The Crying Game


If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m sort of a big pussy. Which is to say that I’ve been to known to cry on occasion.

A bunch of my friends like to goof on me about this, but that’s only because they’re even bigger pussies who are pretty much dead inside. Which is to say that they’re just regular guys.

I haven’t always been such a pussy (although I’ve always been big). In fact, one of the reasons I originally went into therapy 25 years ago was because I couldn’t cry. Men didn’t squirt, I learned from my father, who was sort of a dick. Which is to say that I inherited my pussy-osity from my mom.

Although she was the one I couldn’t cry for. I didn’t shed a tear when she died and thought I was also just being a regular guy at the time, keeping my emotions bottled up, but the truth was that I was petrified to feel the excruciating pain of her loss. Hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars later, the floodgates finally opened up and have never fully closed.

I cry when I’m happy. I cry when I’m sad. I cry when I’m scared. I cry when I’m relieved. I cry when I’m alone. I cry when I’m with women. In fact, women have always been able to make me cry and once or twice, it was even for joy.

My kids, of course, still lead the league in the crying game. It’s a happy cry these days like when they say, “I love you, Dad.” I’ve also cried with them when things weren’t so happy. One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that the people in your heart will make you cry — that’s just the way it works.

Music and movies will also flip the switch, especially when you’ve just found out that you don’t have cancer. I mentioned Kendrick Lamar yesterday and was listening to a Steely Dan playlist last night and totally lost it when I heard these classic lines from “Deacon Blues”:

I cried when I wrote this song

Sue me if I play too long

This brother is free

I’ll be what I want to be

It’s one of my favorite songs and I’ve heard it thousands of times and have never cried once before. How do I explain it? Two words and the first is “big.”

That’s not even the worst of it. The worst of it was when I was watching We Bought a Zoo last night. It’s certainly not Cameron Crowe’s best work, and it also wasn’t Scarlett who made me blubber like a little girl (and why are little girls the go-to metaphor for crying?). There’s one scene where Matt Damon is sitting on the kitchen floor while looking at photos of his dead wife on his laptop that completely set off my sprinkler system. And the ending when he finally takes his children to the place where he first met their beautiful, beloved mother, and Sigur Rós is playing in the background … um, excuse me, I need a moment.

I guess I’ve always been in touch with my feminine side (read: BP), you know, the whole sensitive writer bit, and I’ve always been pretty good at conveying my emotions with words, but sometimes there’s just nothing that compares to a good long cry (and attention all women reading this: I know that you know this well).

And no, Ralph, I don’t have my period.

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