Friday, January 22, 2010

boys don't cry...

Oh lady at drop-in gymnastics.  I judge you.  I judge you.  I judge you.

I heard you snapping "Don't.  don't."  before I turned around to see your little boy, 18 months-ish, struggling to hold in some serious sniffles.  And then you had to open your mouth again.  "Don't you cry.  Don't you cry!".  All the parental hairs on the back of my neck were standing at full attention now, as I watched this little kid really trying hard to hold in his eruption of tears.  That ain't right.  We can do all sorts of things as parents, and have all sorts of expectations, but we don't have the right to tell our children how to feel (or in this case, how not to feel).  I hold myself back from throttling you, and begin moving myself and Oliver away, before I am unable to fight the urge to tell you that you are signing your kid up for additional years of therapy down the road, among other things.  Poor little dude. 

And then, just when I think that you couldn't be more of an arse, you say it.  The thing most of us sane folks think died out a generation ago, but clearly didn't.  "Boys don't cry," you say, with a whole lotta snark, to your little dude, whose chest is still heaving trying to hold in his tears.  "Don't you cry.  DON'T cry!  Be a big boy."  I want to grab your son, wrap him up in my arms and tell him to let it all out.  Tell him that he will feel so much better after a good long cry and a snuggle.  We all do.  Those of us who are allowed, I guess. 

Unable to help myself... I glare at you.  And then move to the other side of the gym, before words (and possibly blows) are exchanged.

Lady - I am steaming mad at you on behalf of your son, and mine, and generations of men before them who have been told it's not okay to have feelings.

The world is already full enough with men, with their fingers on the buttons of bombs and other lovely forms of world (or on smaller scales, community and household) anhilation, who don't know how to feel because of those kind of crappy messages - please, don't add another one.   


  1. Breaks my heart. I witnessed something similar in the summer. And the little boy who was holding in his tears after being told not to cry was holding his arms up to be picked up and the dad just turned around and walked a few steps away. The little boy could no longer hold it in at that point and just fell to the floor crying. I wanted to pick him up and just hold him.

  2. Oh dear God. This is so, so sad. I want to stay in the bubble. And all the little boys who want to cry can join me there. ps - love your blog, mama T. (j.m.)