Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Man tears...

I'm trying to figure out why most men don't cry. Is it because men are embarrassed by tears? Has our culture robbed our men of such an important emotional outlet? What is it?

I don't advocate tears at the drop of a hat, but except for extreme grief, when's the last time you've seen a man cry? A few, very few women report their men crying at the birth of a child. So that would be a moment of extreme joy. At least I hope it's joy.

What about pain? You know, I cannot say I've ever seen a man cry from pain. A car radiator exploded, showering my son with boiling water all over his chest. That hurt. I know that hurt. No tears. I was crying, but not him. My other son had surgery on his tail bone. Man, he was bleeding all over and I had the excitement of changing his bandages. No tears...

So what will induce a man to cry? How extreme must the situation be for them to surrender to tears? And why is that so?

Even in books, men don't cry. They get angry. Is that their substitute for tears? They curse and rage and stomp around but they don't cry. And when they cry, the author writes it in such a way that it's almost an apology for the man crying, as though they're embarrassed for the man who exhibits one of our most basic human emotions.

I'm re-reading Birthright by Nora Roberts. In one of the few exceptions I've read, the men in Birthright cry, not at death, but at life. They cry to celebrate survival. They cry when they share overwhelming emotions. They are strong enough to cry in the arms of their women. And because they can cry, their strength and determination to protect their families seems to stand out more starkly. The reader doesn't ever question their commitment to their woman.

How do you feel about man tears? What will induce your man to cry?



  1. My character Ben McCall breaks down and cries in My Everything. Yup, he does and it works.

  2. I think it's a perecption men have that it's 'weak' to cry. I have only ever seen men cry at the passing of a loved one and even then they have fought it. I don't have any issues at all with a man crying if there is real, genuine emotion behind it. Tears are a release

  3. My hubby cried when our first son K was born; he also cries whenever his chest pain is too severe.

    K cried from pain after tonsil surgery (he was 16) and when his g/f had to move away (four months ago).

    The six-yr-old, of course, expresses EVERY emotion.

    Hmmm....not sure I've got any emotional men in my stories...just anger and tenderness.

  4. Men and their tears (or lack there of)is a huge issue with me. Emotion is human based, not gender based. It is horrible that males are taught from birth that tears equal weakness. My mother passed away very suddenly, shockingly. My brothers and I were inconsolable. My father, her husband of 46 years, reprimanded us at her funeral for displaying emotion, and felt the need to announce to everyone the fact that he never shed a tear at her loss; his father taught him that men never cry.

  5. So is it a cultural thing? Or is it that men in general don't respond to certain stimuli with tears? My son-in-law and I discussed this today. He pointed out the men have more options (such as punching someone out) that most women do.

  6. They may think they have more "options", but I still believe it speaks to society dictating the fact that men are not allowed to react emotionally.

  7. I've seen the absolute toughest, baddest ass man ever cry in a highly emotionally charged situation and it was fine because it fit. More men should give it a try.

  8. Thank goodness my husband doesn't hide his tears. He has cried in pain and in joy. He was not taught that man-tears are a sign of weakness.