Grown Men Crying

I don’t think one truly knows a man until one has seen him shed tears ~ and I’m talking about deeply personal and emotional tears here, not the kind that are shed at football matches or at the movies.

I could probably count the number of men I have truly known, given this criterion, as being about eight, and that includes one who admitted to me that he was ‘crying inside.’

I still don’t fully understand the terrible taboo that there is about men crying.  I often wonder if they cry when they are alone or if they simply aren’t able to cry, given that nonsense about: Big boys don’t cry.

I jumped on a book recently called Poems that Make Grown Men Cry (2014) which is edited by Anthony and Ben Holden. It is a lovely collection which brings together the poems that make 100 well known men cry and the reasons for the selections. It also highlights the humanity of tears in the Preface:

Crying expresses our very inability to articulate emotion, after all, and so what could be more human, honest, or pure than tears?

Garrarus Beach, Co. Waterford
Garrarus Beach, Co. Waterford

I read the book while basking in the sunshine at the beach yesterday. It seemed the appropriate place to read it as I am always acutely aware of the fact that sea water and tears are like two sides of the same salty coin.

There were lots of people on the beach and I encountered a few men while in swimming. I longed to ask them about crying but somehow didn’t feel able.

How do you feel about grown men crying? 

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.

25 thoughts on “Grown Men Crying”

  1. Jean, that’s a great question. I think when a man cries, you know it is serious. If a man can be seen to shed tears, in my mind, it is a show of strength in his own masculinity and is a very attractive/endearing thing?

  2. I think it’s important to see both sexes show emotion it’s what makes us human to have a show of feelings about something that truly touches us.

  3. A man was moving a five gallon carboy full of new wine when it slipped from his hand and shattered on the porcelain tile floor. He cried, I cried, I called my cousin who also cried along with three of his friends who were over for a visit. That was a quarter century ago, and I may cry now again just thinking about it.

      1. When tears fall due to deep tragedies, men are not ashamed of them as they might be if caught crying about a minor physical injury. But often the emotional swell is because some deep personal loss is felt. And when that is the case, they write songs about it.

  4. Very interesting thoughts, as usual. I feel that I want to comfort him, hold him and wipe his tears… And a maternal instinct kicks in too… Not sure why, but this always happens to me when a grown man is crying.

    1. Malin, thanks for your kind words.
      The maternal instinct rings a bell with me too. I often think of the way it’s said that when men were badly wounded at war, they cried out for their mothers. Maybe we associate males crying with mother’s comforting them.

  5. Jean my dad always said that tears were the brain’s safety valve. If this is so why did I never see him cry ? I only saw my brothers cry at Dad’s funeral and again at Mum’s…… My boys have cried, our youngest wept bitterly and for ages when he and his father had the bust up ( which is still the elephant in the room) ….It broke my heart and his father just walked out and left me to pick up the pieces….. I don’t understand men !!!!!!! why do they refuse to address the problem? I have seen my other boys cry too , but my husband is of the same ilk as my father and brothers …. dry eyes and pent up pain. Hey guys let it go!!!

    1. Hi Andrea, I definitely think more of a man for being able to cry.
      Must say, I always think of the sea and tears in the one breath. To cry in the sea is quite an amazing experience. There’s a oneness that is almost surreal.

    1. What an interesting perspective, Zyriacus. I’ve been thinking about this for a day or two now and still feel that crying is very much a ‘present tense’ thing. As a crier, I don’t think one can see beyond the moment as the tears flow.

  6. It’s fine if unusual. My Dad was a hard man but he cried hard and long, much to his later embarrassment, when a brother died. Me, I only get teary at silly stuff like the Little Match Girl story, or Dorothy missing the balloon back to Kansas.

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