Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tears

The other night my wife for life Susan and I watched the latest movie we got from Netflix. I'm terrible about remembering these things. I had to look it up just now to see exactly what the title of it was. I'm thinking it was a movie called Rosenstrasse--although it could have been Ladies in Lavender with Dame Judy Dench. I don't remember. Rossenstrasse a German movie about the resistance of righteous gentiles to the rounding up of the Jews. In this case, it was a fair-sized group of spouses of Jews in Berlin in 1943. But that's beside the point I was going to make. Which is: the movie made me cry.

Tears are on my mind today. For a couple of reasons. We're headed to a funeral next Monday--see my last couple of entries--and I'm sure there will be tears. I don't know if any of them will be mine, although I'm often moved to tears by the tears of others. But what really makes me think of tears is the plethora of them I shed yesterday when for about an hour I thought I had lost my little dog. Some nice people found and returned her, but for a while there I thought she was really gone. Yes, I know it seems ridiculous looking at it on the page now, but I couldn't help it. This raises all kinds of questions, such as how can one get so attached to an animal? And how can one be so devastated by the loss of a pet? And the really big question that occurs to me: why am I making such a big deal about this?

Because it's on my mind. My little granddaughter saw me cry, and my daughter, although it's not the first time for her. Men are not supposed to cry. That's why. Despite all the inroads that have been made in our understanding of men thanks to the ongoing liberation of women, men are still not supposed to cry. And especially at something as inconsequential as the momentary loss of a dog. Yeah, yeah . . . I know about all the dismissals you could make of such a statement, but that doesn't change the fact that this is what I think about it. And I even know why. Like bazillions of others, I was brought up not cry. Men, make that boys, the world over are socialized to stuff their emotions, especially those emotions that bring on tears. This strikes me as bizarre and unnatural, but who am I do try and undo millenia of male formation that whipers in our psyches "crying is for sissies and weaklings"?

This can't be right. But there it is.
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