Before I go any further with this post, I need to admit something that will become quickly apparent anyway; I tend to become a little bit stuck on certain points, ideas, moments, conversations, songs...
That darn Cure song just will not move itself along and, try as I might, I can't seem to insert any other songs on that silent soundtrack in my mind and which has, thusly, led me to thinking about boys and men and crying. Or, more specifically, to thinking about which of my own male friends (of both the boy and man variety) I have actually seen cry. And it's not many.
Although it's something that I can't be specific about, I would say that in my life, I can recall less than 10 times that I've had male friends cry in front of me!! ALL of my female friends and family have been in tears in front of me on many occasions, and I certainly am not a stranger to shedding a tear myself, but when it comes to the guys - and no matter how close a friendship I share with them - these tears have tended to signify an emotional breaking point or major issue in their lives.
To be fair, I don't have brothers so I haven't spent significant family time with boy-types and that means my relationships are a little more time and place specific, but nonetheless, I do have many, many, many men in my life, some of them very intimate and loving friends and they just don't really cry. Well, not in front of me.
And I don't really get it. Ok, I understand that little boys are taught that it's not manly to cry ("don't be such a pussy/chick/wuss/blouse" etc etc), and that this lesson is ingrained over a long period of time, but is it not possible to move on from there? Surely these men are aware that I am used to seeing people cry. Some of these men have seen me cry, so they know I can cope. I don't sit in crying judgement if they tear up. I just listen or hold their hand or wrap them up in an enormous hug. The friends that I have seen cry don't ever seem to be embarrassed about it and nor should they be, so why not more often?
Maybe it's this desperate emotional association with their own experienced teariness that seems to make men so awkward when it's me that's crying in front of them? I cried the other day to a friend and while he was totally there for me, he kept his physical distance - I didn't even really get a stiff hand-pat or a back slap. I just sat with big, fat tears rolling down my cheeks into a cup of tea. And this is a man who's known me since I was THREE YEARS OLD and has, I am certain, seen me in all manner of states of emotion from joy to depression to fury to humiliating drunkeness. This is a man who uses a hair-straightener and is more comfortable with his own version of his masculinity than any other heterosexual guy I've ever met. This is a man who lies on his bed with me, trawling through Facebook and showing me profiles of the girls he's slept with that month while expressing shock that a girl he hasn't seen for years writes "let's play". This is a man I have NO romantic relationship to. This is a man I've known my entire life and I've never seen him cry. He's been through relationship breakdowns, health issues, romantic triangles of the daytime soap variety... we've talked about them all for hours on end with honesty and emotion, but, no tears. I'd be bawling and inconsolable, but not this man. Intriguing!
That has not always been the case. As a teenage girl I forced myself not to cry. I decided that I would be strong and tough and leave the tears for others, but as I get older, I can't be bothered with that restraint as much. So how can the guys? I don't know any woman who would sit in judgement of boys who do cry so what is the problem? Other boys and men? Well if that's the case then back off each other!!
Please don't take this as me wanting more men to come and cry to me on a whim, but it's just that it's still something that is unusual in my life and I'm wondering why?