Can a Hero have Tears…

..without looking like a clown?

As I’ve mentioned before, I live with my husband (Surfer Guy) and Son1 and Son2 and their many male companions who toss balls, leave wet towels on the pool deck, and go through as many drinking glasses in a day as I have pairs of shoes (A LOT). Whenever I watch a dramatic movie, a pivotal sports event, and yes, even a sentimental commercial, they will turn to me as one, and in the same incredulous tone ask, “Are you crying?”

Yes! Yes, I’m crying!

We’ve just come off that particularly emotional graduation/end-of-school-year season. I feel the sting of Pavlov tears the instant I hear the opening bars to Green Day’s “I Hope You’ve Had the Time of Your Life.” And there’s my oh-so-helpful XY buddies peering at me with that funny little smile of theirs. “Are you crying?”

Yes! Yes, I’m crying!

(Surfer Guy puts together a group from his AP Calculus class every year for Battle of the Bands right before graduation. I confess that hearing them play “Build Me Up Buttercup” had me sniffling, so it’s not just the song itself, but the ending that it represents.)

So maybe it’s the fault of all that incredulity or those little smiles that I gave a few tears to the guy in the book I’m writing. He has a reason to be emotional. He’s been holding back feeling things for years. And maybe I like to believe that sometimes a man can get a lump in his throat and wet eyelashes and not lose an ounce of his masculinity. So…

Yes! Yes, he’s crying!

Do the men in your life ever shed a tear? Are you turned off by a hero in a romance novel who does? One lucky commenter will win an autographed copy of a Christie Ridgway book.
P.S. I’m afraid of clowns. You?

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25 Responses to Can a Hero have Tears…

  1. Virginia C said… My grandfather was my hero–the light of my life. He didn't often show emotion, but he showed that he cared by the way he protected us and provided for us. My mom and dad were only married for a short time. She left him and moved back home with her parents, with whom we remained until they passed away. Mom didn't remarry until I was a sophmore in high school. My stepfather was a wonderful, kind man who passed away less than a year after he and Mom were married. Standing beside my grandfather at the graveside service, I realized that he was crying. First time I ever saw "Paw Paw" cry. Years later, we had to have one of our dogs put to sleep. This dog had been Paw Paw's pet. He and I cried together all the way home from the vet's office. Yes, heroes can cry, and they will be the better man for having a caring heart. My hero cried, and he was the best man I've ever known.

  2. My apologies to Virginia C above. We had a mixup and I took down my post from yesterday and put it back up today. Her comment looks like it comes from me. But it's her "Paw Paw" who sounds like a wonderful, wonderful man.

  3. lois greiman says:

    Okay, first of all, I've been deemed to be the least romantic person on the planet…strange, yes, since I write romance. That said, my husband will often get more teary at movies than I. However, I did cry at Toy Story. But then, he LEFT his toys…his friends. How isn't that heartbreaking??

  4. Leanne says:

    I'm the reason for the mix-up on the posts! Again, I'm sorry Christie!!! About men crying, my father was more likely to cry than my mom. My father cried when I sang solos, at graduations and weddings of his children and grandchildren. I'm totally okay with a hero shedding a few tears…

  5. A friend recently told me that her he-man husband always cries during the Star Spangled Banner. I often get choked up then too!

  6. Keri Ford says:

    oh, Lois, I got teary in TS3, too. I've seen DH tear up once. and it was so silly (IMO). DH had never really traveled beyond the state, Arkansas, when we met. and he'd certainly never taken a trip without his partents or his family. First trip we took together, we're driving away and he's swiping at his eyes. I look at him and say it, "Are You Crying??":)it was such a shock to me. my parents divorced when I was a toddler, my dad moving some 15 hours away, so I was used to leaving.

  7. krisgils33 says:

    I just finished a book where the hero cried twice. It made me sort of uncomfortable. I don't know if it was because I read thousands of books and the heroes never cry, or that I just felt a manly man wouldn't do such a thing. If the scene is emotionally charged enough and it warrants some tears, then I think it would be okay.

  8. YES! Someone else shares the same phenomenom as me! My male troops all turn to me when there is obviously a touching moment in a show (at least they are emotionally in-tune to recognize an emotional moment), and say "Mom, are you crying?".And yes, make those heroes cry…..if done right, for the right reason, right moment, who doesn't feel a tug when a man cries?Lisa McManus Lange

  9. catslady says:

    My husband mostly shows tears on anything military – he watches a lot of the history channel and is a veteran of the Viet Nam war. And when we've had animals pass away. Unfortunately I think most men(boys) have been taught to suck it up. Hopefully there's not as much of that in today's world. I don't think I'd be turned off in a novel if there was reason – usually they get misty eyed and not all out sobs lol.

  10. Laura says:

    I like when heroes cry.

  11. Betina Krahn says:

    I saw my dad cry three times i his life. Once when his mother died, another time when MY mother (his wife) forgot him due to Alzheimer's, and one other time when he was very sick and just not coping well with it. Otherwise, no tears. But hubby let loose a few tears occasionally– especially watching Field Of Dreams. Any guy with father issues (and what guy doesn't have them?)has to shed one or two at that movie. And my boys have both cried at various times. . . starting early on. I take it as a sign of being in tune with their feminine side. They're both fairly emotional guys, even though they show it differently.And my beloved Pool Boy– he's very romantic and fairly emotional at times. Probably moreso than me! Sappy movies. Father's Day cards from the kids. Thoughts of grandchildren. Special achievements of the kids. . . he's so sweet. And it never once crosses my mind to think a man shouldn't cry or is weaker because of it.I used to cry more than I do now. . . mostly in church, for some reason. But I never think of women's tears as weak, why would I think of a man's tears as a sign of weakness?Hero's tears are a special blessing!

  12. Sydnee says:

    I think male heroes are made sexier by a few tears, a sniffle, and a throat full of phlegm. I'm sure I'd be turned off by a man breaking down into a gigantic sobbing fit complete with snot, though, unless his mom just died or something (and I'm talking about in books – it's a different story in real life). Then he's excused. But I don't want the author to focus too long on it. Come on, give the man some privacy!I've never seen my father cry. My brother, on the other hand, has gotten close more times than I can count because he's so quick to anger, and then his eyes get misty with indignation.

  13. Oh, I confess I'm getting a bit tight-throated over these stories of men getting teary. (Keri, I think that is absolutely adorable of your dh.)Sydnee: I hadn't thought of a man getting eyes "misty with indignation." I'll have to remember that.

  14. robynl says:

    Dh does cry when watching TV, movies and when we had to put our 2 furbabies down. He is an emotional guy every so often. He even tears up when watching Extreme Home Makeover.A hero should cry when warranted; nothing wrong with that.

  15. runner10 says:

    Great post.The men in my life rarely cry. Boy, when they do, it really breaks my heart.Christie's book sounds great.

  16. LSUReader says:

    Christie–No, the men in my life don't cry.No, I am not turned off by men who do cry.No, I'm not afraid of clowns. I do, however, love the song, Build Me Up Buttercup." Enjoyed your post. Thanks.

  17. I'm still thinking about this men not crying thing. I mean, do they just not let themselves go there?And I'm laughing at myself, because my latest book, CRUSH ON YOU, has a heroine who cries easily. So maybe that's why I gave the hero a few tears in this next book.I also tear up at Extreme Home Makeover…and Say Yes to the Dress, and any # of things.Surfer Guy was really torn up when we had to put our yellow lab to sleep 2 years ago…but he didn't cry in front of me. Maybe in the car in the parking lot at the vet's? (He wanted to spare the rest of us so did it alone.)

  18. KylieBrant says:

    Two of my four sons were emotional types when they were growing up. There were tears (mostly over nothing important) daily until they were twelve. Both would be most likely to shed a tear now whereas the other two would look at them askance and say, "Are you crying???"I think of Linda Howard's Sarah's Child when the hero (who lost his wife and children and wanted no more kids) holds his new baby for the first time and cries. I get teary just thinking of that scene. Definitely, a hero can cry!

  19. Great post, Christie!I cry over commercials! My DH is Sicillian, so there's lots of emotion there. He cried when both of our children were born. =)

  20. Maureen, that is SO romantic that he cried when your kids were born. Maybe men would cry more if they knew how much it touched us.

  21. Jane says:

    I haven't seen many men cry. I think my cousin got a little misty when he was having marital problems.

  22. karenk says:

    i love a man who can openly shed a tear karenkkmkuka at yahoo dot com

  23. cories says:

    I think my boyfriend cries more than I do, but that may be due to my not being as in touch with my feelings or something. It really depends on the situation. Toy Story 3, when Andy has to decide whether to let Bonnie have Woody, made me and my boyfriend cry. Sometimes a lot of pain or emotion comes up and since there is nothing else we can do, we cry. This goes for men and women.By the way, did anyone else scream, "Totoro!" during Toy Story 3? Or just me and kids who have watched the Japanese movie, "My Neighbor Totoro"?cories119 [at] yahoo [dot] com

  24. Hon, I can cry at the drop of a hat!! My husband doesn't cry. I think a hero in a romance novel only shows he's human if he cries. Not afraid of clowns.mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

  25. Laurie says:

    My husband cried when our daughter was married 3 years ago, when his brother died 15 years ago and at his mother's funeral 3 years ago. He also cried when our oldest child was born 27 years ago.I have 3 sons. They cried at their grandmother's funeral. The youngest is the most emotional. He will cry when we watch sad movies like Braveheart and Gladiator.

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