Thursday, 8 August 2013

Real men don't cry

For years the debate has continued about the difference between men and women. Women can be gentle, kind, tender, emotional and so on and so on … whilst men are naturally tough, they don’t show their emotions, and any sign of kindness or tenderness is a sign of weakness.

Whilst not wishing to either start or enter this debate right here I must admit that I have been brought up to hide my emotions and to always appear strong, in control and not show any hesitation in my decisions or the accuracy of my judgment. The stiff upper lip syndrome has long been a revered trait to be adhered to whenever possible.

The new fashionable trend that it is nice for men to show their feminine side and it is OK for men to cry would not until recently have found favor with me.

I really cannot remember the last time I ever cried …… until a few days ago.

In recent days I have had reason to cry twice, with real tears. Not manly, I know; but it actually happened.

The first time it happened involved my dear Aunt Gertrude who is holidaying with us from Australia. I have written a lot about her and how she has tested my patience to extremes since she arrived at our house. But deep inside she is a kind old lady who has suffered a lot in life and overcame all odds with a smile and a determination of a Saint. But what she did a few days ago really brought tears to my eyes.

We were at the supermarket car-park having loaded all our shopping in the car and about to leave. Being a gentleman, I opened the door for her and waited until she entered the car and sat behind the driver’s seat. She looked at me with a gentle smile and moist eyes and said “look at that beautiful sunset … it reminds me of many sweet sunsets with my late husband in Adelaide! He really loved bright red sunsets ... I miss him so … he was a handsome big man ... you would have liked him. Pity the two of you never met!”

I looked at the sun setting in the distance over the hills and for once I felt really sorry for this little old lady with so much hidden love in her heart. For a fleeting moment, I really regreted ever wishing she'd go back to Australia.

Then, for some unexplained reason, she shut the car door on my hand … accidentally of course.

OH the pain … it brought real tears to my eyes. "Real men don't cry!" I heard my brain say; but my eyes were in no mood to listen.

Auntie got out of the car and apologized profusely … everyone panicked!

"Dad are you crying?" I heard in the distance of my confused mind. Where's the stiff upper lip when you most need it?

I could not see because of the tears … I was driven to hospital A&E Department where they took an X ray of my hand.

Mercifully, apart from some serious bruising there were no broken bones or torn tendons. But I really cried that day ... real tears like it rarely happened before. Talk of showing my feminine side !!!

Amongst the pain and confusion I asked the doctor whether I’d be able to play the piano. He said yes. Which I found most odd since I could not play the piano before the accident! Perhaps I should have asked him about the guitar too! I always wanted to play it well.

Anyway ... a few days passed and all was forgotten. However, Auntie Gertrude was once again the source of more tears in this hitherto stiff upper lip type of a man.

She read in the papers that the local cinema was showing a romantic sad film involving a love story and a tragic ending. A real tear-jerker from all accounts! Apparently she’d seen the film in Adelaide and cried throughout and she believed we'd all enjoy shedding a tear at this sad story too.

"What a load of nonsense!" I thought. Why is it that women love to see sad films and cry throughout? Well, I certainly had no intention of going to see this silly sad story. If I needed to cry some more I'd gladly shut the car door on my hand myself.

But I was out-numbered as often happens in this household. They all decided to go to the cinema.

Now, it is a very long time since I have been to the cinema. In my days going to the cinema was not necessarily to see a film. Much better to sit in the back with your date and …

Anyway, we all went to the cinema as a family with Auntie Gertrude; and once again the occasion brought real tears to my eyes. Tears which I just could not control.

It wasn't so much the story which made me weep like a child ...

Have you seen how much cinema tickets cost these days? A true fortune I tell you!

And no reductions for a whole family or old people – which Auntie certainly is!

And can you imagine the price of popcorn, drinks, sweets, chocolates and all the other things which apparently are now essentials whilst watching a film.

In my days, sitting at the back row one was too busy ... watching the film ... to need popcorn and drinks.

My wallet joined me in shedding genuine tears as we had to fork out so much for so little.
As the film started I had so many tears in my eyes thinking of the cost that I could not see anything.

Anyway, the cinema was so crowded that if the lady in front of me did not have pierced ears I would not have been able to see the screen!


  1. Victor, you are truly a character. The "stiff upper lip" seems to be a Western cultural trait. Asian men can cry.

    1. The stiff upper lip is very important. That is unless one's favorite football team looses; then it is OK to cry like a baby.

      God bless you Barbara.

  2. I dont know whether to laugh or cry at this post! :)
    Hope your hand is better.

    1. I had reason to cry yet again yesterday, Colleen. I dropped and broke a 14 years old bottle of single malt whisky.

      My hand is better but I still can't play the piano or guitar.

      God bless.

  3. Here in the US, the trend has been to replace the "old fashioned" cinema experience with one with waitresses, dinner, and reserved seating. Of course, this is just a ploy to inflate the already inflated price of the ticket.

    Enjoy your piano lessons. (I assume you signed up now, no?)

    God bless.

    1. I understand what you mean Michael. It seems to me that prices are inflated for no apparent reason. That's why I thought it was too much to pat for a film that makes you cry. Cheaper to shut the car door on one's hand ... or drop a bottle of whisky.

      Sadly, I have never managed to play the piano. I can't remember where all the notes are. I can play them all, of course, but not in the right order.

      God bless.

    2. CORRECTION: That's "pay" not "pat".

      I know where all the letters are on the keyboard. I can't press them in the right order!

      God bless.

  4. I have to admit that I had a good laugh at your expense while reading this story! Your life is never boring, Victor!

    1. Since Aunt Gertrude arrived my life has been distinctly more dangerous.

      God bless you Mary.



God bless you.