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WashPo p̶a̶s̶s̶i̶v̶e̶-̶a̶g̶g̶r̶e̶s̶s̶i̶v̶e̶ ̶w̶e̶i̶r̶d̶o̶ essayist: Men should cry like girls

January 26, 2015

He only weeps on every turn but makes sure that everyone else sees him

I’m more emo than you are

On the flight back from Lake Tahoe, I feared a full-blown migraine headache was kicking in. The ache behind my eyes bulged and throbbed, as if a golf ball were lodged there.

I had been reading a novel and reached a part where two brothers, once deeply committed to each other, experienced a profound fissure. The thought that this could someday happen with my own brother, whom I loved fiercely, unraveled me. Before I knew it, I was sobbing, all-out chesty heaves and whimpers. My girlfriend stared out the window with set, narrowed eyes. Nearby passengers and attendants stole glances my way.

***

On the walk to baggage claim my girlfriend looked everywhere but at me. “What was that all about back on the plane?” she asked, her eyes still narrowed.

“I’m not sure,” I said, and I turned toward her, wanting her to see the dried, salty streaks on my cheeks, which encoded some message like invisible ink. She stared straight ahead.

The previous week spent vacationing with my girlfriend’s family sharpened into focus our incompatibility, and this episode merely sealed the deal.

I was that girlfriend.

When I cried in public, I refused to hide it — not at funerals, not at the movies when the house lights came up. I was on the offensive and made sure that guys of all ages saw my bloated eyes after a good cry. I wanted them to confront, if only for seconds, the notion that the depth of men’s emotional lives can exist beyond the world of sports.

Well, I know a certain amount about men, since I’m married to one. And here’s the deal, Mr. Waterworks. Men–or should I say real men?–don’t express their emotions in the way that women do. Why should they? They’re men, not women. They do cry–over deaths. They don’t cry over sad stories in novels about two brothers who don’t get along. And they certainly don’t have “a good cry” in public places so that other people will notice and maybe start crying, too.

BTW, guess this guy’s profession. Yup, writing professor.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

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