I probably shouldn’t admit to something like this because I might receive derogatory insults hurled from the he-men/manly-men crowd.
Sometimes I’ve been known to cry. And I am never quite sure if this is normal or not.
You see, I happen to be a fairly large, muscular guy. I work out regularly and am able to lift poundages that would make the Terminator proud. I am aware my physical presence can be intimidating judging by the way fellow gym-rats step aside for me to pass. Yep I am big, muscular, and I cry.
When my beloved cat of fifteen years recently died, I was inconsolable. I gave in to the full out quivering lip and all, sobbing. I think you have the picture and let me confirm, it ain’t pretty.
Whenever I feel the urge to cry, I quickly refer to my Tough-Guys-I-Admire list and try to recall any displays of tearful emotion. Be it Hollywood or NHL - no one on my list cried/cries. (A lot of Leafs’ FANS cry but that’s understandable and a whole different article.)
And isn’t this a measure of how tough a man really is? You've seen the movies where the guy's at war, and his buddy dies in his arms, and not a tear is shed? They suck it up like ‘real men’ ‘cause crying is for little girls. And crying in public? That’s the ultimate taboo for the tough guy. I remember that during the 9/11 attacks I had to report for jury selection. I was listening to my car radio just as the Twin Towers collapsed, and I began to cry; shake with anger, and yell at God and the universe while punching my steering wheel.
As I approached the courthouse, I quickly ‘cleaned’ myself up for fear that it would be evident I’d been crying.
When I sat down and surveyed the courtroom, all I could see were red eyes and flushed faces. When His Honour dismissed us all from our responsibility ‘due to the events that had transpired’ he took off his glasses and wiped the tears from his eyes, without shame.
I’ll always remember the sense of comfort (and relief) I felt in knowing I was not the only man who had needed to cry, and it was then I realized, maybe tears weren’t a sign of weakness, after all? Perhaps having the ability to identify that there exists a time and place for all to cry is the true measure of a ‘tough guy’.
Image from guardian.gov.uk