Tag Archives: crying

quit freaking out about babies.

19 Jul

I like babies and dogs, I always have.  There’s something about those two creatures that just makes me exceedingly happy.  I’m assuming it’s because they don’t talk.  Maybe it’s because I find amusement in something that slobbers.  In any event, my heartfelt affinity for babies is not common for a man – and I’m okay with that.  But what I’m not cool with is how much crap I’ve gotten for liking babies (men seem to make allowances for dogs).  Countless friends of mine have said, “Oh man, I’m glad you like babies…but they freak me out!” or “Wow, you should really have a kid since you like babies so much.”

Grown Men, you need to quit freaking out about babies.  So many of you are afraid that:

1- You’ll drop them.
2- You won’t know what to do EVEN if you just hold one for a few minutes.
3- Your lady-friend will think you’re hinting that it might be time to start “trying”.

Allow me to refute these points:

You’ll drop them.: No, you wont.  Think of it this way, at the end of a long evening at the local pub, you’re able to hold a pint even when you’re tired and half-in-the-bag. That glass is made out of, you guessed it, glass, and would shatter time and time again if you were as clumsy as you perceive yourself to be.  Furthermore, babies aren’t as delicate as guys think they are.  Have you ever seen a delivery?  Me neither.  But from what I’ve been told, the nurses and doctors are far from our definition of gentle.  Apparently, they move swiftly with the babies and hit them on the back so they’ll cough up any remaining ectoplasm.  You see what I’m getting at? Dr. Venkman knows what he’s doing and you, my gentle-man, are not going break a baby.  My advice is to sit down the first few times.  The mom or dad will get what you’re doing and will gladly hand you the little-buddy when you’re situated.  All you have to do is sit and do nothing – which you’re naturally a pro at.

You won’t know what to do…: Well, this is kinda true actually.  If you’re freaked out by holding a baby, then you’ve likely never changed a diaper, taught your daughter how to ride a bike, or given your son “the talk”.  However, enjoying a baby isn’t about those things – nobody is asking you to raise the kid just because you’ve taken a few minutes to hold one.  In fact, if the worst case scenario happens and they either a)start crying or b)load up the diaper, the parents are going to know immediately that you, a total amateur, are not able to handle these scenarios and they’re going to politely snag Bonzo back and do what they do (and you don’t) – parent.

Your lady-friend will think you’re ready to start “trying”.: Oh geez, this one’s just a total cop-out.  There isn’t a Grown Woman in the world who thinks your ready to be a dad just because you allow yourself the pleasure of holding a baby.  When she watches you, she’s thinking, “God, his mom’s going to be a freaking nightmare if we ever have a kid.”  Listen up, I know you love “practicing” and aren’t ready to “try” – and that’s okay.  But when the time is right, you’ll know.  You and the Mrs. will talk about it like adults and turn that corner together.  Holding a baby won’t force the issue.

Molly and Grown Man

A few weeks ago, I got the rare opportunity of holding an 11-hour-old baby.  Her name is Molly and she is, as far as I can tell, a perfect baby.  She smelled exactly like a new baby should, made clicking sounds as she breathed, and had exceedingly soft ears. I loved my time with Molly.  As I sat there for 30 minutes holding her, I couldn’t help but think about her at 5-years old, running around in the park, at 18-years-old, descending the stairs in a prom dress, and at 30-years-old, with a family of her own.

At this point, I realize  the male readers have Apple-Q‘d this page and the female readers are all that’s left.  But for the few guys that have made it to this point, you’ve got to hear that holding a baby is about looking at someone else and seeing hope and promise.  Just like I look past your dead-fish handshake and see a possible Grown Man.

it’s okay to cry.

6 Jul

I went to a funeral this weekend.  It was a small, family service held deep within the mountains of North Carolina.  It was, I suppose, one of those funerals where the mourning is focused more around saying goodbye to a well lived life, rather than angry at the universe for snatching someone from our midst too soon.  In any event, it was a sad day for our family.  So it goes.

This funeral brought to mind an issue that’s been plaguing the modern man and creating emotional volcanoes.  The problem I’m referring to is the idea that “real men don’t cry”.  Oh yes, we love spreading this lie around our culture, don’t we?  We’ve coined the term “strong silent type” and, in the rare instance that a guy does cry, it’s either celebrated as an emotional tour de force or passively scored and perceived as weak.  Both and neither of the perceptions are completely accurate – allow me to explain.

Why it should be celebrated…

Men are notorious for bottling-up good-old-fashioned, extremely helpful, emotion.  Over years and years, it’s become en vogue to keep a stiff upper lip and not allow ourselves the natural – yes, natural – expression of crying.  Crying is a physical act that enables us to manage emotion via our bodies impulses.  Isn’t that cool?  Think about it.  When you get  super scared and the adrenalin pulses, your body is naturally releasing a chemical that allows you to escape or defend the oncoming danger with super-hero-like force.  Like adrenaline, crying is a gift that your body gives you to be able to release the massive tension inside and function.

However, because we’re dumb animals, we ignore the natural impulse to cry and suck it up.  What ends up happening is that you a)never release the tension, b)work twice as hard at dealing with a situation, c)find way less constructive avenues for release, or d)all of the above.  This weekend, at the funeral, one or two tears were shed.  When men would take time to share, their voice would quiver, they’d take a deep breath, they’d apologize for showing emotion, and they would continue on.  We all know the drill, don’t we?

Imagine what a better world it would be if Hulk had just let it out?  If Kobra Khan simply allowed himself to cry? If Bebop and Rocksteady locked arms and sang a big, snotty, chorus of Lean on Me?  Joking aside, it’s helpful to cry, it’s constructive to cry, and it’s time to redefine masculinity and stop perceiving a mastery of emotions as ignoring the ones that help (crying) and celebrating the ones that hurt (sucking it up).

When crying isn’t always appropriate…

Johnny Fontane and The Godfather

Let’s examine the greatest movie of all time: The Godfather.  When Don Corleone went to view Santino’s bullet-ridden body, he cried.  Oh yes, the most powerful, manly man ever on the silver screen slobbered, snotted, and mumbled, “Look what they’ve done to my boy…look what they’ve done.”  However, and this is a big however, when freaking Johnny Fontane met with The Godfather and began to cry in his office, Vito slapped the junk out of him and said, “You can act like a man!”  What’s the difference?  Why would  crying be accepted on one hand but get you backslapped with the other?  Because there’s no room for crying in certain arenas.

Johnny Fontane was, essentially, at work.  He was upset about his job, he needed help, and he was talking to his boss.  Gentlemen, crying at work is weak.  Crying because you’re not getting enough shifts, because you just bombed a review, or  for any reason at your place of employment is not an option for a Grown Man.  At our jobs, we are hired and paid to be professional.  When you cry at work, you’re using your tears as tools to get what you want and avoiding your big-boy words to express emotion.

Also, crying with a lady-friend is okay, but you’ve got to use it sparingly.  Again, the tears as tools theory works very well on the tail end of a DTR where you feel like you’re losing the upper hand and she’s about to break up with you.  When you cry, you manipulate the relationship and that’s just not fair.  Now dont’ get me wrong, I’ll cry like a baby with my wife.  Oh lord, that woman has seen more tears than Jimmy Swaggart’s handkerchief.  But those tears are spent on times of real mourning, intense emotion, and moments when words fail me and emotion overcomes me.

The bottom line is this:  You know when crying is helpful and when it’s being used as a tool.  When it’s helpful – cry like Tammy Fae and don’t be embarrassed to let it the heck out.  Your family, friends, and society in general will thank you.  However, if you’ve got ulterior motives for crying, suck it up and be a grown freaking man about it.

be a friend to your heartbroken comrades.

22 Jun

True (and embarrassing) story:

Many years ago I was dating a girl.  It was one of those relationships where you know, I mean really really know, right away, that this is “the one”.  Long story short, that girl broke up with me after two weeks.  Might I have been a little too intense and freaked her out with all that “forever” talk on the first date?  Likely. Might she have been wise to drop me because I was basically a gigantic child who had zero capacity for a mature relationship? 100%, yes.

Anyhow, she breaks up with me in the afternoon and I called my friend using a gigantic Zack Morris phone and told him what happened.  He said he was sorry and wanted to know if I needed anything, I told him I was fine – I was lying.  Upon returning to my apartment I began what can only be described as a downward spiral of snot, tears, beer, my roommates cigarettes, Johnny Cash b-sides, and half-written letters of forlorn love.  “Seriously, you and I were meant to love each other!  What if you’re not allowed to break up with me?  What if I say no! No. You can’t break up with me, I love you too much.  We’re knit together in a tapestry of memories.” Oh god, I have to stop, this is really humiliating.

Here’s how that night ended.  I’m laying in the middle of my living room floor à la a dog on the pavement in summer.  Things have gotten dark – I am crushed.  There’s a knock on the door.  I grunt for whoever is there to come in.  Is it a robber who wants to kill me? WHO CARES, SHE’S THE ONLY PERSON THAT’S EVER KNOWN ME! However, it wasn’t a random murderer who was polite enough to knock, it was the aforementioned friend with two more friends – each of them were carrying six 12oz. friends and suitcases full of empathy.

That night, those guys didn’t say crap like, “Quit crying, there will be other girls” or “No, we don’t want to hear your poem titled The Heart Died Today”.  Those guys just sat there as I talked about how bad I felt.  They responded with phrases like, “I’m sorry, man” and “Yeah, that really does suck”.   They spent the whole night just letting me go through the process, bringing me beer after beer and, when appropriate, injecting moments of humor and levity in hopes of gently bringing me out of the spiral.

Grown Men, that’s what we’re supposed to do. We’re supposed to be a particularity great friend for our comrades in times of need. Being broken up with, as most of you know, is one of the worst feelings ever.  Paul Simon wrote the lyric, “Losing love is like a window in your heart, everybody sees your blown apart, everybody feels the wind blow.” When a buddy is in the midst of breakup pain, be present, don’t judge, and just feel the wind blow.  I can assure you, they will thank you for it later.

One more thing.  When the night is over and everyone meets up for the next days Frisbee Golf game, it is illegal to embarrass that guy because of what he said or how he acted the day before.  Guys get a pass for all heartbroken behavior – for a time.  If it’s a week later and they’re still be a baby, unleash your best mocking.

P.S. I ended up getting to marry the aforementioned girl when I was older and less of an idiot.  I guess all that “forever” talk was pretty astute.

don’t call radio shows.

28 Mar

While driving home tonight, I heard a man call in to the Delilah show.

[record scratch]

Hold on, here’s why I was listening to Delilah. It’s the number one place, in the entire world, to laugh at crazy people. Seriously, I defy you to make it 5 minutes without yelling at your radio.

Back to the story.

This man called in, was crying about his lady friend of six months who had left him, and requested that Delilah play him “something to make [him] feel better”.

It is never okay to call in a radio show. You may call in if your going to win something awesome (concert tickets, BBQ grill, vacation, etc.). But if you’re calling to rant about the man or get some on-air love therapy, you must stop. Find someone who genuinely cares about your opinions to listen – not some faceless stranger who identifies you as “Crying in Cleveland”.

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