These are comments by Mike, Bob, and Randy Strauss on the post “Bawlin’“.
I didn’t cry for 35 years, not once. But a traumatic experience a year ago sent me on a 6-month jag. Often, I had no idea why. It would hit me like a sucker punch. A long year on numerous couches have brought me closer in touch with myself (sorry, but that’s a fact), and now I can at least connect my crying with feelings. What a relief.
The last time? This morning. A woman on NPR was describing saying goodbye to her college freshman then seeing parents on the street yelling at their kids and thinking “No, don’t do that, they’ll be gone before you know it.” I was dropping my 8 year old, my youngest, off at the school bus. The crying moment was sudden and brief, but no mystery.
I cried last when I read the post about Ulee the dog. I have been contemplating this same event as my little 14 year old friend Jax gets older and older. I don’t know if I have the courage to take his life away. I think I am hoping for natural intervention. It will be impossible to manage however it happens.
Randy Strauss said:
Upon crying when pushed to my emotional limit by our marriage counselor a few months ago, my wife’s response was, and I quote, “Quit being such a pussy.” Stuffing back my emotions is not a choice; it is what is expected of me as a man. Crying is seen as a sign of weakness by our peers, potential mates, current mates, past mates, parents, children and passing strangers. The difference is that men are expected to “do” and women are expected to “care.”
The only time my wife saw me cry before that was when her cat of 16 years had to be put to sleep. Over the few years that I’d known him, he became my little buddy. I’m not really a cat person, but he had personality. He was the only cat I’ve ever allowed to sleep on my head and my wife has photographic proof.
The day we put him to sleep, I managed to hold off until the vet administered the drugs and left the room before I bawled like a lost kitten. Even then, my (soon to be) wife looked at me like I had two heads. Her comment was, “I didn’t know you cared THAT much.”
So, the thought that women care and cry and men fix things without feeling is a fallacy perpetuated by outmoded stereotypes. Those stereotypes exist and trust me when I say that your peers, children and mates will weigh you, measure you and find you wanting if there is so much as a glistening of a tear in the corner of your eye.
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Photo credit: Flickr / USFWS Mountain Prairie