Sunday, June 06, 2010

A Rare Admission...

While having a phone conversation with DS the other day, he fessed up having to quietly and quickly wipe a few tears away while watching his daughter, our granddaughter, Kilee perform in a dance recital. "The ballet part always gets me, he said. Man, I was glad it was dark in there."

I knew what he was saying, the simple truth is that crying for a guy is more than a little disturbing, it's akin to borderline frightening. Because, well, guys don't cry. And I'm not talking about the blotchy, red face, can't catch your breath, nose excreting, inconsolable type of crying. No, I mean we were taught near total tear control under threat of having dolls put in our bedroom. Little things like falling off your bike, out of a tree or a baseball thrown by your brother, smacking you in the face, all required a tear-free reaction. Guys don't cry was the mantra. Like DS, we might get a little choked up ever now and then but cry?

Here's what you have to understand, guys with leaky moisture ducts make other guys uncomfortable, very uncomfortable. We are quick to pick up on each others emergency tear abatement with the stealth awareness of a snake sensing a white mouse having just dropped in for dinner. Remembering, mice do not make dinner guests. They are dinner. Add to this a few words of wisdom passed down from my Dad. "Never fight a guy already crying, he said. You can't hurt him anymore than he already is. Walk away."
It's the whole control thing. If he is visibly not in control - give the dude room, lots of it.

I've listened as women expressed a desire for their husbands/boyfriends/etc to be more open in showing their caring side. That it was OK for them to cry. While I don't have supportive data, let me just say this. Guys figure they get one, at best, two free passes when it comes to shedding the tears in front of you. Any more than that and you'll start questioning more than our inability to ask for directions or why we can't seem to remember to put the lid down.

Back to my conversation with the son. I'm feeling a bit guilty in not fessing up to my own recent struggle with the whole tear thing. Who knew play dough cookies and imaginary tea could have such an effect. I'm thinking AA slipped something into my drink. I'm just glad it was a private tea party. Dodged a bullet as it were.

Yo, Alyzabeth. More tea please...


Number 6 and no more counting! said...

what a lovely post. thank you, for sharing this. You have made my day!


cathy said...

ditto---Real men are men who can admit they cry and btw, it was a very beautiful moment watching her in that first dance.

Buckeyes & Eggrolls said...

I loved this post. Often, I have seen my husbands eyes a little "glassy" when it comes to things having to do with Maddy. I don't see actual tears but I know he is or has been touched just the same. :0) And.. like you, sometimes it's with the simplest things like playdo and tea time or reading a book for the 100th time

Mike and Rhonda said...

Now that our DD is in our lives, I see my DH get misty a few times. I adore the way he talks about her and there is a tear duct malfunction going on. :). Dang, I am getting teary eyed just thinking about it.

You are a sweet dad to enjoy play-doe cookies and invisible tea.

Jimh. said...

Bravo, Ford. However, it may have been a humid day.

China Dreams said...

My previous principal cried the first day of our three day back to school staff development training and I just looked away, uncomfortable. When he did it the second time, I thought, wow, has this guy recently experienced some loss? By the third time, I realized that no one in the room was even phased by it. He got that way any time he talked about helping kids. Definitely not the norm, though. My husband has only ever leaked when discussing his nephew's death, and then it's a leak, a swipe, a deep breath, and back to normal.

Melissa said...

Awww....but what or who is DS????