A Defense of the Right to Cry Over a Man
You know how we tell ourselves that we’ll be strong? That we don’t need a man, so of course we’ll never cry over one. Sure, maybe we’d cried over a guy in the past, but that was then; we were young and dumb and we’ve grown now, know better. “No man is worth my tears,” we tell ourselves. And it’s true; they’re not.
Doesn’t mean it won’t happen anyway, though.
Doesn’t mean that there won’t come a time when we’ve met a guy who just seems so different (and that’s always the case, isn’t it? He’s different. He’s not. He never is.) that somehow, we find ourselves shedding tears over him. Because he wasn’t different, because he said no, because things didn’t work out, or, god forbid, because you just know he doesn’t think of you that way and never will and you just don’t want to ruin the friendship.
Guess which one I am.
For me, it’s less the man and more the loneliness. I just (just meaning 3 months ago) moved to a new town, and I haven’t made any friends yet. Don’t know how. And so all I have is this idea of a man –and he’s really more of an idea to me than anything else—which just seems to amplify how alone I am in this new place. I have no friends and the guy I like barely acknowledges my existence.
It’s easier to harp on the guy thing than actually try and make friends, and so I blow it out of proportion. I like him, of that I’m sure. I’ve liked him since before I moved here, since before the loneliness sank in. But lack of friendship is a hard feeling to conceptualize, as there’s not really a common word for it. Unrequited love (or like, in this case. Let’s not get too crazy, here) however, is a feeling acknowledged and immortalized in song, poetry, prose, and film. It’s easier to figure out, to acknowledge. Plus, there’s just the stigma of being lonely. It conjures either images of either horney spinsters or crazy cat ladies (the two stereotypes are not mutually exclusive, yet we as a society act like they are, since we like to pretend that the crazy cat lady stereotype is sexless and repulsive), neither of which is something we want to think of ourselves. These images also tend to revolve around the lack of a romantic partner, so it’s hard to use the word lonely and realize it means a lack of platonic companionship.
And so, given my generally emotional nature, I have shed tears over a man who does not like me, and who does not know I like him. I have shed tears thinking about how much it hurts to have unreciprocated romantic feelings towards another human. But I’ve also shed tears because I am a twenty something adult living alone in a new city for the first time, completely unprepared for the task of finding friends in a place without school to help pave the path.
So, though we should tell ourselves that we are strong and don’t need romantic partners, we also have to recognize crying, over a specific person or over general loneliness, is probably going to happen. It sucks, it’s miserable, and it makes our eyes puffy the next morning, but it’s going to happen. It’s cathartic. It’s the first step of letting go of feelings that aren’t going to be returned, or of acknowledging that it’s time to go out and make some friends. It’s human, corny as that sounds. And, for me, at least, it’s a sign. A sign that I have to let go of him, because it’s never going to happen—another acknowledgement that hurts. But there you go. Tears for a guy should only come at the end.