Thought of the Week: Can’t a Guy Cry?

Screen Shot 2013-02-25 at 9.58.00 PM“I think I’m an 80s man.”

“How do you figure?”

“Last night I cried in bed. How’s that?”

“Were you with a woman?”

“I was alone – why do you think I cried?”

“Sounds like an 80s man to me.”

Lethal Weapon, 1987

Guys cry, okay? It happens. This comes to mind because I cried last night. Poor me.

Going into this post I started digging into the physiological reasons for crying, and after a brief exploration decided that I’d be crying again if I spent much more time on it. Turns out, there’s no real consensus on why people cry. Or at least, cry emotionally. Crying out of pain is understood well enough, as well as histaminic reactions, but no one’s really sure what the point is of crying when you’re upset. Multiple theories abound, from basic sympathetic pain reflexes to something to do with smoke getting in the eyes of ancient humans when they burned dead bodies. I can’t say I’m entirely convinced by any of them, but the fact remains that guys cry. Apparently German guys cry between 6 to 17 times a year (German ladies cry up to 60 times a year – those bastard German men).

And as Jack Thibeau would have us know, it’s perfectly okay for us guys to cry, especially when we’re lonely. We get to cry when a great tragedy occurs, or if our hamster dies, or if the Mets win the…whatever it is the Mets might win if they won it. Ladies, however, are apparently allowed to cry more often, for longer, and more dramatically! Ladies cry when they feel insecure, or can’t solve some big problem, whereas us dudes cry when our relationships fail. And stuff.

Screen Shot 2013-02-25 at 10.31.28 PMMy, all this research seems to make a lot of sense. By deduction, I’m a big girl. I cry often. I cry for great, long periods of time. I cry dramatically, like Gary Oldman. And it drives my wife absolutely insane. I have complete, utter meltdowns. Hours of inconsolable bawling, incapacitated and catatonic, and try as I might, I can’t stop. It’s not stubbed toe or dead hamster crying – it’s full-on end-of-the-world-and-I-never-got-to-watch-the-last-episode-of-Lost psychotic sobbing.

I’m not always like this. It tends to happen when I’m feeling beaten, like everything’s been going wrong and I’m worthless waste of air, and to top it all off I didn’t rinse the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher and now they’re all covered in food crud. That kind of frame of mind. Am I alone in this, or would you cry at that point as well?

In fact, I suppose what I’m really driving at is that, given a scenario that is very stressful and upsetting, is it okay to cry like a baby for a bit? And is it worse for a guy to do so than a lady? Am I a woman trapped in a man’s body, or just an infantile sack of melodrama that just needs to grow a pair?

When’s the last time you properly sat down and wailed until your head exploded?