The rituals, the male bonding.

Tea Addict

Senior Member
Republic of Korea Korean
Hello everyone. I would like to know what "The rituals, the male bonding." means in the following sentences:

Most of them went to Trevellyan’s. We were all bonded by that place. Not in the same way that Will and I are bonded – that’s only the two of us. But we are tied by the other stuff. The rituals, the male bonding.

- Lucy Foley, The Guest List, Chapter 15

This is a thriller novel published in 2020 in the United Kingdom. One hundred and fifty guests gathered at some remote and deserted fictional islet called Inis an Amplóra off the coast of the island of Ireland to celebrate the wedding between Jules (a self-made woman running an online magazine called The Download) and Will (a celebrity appearing in a TV show program called Survive the Night). The day before the actual wedding day, at the rehearsal dinner, Johnno, the best man, remembers how most of the ushers went to the same school as that of Will and himself, and how they are bonded by the place.

In this part, I am wondering:
(1) Would it be right to understand the structure of the phrase as "we are tied by the other stuff, the rituals, and the male bonding"? Or, "we are tied by the other stuff such as the rituals and the male bonding"...?
(2) Are the two words in the phrase (the rituals, the male bonding) in apposition with each other? Or, does the latter word (the male bonding) explain the former word (rituals)...? I am confused about this because the rituals feel like specific actions on their own, whereas the male bonding feels like it is some process/duration, so the characters of the two words seem different. I wonder if "male bonding" itself can have a meaning like a specific action...

I would very much appreciate your help. :)
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    "we are tied by the other stuff such as the rituals and the male bonding"
    This. Although "such as" might give the wrong impression; there isn't really a suggestion of there being anything else, and "the rituals, the male bonding" appears to be a description of "the other stuff".

    I would treat "the rituals" and "the male bonding" as being separate things, rather than their being two descriptions of the same thing, although there is clearly overlap between the two, and I imagine that most of the rituals involved some kind of male bonding. However, the male bonding probably covers a lot more than the rituals. Both terms are vague, and the narrator might find it difficult to explain what exactly he means by either.

    Tea Addict

    Senior Member
    Republic of Korea Korean
    Dear Uncle Jack,

    Thank you so much for the explanation!
    So "the rituals" and "the male bonding" can be the description about "the other stuff," and the "rituals" and the "male bonding" are two separate things.
    Indeed, the rituals and the male bonding feel a little vague. Perhaps they might have done some actions on a daily basis (chanting before a rugby match, for example) and did some more actions that would bond males together.
    I sincerely appreciate your help. :)