Tuesday, August 5, 2008

BBC - 10 things that make blokes cry

Seems that British men of cool with crying, at least in a few circumstances. Hey, it's progress over the "stiff upper lip" stereotype that British men have acquired.

From the BBC:

10 things that make blokes cry

Michael Vaughan closes his eyes and clamps his lips
An emotional Michael Vaughan

Real men don't cry? Tell that to Michael Vaughan, Gazza, Jeremy Paxman or Mike "The Streets" Skinner. What makes the male tear duct well up?

It is never easy to give up a job you love. But after five years as captain of the England Test cricket team, Michael Vaughan has stepped down after a lack of runs on the pitch.

After a list of thank yous, his voice caught as he paid tribute to his family. Flashbulbs popped as he blinked back tears.

Once a solely private activity, what makes men weep in public?

1. Making parents proud. "I know how proud my mum and dad have been," a visibly overcome Vaughan told the assembled journalists at his resignation press conference. "I spoke to my dad this morning and he said 'you know can walk away a proud lad because you've given it everything' and that's all he ever asked me to do." Anyone else need to dry their own eyes after that?

2. Birth of first child - or grandchild. Now that men are routinely present for this everyday yet momentous event, tears in the birthing room are not uncommon. Not only is this the fruit of a man's loins, the progeny that will carry his name (perhaps), but he has just witnessed his beloved partner undergoing the agonies of childbirth while he stands by, unable to contribute much beyond encouraging words and a toot on the gas and air. The consultant obstetrician who delivered Gordon Brown's son, John, said both the PM and wife Sarah "wept tears of joy" at his birth.

Paxman in Who Do You Think You Are
His great grandmother lost poor relief after having an illegitimate daughter

3. Tribulations of loved one. Newsnight's Jeremy Paxman doesn't do emotion, beyond irritation. But while filming genealogy show Who Do You Think You Are, he welled up on discovering the hardships suffered by his poverty-striken forebears. And blokes don't come much blokier than former Australian prime minister Bob Hawke, who liked to characterise himself as "Australia's mate". But this carapace cracked during a 1985 television interview in which he spoke tearfully about his daughter's drug addiction.

4. Letting a loved one down. Rough, tough Mr Hawke again shed tears on TV in 1989 as he admitted cheating on his wife of 33 years. Playing the "I'm only human" card, he wept as he vowed constancy. He later divorced his wife and married his long-term lover Blanche d'Alpuget. And cried at how beautiful she looked.

5. Saying sorry. It's a hard word to get out. In his resignation speech last May, there was a watery shine in Tony Blair's eyes as he thanked the British people and said "my apologies to you for the times I have fallen short". Bill Clinton, a habitual crier, wept at the White House's annual prayer breakfast in 1998. Held the day the Starr report was released, the then President of the United States told the assembled clerics that he had sinned: "It is important to me that everybody who has been hurt know that the sorrow I feel is genuine."

6. Letting yourself down. Footballer Paul Gascoigne famously welled up after he was booked in the 1990 World Cup. Not only did that yellow card mean he would not be playing in the final, none of his teammates would either, as England was beaten 4-3 by West Germany on penalties.

Mike Skinner in 2004
Mike Skinner's ballad of lost love caught the mood in summer 2004

7. Being dumped. In his hit single Dry Your Eyes, Mike Skinner - aka The Streets - sings of a young man's pain as he tries to persuade his girlfriend not to dump him ("We can even have an open relationship, if you must") and his mate's efforts to bolster a beaten man ("Dry your eyes mate/I know it's hard to take but her mind has been made up"). Released as Portugal sent England crashing out of Euro 2004, it soundtracked thousands of shattered sporting hopes. Which leads us to...

8. Beaten in a hard-fought game. Footballers habitually cry after missing a crucial penalty. Tennis genius Roger Federer, more used to smiling through his tears as he hoists yet another winner's trophy aloft, welled up as he clutched the loser's plate in Wimbledon 2008.

John Terry cries in the rain
Dry your eyes, mate

9. Winning a hard-fought game. After gruelling close encounters with Sharon Osbourne and Simon Cowell, Shayne Ward shed tears as he was named the winner of X Factor 2005. Making a virtue of this, his subsequent hits included I Cry and Some Tears Never Dry. Another to cry a river upon winning was flamboyant snooker player Alex Higgins, who battled his way to win the 1982 World Championship. He wept as he beckoned for his wife and daughter to share in his triumph.

10. These aren't tears. It's just bits of dust.


1 comment:

Ioni - athens, greece said...

hahah loved it...! so much fun to read...and so true at the same time...