My friend Wendy recently went on an impromptu date with a man that she had been in communication with from Plenty of Fish, a dating website. As usual, we spent several days obsessing over the date and the possibility that he would be good for his word and call her for a second date this next Saturday.
This female bonding session is one of the best parts of the date. I believe we have so much fun and release so much oxytocin from our strategic chats that it is well worth the date no matter who it is. I have decided to get some pretend boyfriends as well to add some zest to our bonding sessions. My husband, John, is a pretty tolerant guy and has agreed as long as it is pretend. Wendy really seemed to like this guy, Michael, and her anxiety about the date was not just play.
“He said he cried at ‘Marley and Me’.” Wendy said
“He told you that? That is pathetic.” I said
“No it isn’t. It’s great. I didn’t even see ‘Marley and Me’ because I was afraid I would bawl. It was too sad.” She said
“Well I didn’t see ‘Marley and Me’. I wonder if I would have cried.” I said “I don’t think I have ever seen John cry.”
“Not even when his father died? “ Wendy sounded surprised.
“No. I don’t remember him every really crying. I think he might have cried when I widened the driveway. He came home after midnight and started crying that I ruined the look of the house.”
I asked Wendy’s and my mutual male friend, Snarky, what he thought of all of this.
“Well ‘Marley and Me’ was pretty sad but you know I think that maybe this guy was just trying to uh you know.” Snarky sputtered
“What? I didn’t see the movie.” I said
“I think he was just trying to say something that would…you know that would…” Snarky was very embarrassed
“You mean you think he was trying get into her into bed?” I said “Well she only went to dinner. It did not even come up.”
Perhaps Michael was trying to impress Wendy with his sensitivity. Why is it so taboo for men to cry? I was recently with a hypnotist that recounted a story of a session with a tough ex- marine Vietnam Vet. She said his eyes started to tear during hypnosis while reliving a childhood experience. He said he was having congestion in his eyes. The hypnotist surmised that he was crying but had no idea that that is what the water was in his eyes.
Is crying used as a manipulative tactic? Yes. I think it is…often. I personally had the experience of having a politician ex lover tear up over my politics. He was an aid to a popular Democratic Senator at the time. I was a senior in a very liberal College and told him that I might rebel from my historically Democratic parents and upbringing to become a Republican. These were my rebellious college years. This man had tears, real tears, in his eyes about my decision. He shed not a tear when we broke up. I was inconsolable. Upon my graduation, he referred me to his friend in Arlen Specter’s office for a job opportunity. I have now become much more pragmatic in my approach to politics and realize it is show business like anything else.
This is why the stories of Glenn Beck’s tears on air revolt me so. Tears of emotion like these are so easy to fabricate and seem to be disingenuous. I went to the High School of Performing Arts for Drama and am perhaps more adept at spotting the inauthentic. I do find it fascinating to watch. However, since Wendy also went to my High School, and is also a therapist, I think it is safe to say that she would have picked up on any play from her date, Michael. Who knows? We all like a fantasy.
Previously Published on Open Salon Under Snarkychaser August 30,2010