Real Men Don’t (Ugly) Cry

(I was going to write about something else, but consider this….)

I believe that every man should teach his son to be a man. I’m not talking about changing the oil, or building a bookshelf. I’m not even talking about the bird or the bees. What I’m talking about is an area where I’ve failed to teach my boys the proper manly approach, because I’m one of those dads that will stop my boys from crying.

Crying is an emotional release that male children are taught to bottle up. I can hear myself yelling, “Stop that crying!” or “Shut it up!” Do you see the same thing I see? “Shut … it …up?”

I’ve said that so many times I can’t even count, but I never really realize what I was teaching them … until March 4, 2011, around 9pm. (while watching The Bucket List … one of my ugliest cries ever!)

Men are only allowed to express two emotions: happy & mad. Not only that, we are also taught to balance the two. If a man is “happy” and easy going all the time, then he is weak; but if he is mad all the time, then he is a jerk. Learning this balance is the totality of male emotionalism.

I am not simple, but I hope you get this point. HAPPY & MAD over simplifies complex emotions, and this is why we say to Jr., “boys don’t cry.” Its just not that simple. It is ok to be happy when … or you better not be a punk and get mad when …

Happiness, sadness, anger, and solace, in all of the of their varying degrees, need to be expressed with freedom. This is one of the meanings of being a “real” man. The ability to balance all emotions, telling others how you feel, and even how you feel about them, is a better measure of a man.

Bottling emotions doesn’t mean that you have control over them, because your bottle can only hold so much. When the bottle runs over, all the emotions are mixed and you really don’t know what you’re feeling. When this happens you’ll end up crying really ugly. Express every emotion properly and you’ll realize, that is being a real man.

© 2011 Djoaquin Publishing, All Rights Reserved



  1. By having male children, I was also taught growing up that “boys don’t cry.” I have since changed that mentality when I learned that men really did have feelings. This has taught me on a new level about men and emotion. Thank you very much.

  2. Good article but I don’t think a man should be an open book due to the good/bad consequences that will follow. Sometimes what you feel is just that; what you feel.
    The last line supports my opinion of why I think this way. Express every emotion properly and you’ll realize, that is being a real man. The word properly is the key to this article. Because the word properly does not have a universal meaning then how can one have a universal emotion. In some cases; expressing your emotions properly may not be the real meaning of how you truly feel but rather a politically correct response to how someone else feels.

    1. Good question!

      To be “proper” is all about context. For example, Erik Spoelstra, head coach for the Miami Heat, put his team on blast for crying in locker room. While it may be okay to be so upset that you shed a few tears, who can feel sorry for a bunch of millionaires who’s team has moved down to just #3?

      It was improper to tell the world that those brothers were crying, while it was completely proper to cry privately with their teammates.

      Being free is not about leaving the book open, but rather, knowing fully how to react to the page you’re on

      1. “While it may be okay to be so upset that you shed a few tears, who can feel sorry for a bunch of millionaires who’s team has moved down to just #3?”

        My point exactly. It was proper for them to show the emotion. It was improper for the entire world to see it.

        The consequences of them opening that book will result in future emotions being placed in that bottle.

  3. Excellent teaching my husband and I were just discussing this on the other day why is it so easy to show the emotion of anger yet when we cry at say a movie we hide it, we should be free to show every emotion that we feel and having raised 2 sons i too am guilty of not allowing them to cry when they either were hurting or just felt the need……good word!!!

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