When I was a kid it happened often. There was no way of stopping it because I had no control over it. But eventually I grew out of it and I thought I was done with it for good. But I was wrong.
It happened again when I was a teenager and I was mortified. I don’t really recall how it crept up on me again or the exact moment when I realized it was happening again, but I know it did because I still recall the odd looks my friends gave me when it all went down. And I remember thinking afterwards, ‘How can I live, breath and walk this earth after that humiliation?’
I vowed that it would never befall me again. I did my best to stop a repeat performance in front of my friends or out in public, but that year it seemed like it was destined to be a constant in my life and ever since I’ve been incapable of controlling it.
Crying – it’s what every teenage boy and grown man avoids in a patriarchal, male dominated society that frowns on boys and men showing any emotion except anger and aggression. It is a cardinal sin in a society like ours that breeds its men to be warriors.
Rambo didn’t cry when he used a needle to sow his arm back together. John Connor did not bat an eye when the Terminator (formerly known as “The Governator”) was trying to rip his limbs off. And who would have sat through Die Hard 22 if Detective John McClane had to stop in the middle of annihilating terrorists to wipe a tear from his eyes?
Confession: Though I may not shed a tear in a movie theater while watching a chick flick (that’s just way too over the top even for me), I openly admit that I have a hard time holding back tears when I’m exposing my heart and soul to the world.
You’ll never catch me crying at a sporting event, but if you put me in the middle of a bunch of kids who are serving dinner at the soup kitchen or helping at a retirement home the water works are just below the surface and the flood gates will open at a moment’s notice.
If you try to steal a piece of chicken off my plate at the local KFC I can guarantee you that your hand will be horribly disfigured after I catch you. But if you’re standing outside a KFC and its obvious you’ve hit rock bottom I will have a hard time chocking down my chicken, corn bread and my emotions.
When I was a kid crying or showing any raw emotions was totally un-cool. I doubt that has changed much over the years as I watch teen boys act like idiots merely for the sake of saving face whenever they play a country or rock ballad at the school dance. But old dudes like me don’t care anymore because we’ve done all that cool stuff and we’re tired of it and I for one am secure enough in my coolness to shed tears when I’m feeling really emotional.
Besides, women really love a guy with rough, ugly, mangled hands and chipped teeth who can turn on the water works at the drop of a hat, right?