The idea for this blog came from a quick conversation in the comments of another blog. It really got me to thinking about the whole concept of crying men. Socially, going back hundreds of years, men were ‘trained’ to be strong and to show only strength on the outside. Women were ‘trained’ to be the demure, domestic type who would live according to their wedding vows of “love, honor and obey” – yes, obey was used in a female’s marriage vows for many generations until the women’s movement and then it was changed to cherish, which is the same vow a man makes.
That’s a topic for perhaps another blog, however.
It’s no secret that, of the two, women are far more apt to show their emotions in a full range. Men seem to have two main emotions that are shown – calm disinterest and anger. The fact is, I believe, that men are also able to have the same range of emotions internally but have never explored them to their full potential, locking them away if they did not fit into the emotions that it was appropriate for men to express externally.
Consider this: While not all men do, some men get whiny and needy when they are sick with, perhaps, nothing more than a bad cold. They are not crying per say, but expressing a vulnerable neediness that can be masked behind the sickness. They will lie on the couch, huddled under multiple blankets and covers, tissues on the ready and a sad, scrunched up face because they feel poorly. And women feel pity for them and cater to their every whim, akin to mothering them. It’s our nature, a clear definition of the two roles. When a woman is sick with a bad cold, chances are she is up and mobile, tissues at the ready, still doing what needs to be done for her family and household.
Now, I ask you this – in terms of societal ways, who is showing the strength and who is showing the weakness? And the question that beckons is, if man can show weakness and vulnerability at times like these, wouldn’t it surmise that those emotions are a part of their makeup?
Having said all of that, I’m certain that we women don’t want a man who is constantly harboring and showing a “Woe is me” side. But there are times when we think that a man should be able to show emotions, especially tears. Watching your bride walk down the aisle towards you can make you tear up. Holding your child (or each of your children) in your arms for the first time can make you tear up. Standing at the gravesite of a much cherished loved one is worthy of filling your eyes with tears. It is at those times when women will value those tears in your eyes. Perhaps this says it best:
See, guys, women completely understand tears and their purpose. No, we don’t want you to become crybabies, but we DO want to know that you have some emotional being inside of you. After all, there is emotion inside the realm of love, so why not emotion inside the realm of pain?
I don’t know if I’ve made any sense out of this for anyone (not sure that it even makes sense to me!). But I believe I speak for a vast majority of women when I say that it is okay for a man to cry. We understand that tears are often a relief valve when the pressure of our emotions seem to great to hold inside. This is as much true for happy tears (why we cry at weddings) as sad tears! We don’t want you carrying the burden of your emotions so deeply that, without seeing it, those emotions shape your decisions and your thoughts. If it’s okay for men to be angry and yell out of frustration, it’s okay for men to cry tears born out of pain!
If you can have passion for your hobby, your job, your partner, then apply the same energy to your emotions! And that refers not just to the expression of tears (happy or sad). Express those, but express joy, surprise, excitement, as easily as you express your strength and pride (and for some, your ego). You will enrich the relationships of those you hold dear to your heart for the better!