October 25, 2012
For today’s Vintage Frog Lore post, I’m letting my rational, yet oh so sensitive side hang out…again. In March of 2010 myself and the lovely ladies of Met Another Frog spent a whole month discussing men, and for one week during that month we discussed men and their feelings. The following was my contribution to the mix…
Do men have feelings? The question is so ridiculous that it doesn’t warrant an answer. Ignore all the talk of how men are socialized (though it is a factor in how men do or do not express their emotions) and disregard suggestions that men need to express themselves more openly (that’s woman speak for “like us”). The simple fact is that the question I started this paragraph with is one that no man would ever ask. Why? Because the answer is evident in everything every man says or does. (Come to think of it, if I’m consoling one of my boys over some heartbreak or emotional turmoil a question that never gets asked is “How do you feel?” Because if it’s a shitty emotional situation, I know what it feels like.)
“I don’t react to a tragic happening any more. I took so many bad things as a kid and some people think I don’t care about anything. It’s just too hard for me to get emotional. I can’t cry no more.”
But where does this idea come from. This thought that men are not sensitive or in touch with their emotions? I don’t have all the answers, but I do have one. I alluded to it in my intro to Man Month and it was there for all to see in Elizabeth Rose’s All Men Are Bastards. For whatever reason our society thinks emotions are the exclusive terrain of the female gender. Not surprisingly, most women cannot take an honest appraisal of these things and don’t seem to realize that men express what they think and feel all the time.
When faced with a situation fraught with emotions, women think the only valid responses are their own. I refer to this as the “all about me” syndrome, exemplified by the fact that during a week ostensibly about men’s emotional response, Elizabeth Rose ended up writing about her own emotional response. (I wonder if it’s occurred to my dear friend that Finn’s actions could be a direct result of him being hurt by the “on again, off again” nature of their relationship? That maybe he was so hurt that he intentionally brought a new woman around? I’m not sayin’, but I’m sayin’).
“No one gives a fuck about me. No one cares…”
Therein lies the rub. There are certain responses that our culture deems as “emotional”. But from my point of view, any reaction, any response in a given situation can be emotional. If a man finds out his woman is cheating and cries is that more emotional than the man who goes to the bar and drowns his sorrow in booze? No. It’s just different (Take an athlete who is cool under pressure. It’s not that he doesn’t feel pressure. He just responds differently than the athlete who loses their nerve.)
“I don’t feel love from them because there’s no love.”
I’ve never known a man that wasn’t emotional or sensitive. Men say and do things that betray their emotions all the time (i.e. bringing a new woman to your “on again, off again” lover’s favourite pub). Some people implode, some explode. Only sociopaths feel nothing.
“It’s just what I said before, everybody in this country is a big f**king liar. [The media] tells people … that this person did this and this person did that and then we find out that we’re just human and we find out that Michael Jordan cheats on his wife just like everybody else and that we all cheat on our f**king wife in one way or another either emotionally, physically or sexually or one way.”
Growing up, I found Mike Tyson to be the most fascinating athlete to watch. He was the baddest man on the planet. He was powerful, strong. He was intimidating. He made his living beating the shit out of other men, most of whom were bigger than he was. He was also the most sensitive athlete I’d ever seen.
Good old Iron Mike uttered all of the quotes peppered throughout this piece. You might think him a miscreant, a thug, a violent man with no redeemable qualities. You might be right. But if you look closely at all his actions, whether or not they are despicable, you’ll see they bear the hallmarks of an extremely sensitive human being.
Do men have feelings? I’ll let Mike answer that one:
“My biggest weakness is my sensitivity. I am too sensitive a person.”