Thursday , May 23 2024
There are so many stupid sayings drilled into males while still boys.

Big Boys Don’t Cry

Maybe it’s a guy thing. Big boys don’t cry. Only girls cry. You can’t be macho and cry.

There are so many stupid sayings drilled into males while still boys. The result? Tears held in. Emotions held in check. Friends, relatives, lovers, always wondering what guys are really feeling. Or maybe it’s a Butki thing. Dad never really showed much emotion. No tears, no hugs. Handshakes at church, but that was just a playful way of saying “peace be with you.”

Mom cried. Mom hugged. Mom even occasionally kissed me. But that was Mom. I was supposed to be like Dad, right? Right? So now here I sit, far from that home – in geography anyway – and now I want to be emotionally more like Mom and less like Dad. Sometimes now I will be watching some dumb movie and feel my heart being tugged by a plot device about love or dads and I will feel a tear duct being moved. “Come on, cry, damn it!” part of me says, the part that knows it feels better to cry than not to cry sometimes. The part of my brain that wants me to let out my emotions rather than to just have that tear duct tease me week after week. But that fricking macho brain tissue screams “No, no, no, you can’t cry,” and the sensation goes away.

And so it goes. I see a sad, sappy movie and feel close to tears, can see and hear women on both sides of me bawling, and I feel almost apologetic for not crying myself. Sometimes the result is a form of sympathy tears – I can cry because they are crying. A weird thing, that.

Then there are days like when I watched the television coverage of Princess Diana’s funeral, feeling like crying but the tears not coming. For more than an hour I would hear something particularly sad and the tear ducts would go jerk, jerk, jerk, but nothing happened. Then a camera pans and shows Diana’s boys walking, oh so silently, and with faces turned toward their feet, and the jerks of the tear ducts come still stronger. The camera goes into montage mode and shows people crying outside: a woman crying, a man singing and… wait, what’s this? A man crying. And another one. And still another one. My God! Is this allowed? I feel a tear starting to come. But only one. And then they stop, like a spigot has been turned off. But for some odd reason, I’m happy. I’ve cried, however briefly.

Men will scoff at this, I imagine. But I feel I’ve accomplished something, shown I’m human. Shown I have emotions. I have shown, perhaps, that I’m not as emotionless as some men are.

About Scott Butki

Scott Butki was a newspaper reporter for more than 10 years before making a career change into education... then into special education. He has been working in mental health for the last ten years. He lives in Austin. He reads at least 50 books a year and has about 15 author interviews each year and, yes, unlike tv hosts he actually reads each one. He is an in-house media critic, a recovering Tetris addict and a proud uncle. He has written articles on practically all topics from zoos to apples and almost everything in between.

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