Monday, March 8, 2010

Act Like a Man a.k.a Insert the World's Smallest Violin Here

I think I was about 15 years old when I received my first and most important “man law”. There was a party being thrown by a classmate of mine and due to my academic shortcomings, I was told that I need not prepare an Oscar outfit for I would not be in attendance. I wasn’t aware at that point that even if I were a straight A student, I probably still wouldn't have been allowed to attend but I had managed to arm my folks with the gift of bad grades as grounds for their latch key aspirations. So as I began to cry like a punk biotch, my dad sternly instructed me that “Men don’t cry!” Ok. Fair enough. I’ll suck the snot back up. What Pops failed to do however was to alert me as to what alternative and acceptable means of emoting was officially sanctioned by the male code of ethics.

Men, and especially African American/Latino men are emotionally crippled. Since we are disproportionately afflicted by all other societal ailments, yada yada yada,,, Not sure where it originates but social conditioning and fictitious male archetypes tend to dictate acceptable means of emoting. We look to the toughest of tough guys for emotional guidance,both on the block and in our blockbusters. The best part of every action movie is when our hero fights through some sort of unimaginable emotional (“you killed my father!”) and physical injury. Nothing says MAN” like dispensing of an adversary while a 30-inch blade dangles from the puncture wound in your upper chest. I don’t know about you but if you shove a blade through my sternum, you can label me whatever size vagina you like as I am most certainly hitting the floor while yelping like a new born calf as I clutch my chest and question the universe a la Nancy Kerrigan (“Why? Why?”).

Unfortunately, society also champions gratuitous bravado in reality. Even after long and illustrious careers (6-7 years) professional athletes barely allow themselves to cry upon retirement. Said sports hero must suck it up, pause, forgive himself for having emotions, pause again, hold their hat, shirt or clipboard in front of their face, then preface his crying with the statement, “I promised myself I wouldn’t cry”. It is no secret that men are not supposed to exude any sort of emotion that is not marred in seriousness. A little humor is ok but not too much. Unless your last name ends in Pryor, Murphy or Rock, no one appreciates all that mirth and glee.

Even our true masters (women) prefer the strong silent type. Unbeknownst to them, women are ultimately requesting the strong serial killer type but who am I to question preference?

For the record, men are allowed to cry when A) An extremely close relative dies & B) An extremely close relative dies. And even then, no facial expression must be shown. A stiff upper lip with an occasional tear begrudgingly streaming down a man's cheek is enough to alert the world that he is dying inside. After the funeral however, he is on his own. I am no way calling for a nation of blubbering brothers but the alternative seems to be an inability to deal with common, everyday stresses, and it is killing us.

When you don’t present someone with healthy emotional options, they will find new and imaginative ways of dealing. Most internalize or resort to Jack Daniels and Mary Jane abuse but some will surly resort to extreme forms of "Man crying" a.k.a punching holes in walls, throwing things and eventually, throwing people. Stress induced heart attacks and the prison industrial complex are the end destinations for many emotionally maladjusted males. Too many are hell bent on keeping it real, not realizing that their version of reality bites. We all know what happens when keeping it real goes wrong so It’s way beyond time we figured out how to deal. Real talk.

*Sidebar- Acknowledging that most stresses are self-inflicted is Advanced Emotion 102 so let’s just stick with the basics for now. Sidebar complete

Man to English Dictionary: What he says vs. what he really means:

"I need to go to the gym” – "I need to get some of this aggression out before I kill somebody."

"I'm going out with the fellas." - "I need to tell someone who I almost killed this week."

Silence. – “I’m about to kill somebody"

“Leave me alone.”- “I’m about to kill you”

"Nah, I’m good.” – "I already killed somebody.. Sell my stuff and tell the kids I love ‘em."


Rolando Brown said...

great post. love the photos. Still, do you really believe men don't cry? Personally I would love a world where tears aren't needed due to more effective mehtods of preparing for pain, hurt, loss, in such a way that makes the emotions more manageable. Still, wondering if you think its acceptable for men to cry in general?

Mr. Wagogo said...

My dude, this is so on point. We are dang zombies as men or atleast have to react like we are. Since it's Biggie Appreciation Week I'll end it with a Big quote.

"I don't wanna live no mo', sometimes I hear death knocking at my front door. I'm leaving everyday like hustle, another drug to juggle. Another day and another struggle."

Post a Comment

We Reinvented the remix.