I hate it when men cry
I know I shouldn’t but I do
Modern men cry three times more than their fathers ever did. At least, that’s what research from the University of Warwick indicated last month. The presumably snivelly Bernard Capp, who led the study, explained at the time: “There’s been a stigma around crying for centuries, but it’s been very on and off. We’ve swung to and fro over the centuries.
“There have been periods where it’s been relatively OK for men to cry, and then the pendulum swings back in the other direction.
“Bottling it all up can definitely have a negative effect on your wellbeing. Flexibility in the way that you cope with life is really important for psychological health, so if you just hammer one strategy over and over again it’s going to come back and cause problems eventually.”
Obviously – obviously – and objectively, this is a good thing. It’s another ‘revelation’ that indicates the similarities between men and women, it’s a healthy way to show emotion, and it’s a step in the right direction, away from men thinking they must maintain a permanently “stiff upper lip”. I know all this, but it still makes me feel really, deeply uncomfortable if I have to watch it.
I have never got the crying, sensitive guy appeal. Ryan Gosling in The Notebook seems cloying and tiresome. I don’t get it when footballers cry after a huge win, and the whole country leaps to pat them on the back and exclaim, “yes, we understand, we are here for you”.
And I honestly feel bad about all that. I don’t think it’s funny, I don’t drink from a “male tears” mug I bought off Amazon to impress people on Tumblr. I’ve tried to soften my heart by watching a Gazza documentary and passionate Ryan Gosling speeches on YouTube, but nothing works. I just don’t like it.
There’s the fear that once they start, once the flood-gates are open, then you can’t stop them from continuing to weep. At first, it’s a poignant moment: seeing a friend cry at a sad moment – fine, you can comfort them. Seeing a boyfriend cry occasionally, at a huge, monumental fuck-up, might bring you closer together. But what if it all goes a bit Bruce Willis from Friends?
I’m aware that it’s probably my problem. Maybe it’s because I’ve never seen my dad cry. Maybe it’s because I don’t really know what to do when other people cry. It could be a crippling fear of intimacy. Or I could just be a bit mean. But I just can’t handle watching it. I always end up awkwardly patting them on the back, telling them it will all be okay, eyeing up the exits.
There are obviously massive exceptions: funerals, small pets being hurt, being kicked in the balls – these I can watch, and feel completely sympathetic to. I’m fine with them. But the others, the easy tears and used tissues and red noses, I just can’t watch. Of course it’s a great thing that men are more in touch with their emotions these days. I can get on board with that, objectively. I’d probably even tweet about the new research to show my support. But I just can’t watch it. Sorry.