Learning to Cry

I just read a piece in Newsweek mag about men crying My Turn
Reading this was like looking at my life with new eyes – thank you Mr. Marino. I find myself getting choked up and tearing up at the most amazing damn things. To understand this is to look inward, not something that middle-aged men (or men of any age, for that matter) are able to do. I have long prided myself on the ability to be introspective. And yet, my propensity for tears, for choking up in what should otherwise be normal conversations, is unnerving.

Why should that be? Well, for one thing, men are incredibly adept at defense. We spend a huge portion of our lives, from birth to young adulthood, learning how to defend against whatever. We defend against our fears, we defend against ridicule, we defend against uncertainty, we defend against shame, we defend against WHATEVER. We are, in our younger years, the masters of defense. And then, with the events that are ultimately a part of our lives, our defenses no longer matter. When do our defenses no longer matter? When we realize that what we bring to the world is not aggressive strength, but in fact wisdom. When we realize that what we bring to the world is no longer pride, but legacy. When we realize that what we bring to the world is temper and reason, not hot-headed domination. It is at that point, when our defenses no longer matter, that we can become the men that we were meant to be.

I said unnerving, because at face value that’s what it is. But, when reframed, it is clear that we don’t need to be unnerved. This is, in fact, the achievement of a laudible and critical role that men, in our later years, can realize. We should not be unnerved, or ashamed by our ability to emote! Yes, again, we should not be avoidant of our natural, and, inevitable, emotional face, one that we should celebrate and disseminate. We have held back for so long, the freedom to express our true feelings should be liberating. And so, Mr Marino, you have given us license to feel what we feel and to understand that it isn’t such a bad thing…

Wussy. :wink:

What the hell are you talking about?


Even assuming he speaks for everyone, why would anyone need someone else to tell them it’s ok to cry?

Ever own a pet? Ever watch that pet die?

Any man that’s ever been a parent has cried, and not hidden it.

They pay that guy by the word, or what?

What is your question, really? Did you read my post?

Good point; none of us should need someone else’s permission. I was moved by the fact that I think the Newsweek author captured, in a way that I haven’t seen before in the major media, the legitimacy of this issue. Nothing more, nothing less.

I don’t know if crying is such an unambiguous emotional signal as people make it out to be. I am 34 and I don’t cry when I am sad. I cry when I am under extreme stress and anger and I can’t get away from it. The most common way that can happen is being shut in by some authority figured, provoked to the point of rage, and not being able to get away and trying to force myself not to literally attack the person physically and mentally.

I have a temper that usually simmers but can blow the top off the pot across the room under certain circumstances. The anger management techniques that I know won’t work if I can’t leave physically or get the person to back down through the normal signals so it has to go somewhere. It only happens every year or two but it did happen with my boss about a month ago. He called me privately into a conference room over some verbal sparring that we had on a conference call that had been brewing for some time. I stopped him outside the door and told him what was about to happen and why. He had the choice of going through with it or not. We went in and I blew up just like I explained but I would give anything to avoid it but I have never found a way during that set of circumstances.

I say this because not everyone’s emotional processing is the same. Tears for one person may mean that they are genuinely moved or sad while, for me, they mean that I am fighting my hardest not to commit assault or homicide and that is where the overflow is spilling into.

Tears, as they flow, are only the domain of the person from whom they flow. I think I can understand what you are talking about. If those tears are the last resort, then they are. Let those around you know that when the tears flow, they better watch the fuck out because if they push you further, you will commit assault or homicide. On the other hand, don’t let them bring you to tears and let the bastards try to figure out what happened; of course, then, unless you have an impeccable escape plan, the authorities will then show up and hand cuff you. Perhaps the tears should flow earlier, before you are at your wits end?

Not to belittle this thread or you anything for that matter, but I have this absurd mental image now of The Hulk weeping whilst he smashes.

I certainly read it. You started out with something interesting, the whole male on the defense thing, then you kind of stroll into the abstract and start talking about pride versus legacy and then temper and reason versus hot headed domination. I really don’t understand what any of that has to do with crying. I don’t cry very often, does that mean I’m not the man I’m suppose to be?


Yeah, well play that piano song from the end of every episode of the Incredible Hulk and I defy you not to tear up a bit! Defy I say!!


Deep. Very deep. Why not write to the Reader’s Digest? They have a page for people like you.
Mr Bus Guy nailed it.

There’s a word I’d normally use for that kind of dude. (Marino, not Osler) But I recently learned that many people find it much more offensive than I do.

So I’ll just mention that you can experience and appreciate all your emotions even if you don’t happen to cry.

Or when you hear that song from the end of the Futurama “Jurassic Bark” episode. Or the theme from “Brian’s Song.” It’s just impossible.

I thought as a society maybe we had gotten past the men can’t cry thing. I don’t cry like that lady on Big Brother, but when it’s appropriate I won’t hesitate to shed a fear tears.

I think we are getting there, but the Newsweek piece captures, IMHO, the uniqueness of men reaching middle age after 4 or 5 decades of defending against “softer emotions” and are suddenly confronted with tears they don’t initially understand. My opinion again – the beauty of middle age is that men can finally see and celebrate their nurturing side, and explore ground that they have previously repressed or were ashamed to acknowledge.

I doubt there is much more life to this thread anyway. I think I’ll slink away for a good cry… :wink:

:frowning: Now look what you’ve done. :frowning: