It's not unusual to have never seen your dad cry. They're fortresses of steel, dads; the only thing that will get them going is weird, unimportant stuff, like a sick terrier pulling through or their team winning a championship. When it comes to showing actual emotion, though, the majority of them clam up. It's not their fault—for years society has demanded that men be masculine and stoic and never express their feelings—but it's also definitely not a good thing. Men in Britain are half as likely to go to their doctor for depression and one and a half times more likely to die from suicide. However, things have slowly begun to change.
A new survey has shown that the modern man is now three times more likely to cry in public than his father did. The average male Brit has sobbed in front of other people 14 times in his adult life, says the report, and about 30 times a year behind closed doors. That's quite a lot. Psychologist Donna Dawson, who led the study of 2,000 Brits, concluded it's because modern men face much less social pressure than their fathers did to maintain their composure in public.
It would seem that the stiff upper lip is starting to wobble, so we had a walk around London and chatted to some men about it.
I cried last night. I was stressed out, and family dramas got on top of me. When I've had a few drinks, I cry a lot. It's always stress and family stuff that hits home. My dad never cried; I'm very different in that way. I saw him cry at my sister's wedding. My other half has only cried twice in the seven years we've been together. He cried once when I dumped him when I was angry, and he cried again when his dad passed away. At that time, none of the male members of his family cried—none of his brothers. I don't think it's a taboo any more, at all. Crying is a release.
The last time I cried was when my friend passed away. That was 2009. Apart from that I've had, like, one tear now and again, but never actually full-on bawling. I could only cry about things going on in the world—real life. I have empathy for crises, people dying, stuff like that. If you look at stats, a lot men do suffer from depression and they don't speak about it, as it's not the manly thing to do. But I think it's needed—it's needed to flush out those pains, instead of bottling up.
I haven't felt the need to cry since my last breakup a couple of years ago, so I've not had to suppress it. Nothing has happened to me where I've felt the need to cry. Except when cutting onions—that happens quite a lot. I'm just generally a very rational person, and if I get upset, I get upset in a mentally-stressed kind of way. I think it through internally. It's not something where I feel that I have an emotion that I need to let out by crying. I definitely can't remember a time when my dad cried. He certainly wouldn't in front of me. In the same way, I can't remember a time when one of my male friends has cried in front of me.
I cried last week. I don't cry that much, but more than the average man. It was probably over something silly, but often it'd be stress or family issues. I'd never cry over movies or TV. That's not a real life issue. I feel a mix of anger and embarrassment before I'm about to [cry]. I don't have an issue with crying in public, which is probably a modern attitude toward it. There's no way my father's generation would do that. My dad was ill with cancer and would cry quite a bit during that period. It was probably medicine and the fact he had the cancer. Basically, I'm good with myself crying, but I'm not so good with other men crying. I do find that awkward—more than if it were a female friend. But I'll give them a helping hand all the same.
I literally don't cry. I went to a funeral like two years ago, and I tried to cry. I tried so hard, but I didn't. It doesn't hit home for me as fast as everyone else. I get emotional, sure. I think about things, but I don't cry. I think I just reflect on things. I get somber and think about things in a different way, or try to show some type of empathy for what's going on without tearing up. I think my girlfriend gets mad at me because she feels like I don't show emotions enough. But I've read something that says crying isn't the only way to show emotions. Before that, I felt like there was something wrong with me. I think guys are starting to feel like they can cry a bit more—the rise of the metrosexual man.
It's been a few months since I last cried. It may have been a film or song; I get pretty into them, and they trigger something on occasion. I probably don't cry enough, to be honest. I don't really have an emotional release to go to instead of that. I think when men cry they're really letting it out; they're not pretending to be something they're not, so I appreciate it. It's definitely still a taboo, but I guess progress has been made.
Follow Hannah on Twitter.