Men should not cry. If you’re crying at one of those movies my wife watches where Ryan Gosling’s looking for true love and it’s World War I or some shit like that — then you’re a pussy. There’s no other way to say it.
Okay, I concede, there are times where, maybe — just maybe — it’s not the same thing as wearing a pair of panties to let yourself cry. I admit it: I’ve cried. It happens. You get hit by life, man, and you’re crying from your bones. True grief-type stuff. That can be man territory, for sure. But in the end, it doesn’t matter if why, or whether you’ve earned it, or what: men aren’t built for crying. It’s bad for them. It takes something out of them that can’t be put back easily. It’s dangerous for a man to cry.
That’s not the same thing for a woman. A woman cries and it passes through her better. It’s clean. This is going to sound sexist to some of you, but it’s like those ads for Drano where they show hairballs and crap built up in the elbow of the drain, and the Drano goes in and flushes it all out. I’m not saying a woman is a clogged sink, but it is kinda like that. There’s something stuck inside her, and then she cries and all the hairballs of her emotions get kicked loose and after it she feels better. She is better.
Don’t believe me? By way of an example: my grandma died real suddenly. My mom cried for a week straight. I mean solid. But she could still smile, tell stories about Nana, the whole time. The crying didn’t slow her down at all. Cooking and crying.You could hear her crying in the shower. Flip side: I remember the closest my grandfather got to tears was at the viewing. He touched her face in her casket and said her name. That was it. No tears at all. I thought: Jesus, this old bastard is cold. He was married to this woman for 60 years! He can’t spare one tear? And the thing was, he couldn’t. It’d kill him. I mean that literally. He was old, like ninety-four. Brittle. He couldn’t lose what one good cry would take out of him. If the shock had let go of him long enough to cry, he wouldn’t have made it.
In fact, six months down the line we had our first Thanksgiving without Grandma. What happens? We say grace, and someone says they’re thankful the family can all be together…but you don’t get to say that after someone dies. Everyone feels the need to throw in “except for so-and-so.” And I think my mom said “Except Grandma” and Pop Pop couldn’t take it. He cried. It was quiet, and dry, but it felt like watching a man being crushed under heavy machinery that fell over. He started coughing the next day. It stuck in his lungs and he had pneumonia by Christmas. He died just after New Year. He never recovered from that cry. It’s serious business.
I say this because my brother-in-law came to my office, cried in his coffee. He’s having a tough go. I feel for him, y’know? We’ve both had a helluva year. Him and his cancer and some personal problems I’m not going to go into here. Me and everything I’ve been through. And I felt like crying some times. I really did. You look down at your body and it’s your enemy; you look at your wife and she’s wearing a smile that…well, doesn’t make you feel like smiling yourself — who the hell wouldn’t want to cry? I’m not throwing a pity party here. I’m only saying: I know from dark times. I do. But I held onto those tears. I swallowed them. They hardened till they were like crutches I carried around inside. Like another set of bones. I mean that.
Crying doesn’t make it better. It’s a trap. When you’re done crying, you can’t just wipe your tears up and be the same man you were before. I hope my brother-in-law breaks the habit. He doesn’t have that much fight left in him, and he wasn’t all that hearty a dude to begin. He could do himself some permanent damage.