I recently ran into a conversation where a man lost his Dad (over 90 years old), and the conversation somehow veered towards crying when one loses a loved one . The impropriety or otherwise, as a man.
This topic came up for discussion when somebody, in congratulating the bereaved one said,
Eleyi kii se òkú òfo. Na to dey rejoice o, omo olooku a baja lọrun .
This death is not something to mourn over. Papa lived to a ripe old age. Congratulations, dear bereaved
Of course there were two schools of thought .. the one who believe there is nothing wrong in a man shedding years (for whatever reason), and the machismo ones who feel, men don’t cry .
Well, I haven’t cried since primary school days (those days of abundant corporal punishment), and I have certainly had very painful loses that others would cry over.
Here are the contending points of view.
Lachrymal: If you have ever lost a dear one, then the age of the departed one does not necessarily take away the emotion of the loss. My father passed on 4 years ago at a relatively matured age, but I still shed tears today, when I remember him.
Plato: I also lost mine years ago. Over 90. We were told to dance and not cry. I didn’t cry but didn’t rejoice either.
Lachrymal: I am sure you must have shed some tears in your closet, or maybe you are as hard and tough as stone
Plato: Men don’t cry na. No, I didn’t cry, whether privately or publicly, although I still miss the old man direly till today.
Lachrymal:: Mean men don’t cry..they live in pretense and soak all emotion in. You were my friend back then, and I hope tone has not hardened you o.
Anyway, some that did not have close contact with their loved ones might not know the joy of tears at their departure.
Many could cry in the coming years for their departed househelps and nannies, and even pets, because they bonded with them, while they would feel nothing at the departure of their parents, because the parents were never there.
Plato: That you don’t cry doesn’t imply you never had a close bond with the departed ones o. I think it’s more a matter of personal constitution. Your make-up
Lachrymal: Don’t get me wrong. What I am saying is,when there is true bonding, there is a sense of loss; we can have expression in diverse ways.. shedding tears is one. I am just saying that, where there is no bonding, there is no strong sense of loss.
I feel that ‘not crying,’ is not necessarily an indication of strength or being a man or ‘crying’ an indication of being a weakling.. man, in this case. I also understand that tears can be therapeutic… So if your constitution leans towards that, don’t fight it back in the name of ‘man no dey cry.’
Plato: I disagree o. I feel there is strength in controlling your emotions as a man all right. Sorrow, anger, lust, etc…these are all emotions. Having a proper handle on these is what differentiates us as humans from animals.
Stoicism when a bereaved one passes on doesn’t necessarily indicate no sense of loss, although it MAY do.
So, what’s your take? How different is the uncontrolled exhibition of anger (an emotion like sorrow) from what we are talking about?
Can we say a man who cannot control his sorrow, crying when he loses a loved one, shredding tears, would be able to control his anger or some other strong emotions (like greed) or lust?
Mean men don’t cry, but REAL men do!