‘Men don’t cry’ and other misconceptions

The Cure was wrong, boys DO cry and Lawrie Pringle has a 3-point plan to make us all a bit more comfortable with the fact.

It’s very common knowledge that most men don’t cry a lot. Most of us will struggle to remember the last time we saw a man cry in person. If you were to introduce an extraterrestrial visitor to human civilisation, they would probably conclude that the males of our species are only allowed to cry on a battlefield, cradling a dying friend.

There’s always been a stigma around men crying. Usually accompanied by phrases like “don’t be soft”, “stop being such a wimp”, and “sorry Lawrie, I didn’t realise Ice Age would get to you like that, I wouldn’t have put it on if I’d known.” It’s seen as a sign of weakness, like to express one’s emotions is the worst thing a man can do, besides drinking pink gin of course. If you are caught crying, the National Bureau of Testosterone will revoke your license to drink ale and play darts.

If anything, it takes bravery to cry. To cry is to admit something, to bring into existence the very thing that is making you sad. And once it’s real, it can be worked with. Acknowledging the cause by being the effect itself. For example, we can observe there is a cause because the effect is in their room listening to Radiohead with the curtains drawn at four in the afternoon.

The truth of the matter is, crying can help you out. And we need to admit that to ourselves. It’s annoyingly true, but true none the less. I can recall quite a few incidents where I refused to cry until I was coaxed out of my cave of manliness, where I would then indulge in being a snotty, sobbing mess for a few minutes. Afterwards, I would be asked, “see, don’t you feel better now?” And I would give a pouty nod, as I realised annoyingly that I did feel notably better.

“If you are caught crying, the National Bureau of Testosterone will revoke your license to drink ale and play darts.”

Whilst ultimately we are immensely complicated creatures, we do follow some very simple functions. And the simplest of those is this: Things go in, they get used, things come out. It works on many levels. Food goes in, we use for energy, and we excrete the rest. Four beers go in in the space of a few hours, you suddenly have the guts to sing Faith by George Michael at karaoke, you excrete the rest every twenty minutes. It’s the same with emotions. You see something that makes you laugh, you feel happy, you laugh. We’ve all seen what happens when people don’t let the final stage of these functions run their course. You wouldn’t tell someone who drank a whole Wetherspoons pitcher and now needs to toilet on the way home to just “suck it up” or “stop being so soft”, (even if they were wearing black jeans and it won’t show much). Crying is the only thing that some feel breaks the rule of “what goes in, must come out”.

Fuck that.

Let it out. Let your sadness live and breathe. So you can kick it between the legs and tell it that it can’t hold you back forever. Let it out of the cage and tell it that you’re in charge now. This expulsion and expression will give you the chance to truly take control of how you feel.

Talking in metaphors is all well and good, but if you’re like me, it doesn’t fit with how you see everything. I never clicked with the therapists I’ve had, so I’ve tried alternatives. But with these alternatives, I just got a bit lost in the whole spiritualist rhetoric. The word “energy” was always used way too liberally. Different things work for different people, I guess.

Instead, let’s assess some other options.

Option 1:

Talking about it more. It sounds simple, but simple works. A couple of months ago, whilst having a casual cigarette with some friends, we all ended up sharing the last time we cried. Turns out everyone had within the last month. Since then we’ve all been so much more open with how we feel on a day to day basis. Some emotions are almost taboo, but we all go through them. So let’s start a conversation.

Here’s a list of things I have cried at in the past:

  • Breakups
  • Being harassed by a customer at work
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Depressive episodes
  • Loneliness
  • When all the Avengers come back to life and fight Thanos
  • The first time I looked in the mirror after I got my braces
  • The song ‘715 – CR∑∑KS’ by Bon Iver
  • The second time I looked in the mirror after I got my braces
  • The scene in Ice Age where the baby reunites with its dad
  • Recounting numerous past mistakes
  • Pixar’s Up

Option 2:

just have a go at crying. If you feel like crying, fuck it, go and have a cry. You can do it wherever you want. In the privacy of your room, the bathroom, on a bus, the lobby at Cineworld, the world is your playground. Although eventually the staff at Cineworld will ask if you’re okay but will not offer you a discount.

Option 3:

Give it a rebrand. Not a “manly” rebrand like they did with shower gels, you know the ones… “New Radox for men, it smells like WD40, ale, and an old Lacoste trainer.” I mean give it a fresh start so the concept seems more inviting. However, all I’ve come up with so far is calling it “draining”, and to say to someone, “I miss them so much, just seeing their face makes me want to drain” just doesn’t sit well with me.

I could go on for longer but short and sweet works best. Given the attention spans of the younger generations, I would have probably had more luck if I incorporated this into a compilation of 7-second videos of teenagers tricking their mentally deteriorating grandparents into dancing to rap songs about drugs they’ve never heard of.

So to wrap this up: cry, then tell someone. You’ll feel better.

Right then, I’m off for a pink gin.


WORDS: Lawrie Pringle


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