Boys Do Cry

12 Jul

When it comes to relationships, women are often pegged as the (over)emotional, passionate ones and the men are deemed to be more logical and level headed.  However, there is the argument that when it comes to relationships’ end, men have it worse.  Why? Just re-read the first sentence…

This is true of friendships too; most women have their girlfriends they can complain to and use the proverbial shoulder to cry on whereas men are not so open.  When it comes to matters of love, it seems that though men may not vocalize it, they fall just as hard, or harder, than their female contemporaries.  Such a discussion was had recently on Z100’s morning show, as to whom loves faster than whom in a variety of relationships, with contributors and listeners largely saying that men fall for women faster than any other scenario.

Many male relationships between friends are merely about being “The Man” and whatever similar interests these chums may have, so there’s not a lot of room to talk about how a great date or the most favorite thing a girlfriend does.  Or perhaps its especially hard when the discussion is not about the positive in a romantic relationship, but when it refers to the negatives and the downfall of love.

According to‘s [Redacted] Guy, who went through a terrible breakup of his own:

Note, however, that I felt I couldn’t really talk about it with any of my male friends. There is some sort of genetic coding there that prevents dudes from getting to the heart of matters of the heart with other dudes. Not that my guy friends weren’t willing, it’s just that I was uncomfortable/unsure/nervous about my pale and naked suffering.

Whether it’s inherit machismo or part of our societal construct, there’s some negative stigma attached to men who are too emotional, even if it seems warranted.

Take the example of Chris Brown, who recently broke down on national television at the BET Awards during his Michael Jackson tribute. Granted he’s had a whole lot of drama within the past year, from legal troubles after his assualt of former girlfriend Rihanna, to a slowly failing career and tainted repuation, there are many who wonder if the display of tears were 1. genuine and 2. necessary. Ben Widdicombe is one, writing:

So when he sheds tears on stage for Michael Jackson, we don’t trust him. Even if they’re real, who is the pain really for? His lost mentor, Michael, or for the messed up last 16 months of his own life, every bit of which was his own fault?

It doesn’t help that the catalyst for his performance was the late King of Pop, a man whose own sincerity was often questioned by the media. The Jackson family is show business down to the very core, as Michael’s massively-produced memorial service last July demonstrated (an event where even Saint Usher’s motives were questioned when he cried during a tribute song). So the razzle-dazzle of showbiz is always going to add a layer of smoke-and-mirrors to Brown’s message.

While Brown’s performance allowed for plenty of tabloid fodder, there is the non-cynical  interpretation that his grief over his childhood idol mixed with his appreciate to finally be able to do the tribute (which was supposed to happen last year but was obviously bad timing after Rihanna’s battered face photo surfaced) and the ironic lyrics of “Man in the Mirror” pushed his composure to the limit.

So there may be a two-fold issue when it comes to male weeping- a man’s weakness and the possible affectation coupled with tears.  Brown’s fervent performance may be great showmanship or true emotion but it is definitely excessive.  That being said, men’s inability to confide in male friends, a more suitable  and personal dynamic, has a lot to do with how they would be perceived. Catch-22? Mmmm, perhaps but then again everything in moderation.


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