When I was an alarmingly gangly boy of six, an urban fox deposited a dead crow in my paddling pool. At 12, a tawny owl swooped down and carried away Wesley Snipes (my pet rabbit). At 16, on a safari park date with my now wife, I was bitten in the face by a giraffe.
None of these made me cry. In fact they all left me mostly confused (although the giraffe incident also left me more saliva drenched than usual).
Nonetheless, despite my own ocular aridity, I am actually a hearty advocate of the ‘man cry’. Of all the things that are frowned upon for the modern man to do, crying is the one that truly cheats us out of our full humanity.
Heaving an actual person out of our own person is one ‘not for men’ activity I’m more than happy to let go. Ditto having to pay more for a haircut than most men would pay to see the Incredible Hulk fight Jesus.
But permission to sob is a cruel and harmful denial. What kind of spiritual balance can any sentient creature really maintain if all the dark and rubbish bits have to stay indoors? I felt like having a good old cry at my wedding but I held it in and now I know I was being an idiot. Crying at your wedding is your ‘free go’ as a chap and I blew it. If I could do it again I’d cry like someone had told me there was no such thing as cheese.
Also, like everyone in Britain with eyes and limited sociopathic leanings, I found myself utterly crumbling when the lad with the stutter gave his speech in Educating Yorkshire. Similarly, when a pal of mine (who I usually express affection to through headlocks and cruel jokes about his clothes) publicly proposed to his girlfriend I dissolved like a teary Berocca. I felt marvellous on both occasions.
Crying isn’t girly (except when girls do it, then by definition it is precisely that). Rugby players cry, boxers cry, John McLane in Die Hard even had a tiny cry at one point. I’m not saying we should all go out and weep just because our pound coin got trapped in the trolley (although that it is just about the most miserable thing that can happen to a person), but if the wet stuff comes then let it flow. After all, you can’t spell ‘misty-eyed’ without ‘mister’. Don’t check that, just believe it’s right.
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