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Being A Man

But I Still Cry And Get Upset

By Mike Singleton - MikeydredPublished 3 years ago Updated 3 years ago 4 min read
18
Men Don't Cry

I was born in the fifties and brought up in an environment where misogyny and racism were the norm and very acceptable , practiced on a daily basis. Growing up I cannot remember any non white kids in primary or secondary school , maybe that’s selective memory, but looking back that is really strange.

I went to a Grammar School run by Jesuit priests so there may have been some kind of screening.

Men worked and brought in the money and women had kids and did the housework , and that’s all they were good for.

This never sat easy with me , and I loved it when my mum took a part time job and got some independence. My dad was encouraging but some of his friends were dismissive of women doing anything but the most menial things.

As a kid if I was hurt and cried I was told to act like a man, and not cry , because only girls cried. I once dreamed my dad had died and was in floods of tears , and my brother told everyone which made me a laughing stock, but really I wasn't too bothered., crying was better than trying to bottle things up, but it made peers question my manhood.

I was frequently lambasted because I read and real men didn’t do that, but again I enjoyed reading and put up with the continual insults. I was expected to do well and school (so needed to read) , but was continually ribbed about it.

One of my girlfriends said I Wasn't a real man because I never beat her or hit her. Her previous boyfriends had and she knew where she stood with them . I thought being caring and loving made it clear where she was with me , but apparently not. That didn’t last, and many girls would not go out with me because they could talk with me, and you could not talk with a real man, so again I felt less than a man in their eyes, but always was there when they needed a hug , or a shoulder to cry on.

This has continued through my whole life, I am always there for those who need help ,and luckily I have people I can go to when I need help.

Again asking for help or confiding in someone is seen as “unmanly” but if you don’t do that you run the risk of becoming extremely down or even depressed. I often say to people , “You are the most important person in your life. If you are not 100% you cannot be there for those who need you”.

As I left school I became friends with many nationalities , one my fave was a friend’s sister's Pakistani boyfriend who used to always go mad at me for not noticing his suntan, to which I replied he always looked suntanned to me. My friends are very cosmopolitan now, but I often have to stand up for them when I confront racists. I hope that makes me a man.

I was there at the birth of my daughters and shared nappy changing , bathing , and teaching them to read before Primary school and they have both become incredible cosmopolitan daughters, and one made me a grandfather.

In the last ten years I have been in an environment where if men came out as gay they were denigrated , requiring me to step in and put people right. I am heterosexual , but will always step in and defend the spectrum of none straight gender definitions ,and feel that helps define me as a man.

Being a man is hard for me to define , I am not strong and silent though I may give that impression. I am there for all my friends and believe they are there for me and that is what makes me the man I am.

In conclusion , just because you are brought up in a racist , misogynist , homophobic or otherwise discriminatory environment, especially in these times you need to realise that these things are wrong and make sure you do not do these and call out others who still continue with these attitudes.

I have been bullied , denigrated for being fat , old , white , male , diabetic ,supporting LGBT and often had no one to immediately talk to about it and gain comfort from. Organisations like Andy’s Man Club can help with that , and these days I do have a great circle of friends and supportive discussion groups at work, so I am never far from help.

There are still times when my lifetime conditioning tells me I should not get upset , or cry because I am a man , so I just do that alone.

The song I am going to lead with is the darkly comic “The Man Who Couldn’t Cry” by Loudon Wainwright III which is how some of you may see me.

Humanity
18

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Mike Singleton - Mikeydred

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  • Dana Crandellabout a year ago

    We share a lot of the same traits, and it would seem, some childhood experiences, too. I enjoyed the read!

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