boys don’t cry


Clockwise from top left: Daniel Craig, Jude Law, Hayden Christensen, and Ed Harris.

Robin Williams

Ryan Gosling

I love this series by British photographer and filmmaker, Sam Taylor-Wood, entitled “Crying Men“, a collection of male actors photographed crying and upset. Of course, these dudes are actors, so their profession is to express emotions. Taylor-Wood explains how, “some of the men cried before I even finished loading the camera, but others found it really difficult. People can decide for themselves which they think are the authentic tears and which they think are fake. It’s about the idea of taking these big, masculine men and showing a different side.”

I have always thought it fascinating and unfair, how discouraged boys and men are from expressing their emotions. It’s not that I want people to be sad! It’s that I want everyone to be able to feel that they can express their truest self, and that means the full spectrum of emotions. Because I know, as well as most people, that tears can be healing and if you hold them in, they can mess you up! That is one reason why I love talk therapy, which I go to every week, and wrote more in depth about a few years ago. There is an immense power in acknowledging your feelings and thus, getting to the root of why you are feeling them to better understand your self and the world.

Looking at these photos of crying men, I asked myself, do I see the men around me (not actors) cry? When was the first time I saw a boy cry, or my dad? When was the first time I ever made a guy cry!? I think I have accurate answers, or at least recollections, on all of the above…

I can’t remember the first time I saw a boy cry, nor the first time I saw my dad cry but I do remember certain tearful moments. I remember my dad cried when his grandfather died, I was little, younger than 5. My dad told me that he had gone to dispose of his grandfather’s ashes in New York, ashes!? – a notion that also freaked me out. He got tears in his eyes telling me how much he loved his grandfather for being his male role model growing up – because my dad’s father had left before he was 1. I remember feeling scared to see my dad cry, that the world was somehow crumbling in that moment. My dad was supposed to be safe, not scared or sad. But then that’s not how humans are, and maybe I learned that, in that misty-eyed moment. That long-ago memory is still present in my mind because of my dad’s tears; they made me realize the depth of the situation. Since then, I’ve seen my dad cry a bunch, he’s turned into a real softie, which I guess I like in my old age, it makes him less scary.

As for boys, I remember when I made my boyfriend in high school cry. I was 15 breaking up with an 18 year old. I was done, over it, wanted to move on after our lengthy 3 month relationship (sarcasm) and I told him with very little emotion in my voice. I was shocked when he started crying and almost begging me to change my mind. It kind of disgusted me in the moment, made me really glad that I was making the decision to break up with him. But now, when I think back, I’m so glad that he felt like he could cry in front of me. The moment is seared into my memory because of his intensity of emotion. I appreciate that he trusted our bond enough to let his true emotions be expressed. I still dumped him. Oops.

Now with Joey, my boyfriend, my love, business partner, safety blanket, best friend, night in shining armor and cat dad, well…….he cried just this morning while watching a YouTube video about a mentally disabled boy making a basket at a school game.

And I love him for that.

PS, I cried too.

Daniel Craig

Forest Whitaker

Steve Buscemi

Hayden Christensen

What are your thoughts on tears? On men expressing emotions? I want to know! Chime in with a comment below…

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not a mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition and of unspeakable love.” – Washington Irving

(Crying Men, the book, is currently out of print)

images via,,,


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