I want to know about crying in men

My 21 year old son broke down and cried during a conversation we had last week. He wasn’t embarrassed, but he was surprised. Since the age of 8 or so, he was always a child who fought back his tears. I have raised two sons and a daughter, and I have always encouraged the free expression of emotions. My working philosophy has always been that the genders are naturally not nearly as different (or polarized) as society maintains. If you are male, please tell me about your thoughts and experiences with tears. Also - do you see women who cry as weak? Do you see tears in men as a weakness? Please don’t answer if you can’t be completely candid.

I’ve cried once or twice since becoming an adult male, and I’m not ashamed. I will not illucidate. However, I believe that men should not, in general, cry for anything short of a life partner leaving/dying, severe pain (possibly dismemberment), or death in the family. Hormones and genes have made it possible for men to vent frustration, anger, sadness in other ways. Whether it’s a sign of weakness for a woman to cry, it depends on the situation. I think many times women use it as a tool in some power struggle. Yes, yes, I know that lots of people are going to think ill of me, that I am insensitive, but you wanted candor. :smack:

elucidate :smack:

You may not have anything against it, but WE, the teeming Tribe of Men do. Rather, he probably learned to fight back tears the first time he started crying in front of a bunch of other kids and they made fun of him.

Outside a very serious situation, like a close relative dying, I think there’s a certain patheticness to crying by anyone.

Are you requesting Me to elucidate? If so, please elucidate regarding your request to elucidate. Thanks.

Well, that raises other interesting questions. As far as I know, humans are the only animals that shed tears at all. What are your objections to crying? Is it because it’s an exhibition of strong emotions? Do you feel it’s a sign of helplessness? If we are indeed, the only crying animal, what do you think might be the evolutionary function of tears? What expressions of strong emotions ARE acceptable - if any.

I cry on occasion, but only for a few moments, and only when I’m profoundly upset. But whereas I’m given to understand that for women crying is a release, for me it is quite painful. I don’t think it’s repression, I think it’s just the way I am. I was never told not to cry, I just stopped doing it around puberty.

I will, at times (and this is not that rare), get tears of joy. I do find that a bit embarrassing, not because of the tears, but because of the stupid things that cause them.

I don’t consider crying as a sign of weakness in women. It seems they gather strength from it. Certainly if someone causes my wife to cry, there’s going to be a major shitstorm afterwards.

I’ve never seen a man cry unless it was because of bereavement or something similarly strong, in which case it doesn’t bother me. I think I’d find it rather offputting if a man did it for less compelling reasons.

Let’s face it, women, in general, cry more than men. But there’s nothing wrong with that. The problem arises when men and women try to analyze the opposite sex form their point of view. To be honest with you, stuff that makes my wife cry sometimes makes me laugh… or get angry. Men and women are wired to show different emotions at different levels.

It takes a lot to get me to cry. The problem is when I see my wife crying and assume that she must be as intense emotionally as what I feel when I cry. The same is the opposite. My wife thinks that I’m a heartless bastard sometimes because she doesn’t see me cry and thus thinks I am not affected by a situation. It’s a common misunderstanding. A huge breakthrough in our marriage was understanding eachother from a perspective other than our own.

Honestly, I find myself getting misty over things a lot more now than I did when I was younger, and I think that’s probably old habits giving way to new ones.

When you’re a young man, God forbid anyone should think you’re weak, especially in the eyes of other young men. It’s simply just not done.

I haven’t all-out bawled in quite some time. I think the last was related to the death of my aunt, who I loved dearly but never got to say goodbye to. I will admit to becoming teary-eyed during the final reel of “Big Fish,” however, and I do become a little misty during the “family reunion” segments of on the show Survivor.

I think I’ve probably got some unresolved family stuff that’s making me weak during these moments, but that’s just the Freud in me.

:rolleyes: Grow up.

I remember reading this interview of a female to male transsexual, and what, er, he said interested him the most was that he felt much less like crying as a guy than as a woman. He was convinced it was due to the hormones. Curiously, he wasn’t sanguine about his newfound fortitude because he felt robbed of a helpful release that made it easier to deal with emotional pain.

Something to think about.

It does seem that hormones come into play here. I’m kind of convinced there’s some conditioning involved too. Men tend to always want to be on the far side of the manliness spectrum, and crying doesn’t fit too well with the ideal of the manly man. We get it drilled into us that we’re a sissy or a faggot if we cry, so it’s natural to try to suppress the urge, when it does come. I don’t feel like crying nearly as much as my wife does. I don’t get the least bit choked up a movies or weddings. But I remember my youngest niece made an affectionate gesture when I was over last Easter, and whatever it was about it nearly made me cry like an baby. I sometimes wonder if different stuff gets to us. I mean, the manliest of men will bawl their eyes out after winning the Superbowl or some other such macho olympiad, and women look at them like they’re insane. Who can figure it out?

A rather disturbing thing to contemplate is that autistic brains appear to be “hyper-male”. As many know, one of the hallmarks of autism is a severly restricted ability to connect emotionally and empathise. This makes autistics rather antisocial, but not in a malignant sense. They literally “just don’t get it” when it comes to normal human interaction. For those with more mild forms of autism, a condition sometimes referred to as Asperger’s Syndrome, life can be terribly distressing, largely because interpersonal relationships are so confounding.

Again, something to think about…

My 2 cents…

Leaving aside my depressive episodes, and leaving aside PMT, I’d definately say that I want to cry as much as the ‘average’ woman tends to become weepy. (Obviously, there’s HUGE generalisations there)

I also am absolutely convinced that boys are indoctrinated from a very young age into a culture of ‘choking back’, and of being ashamed to cry, or to admit hurt.

WAG: Men develop more natural strength than women and are mentally geared toward dominance–of each other, other members of their species and beastises of the fileld. Weeping is the habit of infants and small children–which are weak and ill-suited to dominate. It would follow, then, for a male to lead effectively, weeping would need to be kept to a minimum. Turn your evolution monkey loose on that thought and draw conclusions about why it would be best if men could resist weeping more easily than women, who probably cry “normally” and thus present no threat to a dominant male. I don’t know too many men who think highly of women who don’t show “womany” emotions.

Physical discomfort does not make me cry, nor has the death of a relative…directly (yet…we’ll see if something happens to my kids). I will weep (in private) out of despair. Or if I hear a song (The Who “Cry if You Want” every time) or view a film which reveals hopeless feelings I also harbor (as one who is cynical about the direction we as a species are headed, *The Lord of The Rings * are films I must watch alone, and of course the scene in *The Princess Bride * from which my signature is taken-Not for Inigo’s father, but for my own whom I can’t have back).

OMG I get misty at the end of most Disney movies, but as this one(Big Fish) was ending, tears actually spilled down my cheek! I wasn’t embarrassed, but it was unusual.

Physical pain doesn’t make me cry, nor yet did the death of my mother. But a couple of months ago we had to have our little house dog of 19 years put to sleep, and I cried so much my wife had to drive the car back from the Vet’s office. Go figger. :confused:

Elephants shed tears when they cry. Gorillas are believe to cry with sounds, but not tears. Of course, other animals do shed tears, but their shedding of tears seems to be the result of irritation of the eyes stimulating their tear ducts, rather than of emotion.

I cry rather easily, unfortunately, and have always wished it were otherwise. I know it’s seen as manipulative when a woman cries, but I think crying would have to be intentional to be manipulative. I don’t know why our society discourages men from crying as when you get right down to it, it’s simply a biochemical reaction to a stimulus. I wonder if other cultures perceive men crying as a weakness.

Well, I’m a man (duh) and I cry quite a lot. Ironically I just looked up the archaic meaning of enthusiasm earlier, and it’s a sort of extravagant religious emotion - that’s where the basis of my crying is. It’s almost always because of something to do with God, or death, or birth, or the vast universe. To be honest I just seem to think about that stuff more than other people - I can get to “God is great” from noticing that the grass is extra green that day.

It’s interesting to note the straightforward repugnance some men have expressed towards men crying on this thread. And not a hint of irony there. I do hope I’m wrong.

Crying is a natural reaction to being powerfully moved. While I don’t suggest that we should do it to excess, it seems appropriate to mention that repression of one’s honest emotions is not generally considered a healthy thing. A good hard bawl never hurt anyone, and frankly, if it makes you question my masculinity, I’m not sure I want to be in your “acceptable male behaviour” list anyway! Were I not married, I don’t suppose I’d be terribly interested in women who didn’t like me crying, either. I can stop myself from crying if I want to, but I’ve seldom come up with a really good reason. Maybe if you have to hold it together for someone else - but I think people need to understand crying is a good thing.

Please, if you see a guy crying, try not to react badly. Maybe he’s HAPPY! THERE’S ALWAYS THAT, Y’KNOW!

I never cried until I had kids. Now my hormones/emotions run rampant. I even tear up at commercials.

WARNING BIG WAG COMING: Maybe the guy/girl dicotomy is based on survival. A crying (ie. subserivent female) might be able to survive the attacking hordes better then a big old lug guy crying (lop off this guy’s head boys).


I’ll go along with that, for the most part. I did cry when my Mom passed away, but not a whole lot. When I had to put down the cat I owned for 13 years, I was a basket case. I figger that at least part of that is that I didn’t actually have to have my Mom put down.

I’ll also go along with kelly5078 that although I don’t have a problem with men crying for appropriate reasons, I would find it somewhat offputting if men cried as often and for the same reasons as women.

Maybe this is all socially conditioned… but so what? I don’t feel as though I should be crying more, and as I said before, I’m not incapable of crying when the situation requires it.

I am a man, and I am crying many bitter tears because this thread will likely be moved, and a mod will be forced to not only chastise you severely, but also punish you for posting in the wrong forum by swatting your bottom with a cane like they do in Singapore.

Oh, the humanity! :stuck_out_tongue:

General questions is for questions with factual answers. IMHO is for opinions and polls.

Off to IMHO.

DrMatrix - GQ Moderator