It is very difficult for men to completely open themselves up and be entirely expressive emotionally. For starters men are not as emotional as the fairer and softer sex. And no matter how much talking a lady does to make herself feel better, that same release does not always work for us. Aside from that, nature has always dictated that men be strong. Absent of weakness. Rock of consistency as we lead, provide and protect. And while these qualities are in my opinion carved out by nature, it is society that has taken this sort of stuff to the extreme. But even with the pulls of nature, society and of course upbringing having a strong effect, men are always aware of the effect that crying will have on his relationship with a woman.
There is a fine line for men when it comes to separating emotional candor and weakness. And while often times women do not see the line, men do. The problem is that they can never properly navigate it at all times. The closeness that people feel in relationships in many cases is only intensified through extreme shows of emotion. Nothing is more heart-warming than a grand gesture of love. Nothing is more intense than a passionate reconciliation after discord. For some of us we even find extreme fits of jealousy and rash showings of anger and rage to be enticing. There is a reason why people stick around so long in abusive relationships. Some people truly live for this type of whirlwind of emotions. But where is the sadness in this torrential storm? Where do you let loose the tears in this relationship, and what sort of residual response will this illicit?
For women, the tears come at the drop of a hat! Women are given the latitude to cry whenever they please. Bad day at work…come home and cry. Fight with your mother….come home and cry. Bad review from a co-worker….come home and cry. And if you are fortunate to have a special man who you can confide in you will see him embrace your suffering and pain. It is his natural inclination to want to fix your problems. And being that guys are pretty rough around the edges when it comes to emotions, we will usually fumble through an awkward hug and some encouraging words and a kiss on the forehead with the hope that such a gesture will ease a woman’s discomfort. (50-50 shot with this one) But the question still remains the same. When does a man cry? Well I can tell you this much. It’s not when we have a bad day at work. That is for sure. And it isn’t when I get overwhelmed by the stress of the day and have to sit in 90 minutes of rush hour traffic before I can get home. The difference is that women being much softer and gentler in general than men, are able to release their anxiety though tears. While men, we are neanderthals. We release our stress through rage or aggression. But even though it is in our nature to express ourselves that way, we do indeed encounter times of despair and sadness that can lead us to tears. But when is that acceptable? Acceptable not only for ourselves, but for the women who look to us for some measure of comfort, security and strength?
I have never heard a woman say that men shouldn’t cry. As a matter of fact I have seen women run to a man to be his comforter at the moment when the tears start to flow. However this has only really been when tragedy has been at its most heightened point. Tragic death. Funerals for parents of siblings only. Loss of money betting the mortgage on a super bowl game. You know…the normal stuff. But that is it! And while I completely believe women when they say that a man should not be afraid to cry, I think that they say that because it is something that they rarely see. Think about your sister or close girlfriend or relative who is a fairly emotional person. Easily affected and sensitive people that we protect and shield from harm or harmful things. Can you image how out of whack your relationship dynamic would become if a woman felt like she had to coddle her man the same we she would coddle her friend? Comfort him and dry his tears when he had a tough day at work? Wipe his snotty nose after he had an argument with one of his friends. Speak sweet nothings to him through the bathroom door as he locked himself inside after you called him a cupcake! It would totally change the way that you see him. The level of respect that you have for him. How seriously you can take his word when he speaks authoritatively. Guys know this. They sense it as a dynamic just amongst their peers. Certainly it is over-blown like every human dynamic is by society, but it is still a part of who we are. And guys are not gonna give up what they perceive to be a small piece of respect for some tears.
Men are not inhumane. We are not robotic creatures that feel nothing and live without sympathy and compassion. I, like every other man I know, has at one time or another had the world slap me in the face. And the urge to cry has come over us all. But we know that to release those tears at the wrong time can do more harm than good for our image. When a guy let’s out the tears he is either really hurting or really desperate. Desperate to please a woman or to reconcile with her. And even in that moment he better know exactly when to shut of the water because a few tears too many and his ass is in the Cut Box! (That is to say she will Cut his ass lose and here is all of your stuff in this Box!) Soon to be cut from the relationship. It is pretty easy for women to say that it is okay for a man to cry because such an action is not a normal part of her experience with men. So in the very rare circumstances that it happens, she is pretty cool with it. But the natural human dynamic that results in her compassionate sympathy when a man cries, can easily become a snarky side-eye when that same man cries about something that seems less extreme. And men being keenly aware of the possibility of appearing too vulnerable never want to lose their strength that it took them a lifetime to grow into.
I watched Chris Bosh cry in the tunnel after his team lost the NBA finals. He cried in the tunnel. Some 30 yards away from the camera that caught him on his hands and knees. He did not put on a public spectacle that was meant for the world to see. He had just faced the disappointment that comes when you realize that the goal that you have been chasing for the last 8 months had just slipped through his fingers. His validation as a professional. His teammates understood. The picked him up. Shielded him from the cameras that rushed to capture the private moment. They could relate. But if you could have read the comments on some of the blog sites by ladies who were totally turned off by that gesture, it would have made you think he was a child with a scraped knee. This man’s show of emotions reduced him to a level of weakness in the minds of some that he will struggle to live down. I myself thought that after all he had been through emotionally a moment of tearful release was due to him. But both men and women alike felt otherwise.
What are some acceptable times for a man to truly cry and how does it affect his relationship? Is it something that ladies are cool with on a limited basis or can you truly handle a man crying whenever he sees fit?