A woman I know recently harassed me about why her ex-boyfriend didn’t cry. She went on and on about it, theorizing that he was so masculine he just couldn’t do it. In light of this, I’m going to answer a question that often comes up when people talk about masculine men.
Why don’t masculine men cry?
Let’s get one thing straight right now. Real men cry. Real men suffer. Real men feel emotion. My grandfather was a Palestinian resistance fighter in WWII. He fought in a goddamn war. He was forced to leave his home behind, and move to Lebanon, where years later another war broke out and he was forced to leave everything behind a second time. He lived through two wars without flinching, and just toughed things out. But when his father died, he locked himself in his room, and cried for three days. He wept for the loss of his father, a man he loved more than any other, and there is no shame in that.
I don’t cry often. Small things like my stuff breaking, or someone insulting me, don’t warrant my tears. But when my friend died in a senseless car accident, I cried. When my ex-girlfriend, whom I was very much in love with, and I broke up, I cried.
The thing is, part of being a man is knowing when to shed a tear.
If some major tragedy occurs, it’s only right to weep. Can you imagine going to your loved one’s funeral and smiling? I’m telling you, if someone you love is gone, and you can’t cry, you’re not masculine, you’re just dead inside.
If you’re watching a movie, which by the way are designed to make us feel emotions, and a particular scene is really sad, then it’s definitely alright to let a few go. It means you’re in touch with your emotions. Toy Story 3 SPOILER ALERT! In Toy Story 3, when they were all holding hands near the end, and resigned to die, I was sad. I actually had a ball in my throat. Then when they got saved by the claw, my eyes got all misty, and I was overwhelmed with a groovy feeling of “HURRAY!”. END SPOILER.
In Final Fantasy VII, when Aeris dies at the hands of the dastardly Sephiroth, I think every gamer in existence felt the onset of salt water.
Just don’t become a weepy bitch
It sounds harsh, but it’s true. The least attractive quality someone can have is to break down and cry over the little things. When life is hard, you still need to be strong enough to deal with the problems thrown at you. Crying should be reserved to release emotion, not as an escape from responsibility, or as a manipulative tool.
Don’t cry to convince someone to do what you want. That belongs to children, who don’t have the power to get what they want, and resort to tears as a negotiation tool.
Don’t cry because of the loss of a material thing. These can be rebuilt, repurchased, replaced.
Save the crying for when it really counts. When your insides hurt intensely hard, when your stomach is balled up, when life becomes too much to handle, then you cry. And there is no shame.
So, to all my manly men friends out there, cry every once in a while. It’s actually a sign of strength and balanced emotions, not weakness.