When is it OK for a man to cry?
When his dog dies.
These are the two historically acceptable answers, but there’s room to open the floor for a couple more as long as certain preconditions are met. First, one tear and one tear only is allowed. Anymore, and the line is crossed into blubbering. Second, the guy must be completely oblivious to his one tear. Or at least act like he’s oblivious. His face should be still; there should be no trembling of the lip or move to wipe away the tear. When that tear falls he should be looking solemnly into the far distance, as if his one tear were pregnant with so much philosophical profundity the world isn’t worthy of his expression of sadness. The right way to cry is like this guy:
When women cry, which they do often and unexpectedly (“why are you crying?” “sometimes a girl just needs to cry!”), it’s like a chimney sweep for their emotions. Similar to the way aggression and horniness gets bottled up in men, the whole panoply of emotions builds up to toxic levels in women rendering them incapacitated until they escape to a private space and unleash a torrent of tears. The deluge scrubs their brains’ wiring and everything settles back into a normal operating state.
Men don’t need to deal with this minefield of competing emotions so when a guy sheds that one magnificent droplet you know it is full of meaning. When you see a guy choked up, you don’t say to yourself “oh god, there he goes again”, you say “damn, that’s gotta be hard.”
A guy knows to honor the code and people’s expectations of what it means to be a man by crying only when the tragedy is grave. For instance, a fellow soldier’s death on the battlefield. Loss of a close family member (extended family like cousins don’t reach the level of tear-shedding. Subdued facial demeanor is enough.) A lump in the throat is permitted during the scene in ‘Cinderella Man’ when Russell Crowe’s Depression-era character promises his first-born son that he’ll never have to go to his aunt’s again because there wasn’t enough food on the table.
A brief glaze across the eyes is acceptable on the last note of this aria, when no one’s watching, and you understand what the lyrics are about:
ps: check out the female judge’s O-face at the 2:13 mark.