The Eight Times It’s Okay for a Guy to Cry

March 28, 2011

Even well into the 21st century, most men are too embarrassed to cry. Despite years of talk about equal rights and getting in touch with your feelings, a lot of dudes still consider bawling their eyes out an unforgivable sin. But every life has its share of hardship, and there are some times when a man has to let the waterworks go.

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By Geoff Shakespeare

8. He (or his Team) Loses the Big Game

Even if they don’t actually compete in anything, most men enjoy competition of some form. Whether it’s the no-holds-barred, bareknuckle intensity of a MMA fight or the no-holds-barred, bareknuckle intensity of a D&D game, men have an instinctual need to test their strengths, skills, and endurance against other men. Perhaps it’s a biological leftover from the times when we had to fight for every meal. Perhaps deep down we’re all jerks. Whatever the reason, guys invest a lot of their pride and self-esteem in testing their limits and coming out on top. And once you’ve had a taste of the winner’s circle, you’ll do anything to get back.

As profound a joy as winning is, losing is terrible. Even if the stakes are low, getting beaten ranks somewhere between a botched root canal and Columbian jail on the Feel Bad Rainbow. If the stakes are high, then the agony is compounded exponentially. Sports psychologists say that losing a championship game is more traumatic than losing every game in a season. You can be forgiven then for shedding a tear or two when you (or your team) lose the big game. Just make sure you don’t let it prevent you from getting back on the horse. Real men cry when they lose, wimps give up.

7. He Has a Kid

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For all our noble endeavors in the fields of science, philosophy, literature, and video games, the fact remains that every male on the planet is here for one reason and one reason alone: to make babies. You don’t have to have kids, and if you’re irresponsible, lazy, or really ugly you probably shouldn’t, but it is a fundamental part of our DNA to procreate and keep the species going.

It may be as primal as taking a dump or eating a steak, but man, oh man, does having a kid do a number on a guy’s heart. The minute you see that little ball of clammy, crying flesh for the first time, you’ll need a heart of stone to not break down and weep.

And you know what? Go ahead, man. You deserve it. After all, this little human is the culmination of a life worrying about, obsessing over, chasing after, and bragging about sex. That little bundle of joy is the reason you sweated like a pig sitting beside Becky Miller in ninth grade math. It’s the reason you got drunk all those weekends in college, it’s the reason you spent thousands of dollars over the years on clothes, cars, restaurants, and everything else you used in your quest for female companionship. It’s the reason you fell in love with the woman who bore it, and it’s now the reason you’re going to get fat and bald and be a boring dad. Hell, if you don’t cry at that, you’re a robot.

6. That Kid Gets Married

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As we’ve already established, having a kid gives you one free trip to blubberville. Over the next 18 years (25 if you’re unlucky) that kid now has free license to eat your food, live in your house, take your money, and play terrible music that reminds you how you’re never going to be cool again. For the first year or two they even have dibs on your wife’s boobs.

Despite the fact that they act like the worst houseguest in the universe, you’re going to fall in love with the little bugger. You’re going to marvel as he or she grows up, learns new things, trashes your car, and perpetuates human existence for another generation. There are going to be a lot of moments in your kids life that challenge your determination not to cry, but none are going to test those eyeballs like your child’s wedding. Getting married severs the last tie that a child has to its parent. You’re still going to see them, but barring accidents, from that day on, the kid is 100% in charge of their own life. You still get to chime in -- and they still may want to borrow cash -- but for all intents and purposes, your rearing days are over. Your kid’s wedding is a bittersweet time, full of joy tinged with sadness. Plus, almost everyone is loaded. Come on dude, let it out.

5. He Gets Kicked in the Groin

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This should be a given, right? Why, oh why, is the most sensitive place on our bodies hanging unprotected and in perfect range of everyone’s feet? Scientists claim the male reproductive organs (or “junk” in Latin) are where they are due to the need for them to be a few degrees cooler than the rest of your body. Either that, or God is one cruel mutha. How else can you explain the extra thick bone we get to protect our brains, and the extra thin layer of skin we get to protect our bones? Whatever the case, getting booted in between the legs is painful. Indescribably painful. Wickedly, unforgivingly, mind-numbingly painful. If it happens, you can cry like an 11-year-old girl who’s just touched Justin Bieber’s hair. No man, unless he’s a eunuch or a completely heartless jerk is going to judge you for it. If he does, just give him one in the stones and we’ll see who needs a tissue.

4. He Loses a Buddy

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Jokes aside, some things in this world are just too sad not to cry at. Losing a buddy is one of the worst things any guy can go through. Through thick or thin, good times and bad, your buddies stick by you. They were there playing wingman when you first asked a girl to dance and she laughed in your face. They made sure you didn’t choke to death that night you got hammered and puked in the fountain -- you know, the good times. You can judge a man by a lot of things, but the quality of his friends is the true measure of what kind of guy he is.

If you’re unfortunate enough to lose one of your crew, go ahead and cry. But take a note from the Irish, who among many other achievements, have created the most perfect way to say goodbye to those who part this mortal coil before us -- the wake. Instead of everyone wallowing in sadness, they wallow in whiskey and happy memories of the dearly departed. Celebrate the life just as much as you mourn the death. Funerals are for weird old aunts you met once when you were eight, but wakes are for friends.

3. His Dog Dies

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Loyal companion, hunting partner, sharer of chips, dogs have been man’s best friend since the days when eating roasted rat in a dank cave was considered the height of quality living. Dogs are awesome friends. They don’t care what you look like, how you smell, and even if you decide to spend the entire weekend eating uncooked wieners in your underwear, they’re always down for hanging out.

For all these reasons, and their enviable ability to lick their own genitals, people make deep, long-lasting connections to their dogs. And when they reach their inevitable end -- inevitably before you reach yours -- there are few things as tough in a guy’s life as losing that special furry, four-legged buddy. If and when your dog checks into that great big kennel in the sky, it’s okay to let the tears flowed unfettered. And then get yourself another one.

2. He Smashes his Car

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Of all the possessions we amass over our consuming careers, none mean quite so much as our automobiles. If you live in a part of the world where having a car is seen as just as much of a right and necessity as having air to breathe, owning your own ride is a profound step on the ladder of existence. For guys especially, a set of wheels is much more than a means of transportation. It’s a defining part of your identity and manhood. It’s all a bit silly when you think about it, but the fact remains that for a lot of men, their relationship with their car may be the most intimate one they form in their lives. Not that kind of intimate, you weirdo. Gross.

With this in mind, it makes perfect sense for a guy to shed a few over the loss of his car in a smash-up. Even if everyone involved walks away unhurt, if the car is trashed, a guy’s still going to heartbroken. Heartbroken enough to cry like a little girl.

1. He Gets his Heart Broken

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It’s a cruel world, full of indignities and humiliations large and small. As we grow up, we learn that to make it in this life, you need to be tough and self-reliant. It’s dog-eat-dog out there, and only lone wolves get the brass ring. Fortunately, we also learn that girls are soft, smell good, and make slogging your way through the maelstrom of modern life absolutely worth it. If you’re lucky enough to find a woman to fall in love with, then all that other nonsense loses its power. Life may be rough, but at least she’s always going to be there to share the good and bad with you.

Until she isn’t. Yes, sometimes that special someone turns into your greatest enemy. What was once a partner and confidant is now a person who grudgingly returns your phone calls and tells you she faked every orgasm. If this happens to you, our sympathies and our congratulations. It’s going to hurt like hell and you’ll spend the next few months convinced every woman in the world is having a laugh behind your back, but be strong. Life moves on, the next relationship will be better, and eventually you’ll find the girl you’ll grow old with. In the meantime, go ahead and cry your eyes out, man.