man should suddenly have an opportunity to pursue a woman, it's like these two guys never met each other ever in life. This is the Male Code. And it doesn't matter how important the arrangements are, I mean, most of the time when they scrub a space shuttle mission it's because one of the astronauts met someone on his way to the launch pad. They hold that countdown. He's leaning against the rocket talking to her, "So listen, when I get back what do you say we get together for some Tang?"
- In Dollhouse in "The Hollow Men", Topher tells Boyd something and this ensues:
Boyd: Thank you for confiding in me, Topher.
Topher: Of course. Bros before others who are... not bros.
- Happy Endings has "Bros before bros", invoked when Max falls in love with the son of Dave's food truck rival. Later Max tries to make things better by getting the son to talk to his dad about ending the feud, but it backfires because the father invokes "Dads before lads".
- Referenced in Glee. Finn's football teammates give him an ultimatum at one point: "Bros before hi-ho's!" (a reference to singing and Glee Club.)
- At the end of Season 3 of Game of Thrones, Jon Snow deserts his wildling Love Interest Ygritte to warn his brothers in the Nights Watch (called 'Crows' by the wildlings for their black uniforms) about the impending attack. She responded by putting three arrows in Jon as he rode off. Fans promptly dubbed this a case of Crows Before Hoes With Bows.
- Done repeatedly in shows about criminal gangs.
- In The Sopranos episode "Long Term Parking", Adrianna reveals to Christopher that she is an informant for the FBI, and asks him to run away with her. Christopher instead chooses to reveal this to Tony and cover up her murder.
- Sons of Anarchy, Both Opie and Jax have women in their lives trying to pull them out of the life. Both choose the gang over their women, and both of said women end up dead as a result. In the backstory, John Teller choosing his Irish lover over the Sons is what gets him killed.
- Gender-flipped on The Wire, Det. Kima Griggs chooses to hang out with her male police officer colleagues over her girlfriend, ultimately costing her that relationship.
- MTV's NEXT has some males ditch the girl in favor of the money specifically because they had a great time with the other guys in the bus.
- Big Wolf on Campus - Tommy learns that Corey Haim is an actual vampire, has buried his best friend Merton alive, and is about to make his girlfriend a vampire. Merton attempts to invoke this over a radio:
"Although saving Lori first may seem like the best idea, you should note that while girls come and go, friends last forever. Unless they're RUNNING OUT OF OXYGEN!"
- Never Have I Ever: In season 4 Devi struggles with her attraction to Ethan because she knows that Eleanor, one of her best friends, is also interested in him. Ethan himself is a big flirt who kisses both girls. Later Eleanor lets Devi pursue Ethan because she's realized she's not over Trent.
- In the Norse Hávamál, a significant portion of the divine advice can be boiled down to "bros before hoes".
- Umi from Kindred Spirits on the Roof practices a variant of this, since her Love Interest Sasa is her friend rather than a relative stranger. Umi accepts Sasa's Love Confession, but puts friendship above all else, and gets Sasa to agree that they'll break up if their going out makes things awkward with their mutual friend Nena. Fortunately, Nena, who is a Shipper on Deck for Umi and Sasa, calls them out on even considering breaking up for her sake and insists that they stay together.
- In The Frollo Show, Frollo says this to Panty, refusing to kick his friend Gaston's ass. He then does a fist bump with him and a "Your Princess Is in Another Castle!" ending ensues.
- The phrase is Parodied by Overly Sarcastic Productions, which gives Artemis, virgin goddess of the hunt, the motto "bows before bros".
- The kid-friendly "pals before gals" is used on The Amazing World of Gumball.
- Stan Smith gives this bit of knowledge to son Steve on American Dad!. Stan even says this phrase to George Clooney in "Tears of a Clooney".
- Inverted with The Three Caballeros.
And pals though we may beWhen some Latin babySays yes, no, or maybeEach man is for himself.
- There's a song by fictional rapper Gangstalicious on The Boondocks called "Homies Over Hos", which masquerades as this trope but is actually very much in favor of "ho" as in "Ho Yay", making it something of an inversion (as it prioritizes romantic / sexual prospects over friends, just with a different gender component). A Pimp Named Slickback inverts it more directly, saying that there are many, many things he will put before a ho, but a bro is not one of them. In fact, a bro is pretty much the only thing he won't put before a ho. (In case his name doesn't make it obvious, in this context he means "hoes" as in literal prostitutes whom he profits off of.)
A Pimp Named Slickback: I mean, don't get me wrong, A Pimp Named Slickback will put a lot of things over a hoe. Money over a hoe? Always. Brand new gators over a hoe? Absolutely. A turkey sandwich with just tomato? Guaranteed. But homies? Oh, no. A Pimp Named Slickback don't do shit for the homies. Let me reiterate: Don't. Do. Shit for the homies. Unless that homie wanna walk that stroll and get that money, the homie ain't gettin' a goddamn thing. And the same goes for brothas, peeps, dudes, fellas, dunnies, comrades, whatever the fuck niggas is callin' each other nowadays. Sounds like some gay shit to me.
- Transformers: Prime - A G-rated version in the episode "Plus One". Jack is concerned about his mother and Agent Fowler getting closer, and gets more distressed when Miko suggests Arcee (his robot Cool Big Sis) might hook up with Wheeljack. By the end of the episode, one of those fears has been put to rest.
Jack: [watching Wheeljack and Bulkhead shake hands] Bromance trumps romance.
Miko: Glad to be your bro, bro.
- In Gravity Falls, it's "bros before dinos", spoken by Soos as he saves the others from dinosaurs.
- In Miraculous Ladybug episode "Party Crasher" Adrien's guy friends from class sneak into his mansion so they can hang out and have fun while Adrien's dad is (allegedly) out of town on business. However, when Marinette wants to take part, Nino is adamant that it should be guys-only, much to Adrien's confusion.
- In The Simpsons, Mrs. Krabappel leaves Skinner at the altar. Despite he doesn't like Skinner, Nelson is mad at her. His reason? Bros Before Hoes.
- Total Drama: The guys discuss which girl they'll jointly vote for to get eliminated in "Super Hero-ld". Duncan wants to vote off Leshawna, which her admirer Harold obviously doesn't want. He reminds Duncan that the two of them have an alliance with her and that if anything, he should be voted off for betraying said alliance. Duncan responds with intimidation and the phrase "Pals before gals!"
- In Undergrads, Nitz Walsh is frequently taken to task by his male friends for ditching them whenever his crush Kimmie wants something from him. While Kimmie is undoubtedly a nice girl, she's completely oblivious to Nitz's affections for her.