Thursday, August 16, 2007

Real Men Don't Cry

Men aren't supposed to cry, right? At least that's what cultural gender roles tell us.

Well, check out
Gordon Marino's "My Turn" column over at Newsweek. Marino admits he breaks down sobbing quite a bit, something that's happened to him frequently since hitting the 50-year mark:

I was recently writing a piece about Joe Frazier and his monumental first fight with Muhammad Ali, and, the next thing I knew, my keyboard was awash in tears. I have the utmost respect for Mr. Frazier's courage in the ring, but it seemed odd to be weeping over Smokin' Joe.

I was a fanatical sport parent and pushed one of my sons very hard in football. He had some significant success, but in the end was too small to succeed at the Division I level. My son is thriving and is now at peace with his football past, but all I need to do is recall the hours we spent practicing together for my face to steam up and the floodgates to open.

Though men don't talk about it much, I don't think I'm alone in my middle-age crying jags. An Army colonel acquaintance who was also a professor needed only to start talking about his former students to get a catch in his throat.

Another friend, a college administrator, would find himself in the middle of a meeting and suddenly his eyes would be seeping—about what, it was hard for him to say. Stoically, he would go on, but some people were unnerved by his display of raw emotion.

Though he is well past the half-century mark, former president Bush began sobbing inconsolably in an address to the Florida House to mark the end of his son Jeb's tenure as governor. He did the same when he was on "Larry King Live" with his daughter.

Then, this past winter, there was the fiftysomething John Kerry choking up as he hit the words "home" and "Vietnam" in his speech to the Senate.

In truth, we men don't know what to say or do about these emotional squalls. When tears started visiting me at awkward times, I would try to hide them, even from my wife. There was a part of me that wanted to laugh as I wept, which in itself was something to cry about.

Yeah, guys try to hide the tears. But, I'm not very weepy personally. There I times I think I should be crying - or times when I wish I as crying (especially after another one of my 5 year-old son's periodic destructive rampages across my new townhome's interior infrastructure) - but no tears come.

When my Dad passed away in 2004, I barely shed a tear. Yet, when I saw "The Rookie" at the theaters in 2002, I was bawling like a child at the heart-tugging seen when Jim Morris's dad shows up at Arlington Stadium to apologize to his boy for not being supportive of his son's aspirations as a child.

Now, that made me sad! The scene must have pressed the button to release all the pent-up father-son repressed emotions.

I could mention a few more films that made my gush like Niagra Falls. That's about the only time I let the tears rip! Maybe because it's dark in those theaters!

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