Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Boys don't cry

This morning in the metro, I saw a man walkinging up the escalator crying. It was very subtle and it lasted a few seconds but it moved me a lot. He was about 40. An average looking man. I saw him wipe his eyes with a tissue, and his eyes were red, and then he took a deep breath and suddenly I saw the little boy in him. The little boy he must have been once, in the school playground, wiping his eyes with the back of his sleeve and taking a deep breath thinking to himself: I'm a big boy, I'm not gonna cry in front of them. That's how he probably was then, and that's how he was this morning, in the metro, taking a deep breath and hiding his tears where no one could see them. I wondered what made him cry. I thought maybe his mother was sick or he had just learnt that someone he cares for died, or maybe his wife had just left him. It must have been something big because men don't cry in public, and especially not for small things. That's how it is. Boys don't cry.

I remember this song from The Cure, that my sister Aurélie used to listen to when I was a child. She was a huge fan of The Cure and they rocked her entire teenagehood like no other group. She even met Robert Smith several times when he came to Paris, waiting for hours in front of his hotel with her friend, and finally got a chance to spend an evening - in all innocence (at least that's what appeared) - with him and the band, drinking and probably smoking stuff, bringing back home the coveted treasure: an autograph with her name on it (and even mine once! but I lost it...) signed by his hand, his name preceded by a golden "love". This is one of the first songs I remember by The Cure, and one of the first real sentences I've learnt in English after the usual "cat", "mouse", "good morning", "good night" and other good words.
Boys don't cry. This phrase got stuck in my mind as a unconditional truth and a verified reality: boys never seemed to cry.

Picture by Robert Doisneau

And this morning, when I saw this man as I was walking down the escalator while he was walking up on other one, I felt touched because yes, it is true, men have to be strong, they have to swallow their fears and tears and pains because that's what everybody expect them to do and those who don't do it are considered weak. I was looking at this man and, seeing the little boy in him, I felt really sad thinking of all the times he must have wanted to cry as a child but could not and had to find a way to get over it and move on, or fight back. And still today it was the same. Because boys don't cry. They just don't. And still they give us women their shoulders to cry on because that's what we need. Do we give them the same? Would it be so bad if boys cried?


Madame chocolat said...

Très beau billet... j'ai deux garçons à qui je dis que ça fait du bien de pleurer en cas de coup durs, juste de laisser aller.

Anabelle said...

Merci! Je viens de visiter ton blog et je me sens pleine de soleil et de douceur... tu es magique!

I'm Polly said...

It's sad and beautiful when men cry

I remember the song from my week in France as a girl staying with my exchange, she loved them! Don't think I'd heard them really back home (UK), she was cooler than me!

Anabelle said...

Polly, I thought they were huge in the UK too... In France they were quite famous.