Learn to Bawl with the Best of Them “Little Boys” and Big Boys, Alike!
We just got done renting and watching the movie “Little Boy.”
If you haven’t seen it, you must! It’s a movie that recently came out, and has been fairly quiet as far as publicity goes, but I’m so glad we found it, despite its being cloaked in obscurity, because it was fantastic!
It’s a lovely tale, both script-wise and cinematically, that’s centered on a little boy who teaches us the power of unwavering faith, whether it’s in a deity, a concept, someone we revere, or even in our own strength. The moral, in a nutshell; it takes courage to believe.
I won’t give any major plot points away, but I do feel compelled to warn you that this is a “half a box of tissue” kind of film. There’s something about sweet little kids in anguish that rips my heart out of my chest and slams it on the table. And you know what, folks? That really stings!
This flick is worth the pain, though.
The four of us were watching it together because we were on vacation in Colorado for the week, which I’ll fill you in on come Monday, and it was my turn to pick what we would do that evening. No ziplining, wild-kingdom-mountain-hiking tomfoolery for me! No sir. Or ma’am. I wanted to wind down in our hotel suite after a long day of adventures and just sit and watch a movie together. It’s hard to choose a movie that all four of us will like, but this one seemed at least acceptable.
Photo courtesy of: CFDB
I’ll be darned, though, if halfway into it I wasn’t sobbin’ and snifflin’ up a storm to the point where I was forced to breathe out of my mouth to avoid drowning out the soundtrack with all of my snuffling. Once, I even snort-gasped, ending in a full-on horse lip shudder despite my best efforts to rein in my emotions. I guess that’s where the phrase “all choked up” comes from. Snort-gasps. I’m sure if I had had a mirror handy, I would have seen myself sporting a red and swollen schnoz, red-rimmed mouth, puffy, bloodshot eyes, and mascara rivulets running down my cheeks.
Glam look, for sure.
Anyway, it was at that moment when I happened to notice my guys around me.
My husband, Jame, was apparently as dry as the Sahara and incredibly bored simultaneously because he was completely focused on squeezing every single drop of water out of the plastic bottle in his hand like it was his last chance at salvation, coupled, alternately, with squinting out the window every twelve seconds at a whole lot of nothing. Spence was staring straight ahead, but his arms were wrapped around himself as if tucked securely into a straight jacket. And Logan was paying an ungodly amount of attention to an innocent freckle on his left forearm, scratching and picking at that poor, beleaguered spot until it actually became something to pay attention to.
From time to time each of them would turn to observe my emotional snort-gasping waterworks display with wondrous, dry-eyed stares as if they were witnessing a cow giving birth to a monkey.
The movie concluded, and I blew my nose with fervor. Then I looked around at the dry-eyed blinkers and exclaimed, “Are you kidding me? I’m the only one who felt anything? That was a freaking tearjerker, man! How could you cold-hearted zombies not be moved by that movie?”
And then the truth came gushing out.
“Oh, please, Mom! I might not have been crying on the outside, but I was bawling like a baby on the inside!” Spence proclaimed as he jumped up and gave me a bear hug.
Then Jame chimed in with, “Are you kidding me? I was wiping the tears away every two seconds.”
And yet, he wasn’t. I know because I was sitting slightly behind him watching him, aghast at his lack of emotion. I’m sure he thinks he was outwardly weeping, but he truly wasn’t. I believe he was replacing his desire to sob with the bottle/window exercise. Manly distraction at any cost, you know. (WARNING: amateur, potentially bogus psychoanalysis in progress.)
Logan didn’t reply, but merely stared transfixedly at the giant red blotch he had created on his arm.
These silly physical actions, I would suggest, take place because it’s so unacceptable for guys to cry in front of others. Even family, apparently. “Buck up and face it like a man,” seems to still be the order of the day.
But why is that? It doesn’t have to be that way, does it? Guys certainly feel emotions like heartbreak and sadness just like girls and women, and there’s no reason other than outdated societal norms for them to have to bury their emotions in the bottom of an empty water bottle or transfer their pent up emotions on to an unfortunate forearm freckle.
Wouldn’t it be great if they were to liberate themselves and openly sob at a particularly touching scene in a movie or on TV; A Hallmark commercial comes on, the one where the dad dances with the daughter at her wedding and says, “You’ll always be my little girl,” and the guys join us women in smiling through our tears, dabbing at our eyes? It would be especially touching in an emotional real life scenario, wouldn’t it?
Listen up, guys, it’s okay to feel sad or sappy. To empathize and emote. It’s okay to shed some public tears.
To help that idea along, here’s my plan.
I’m going to give my guys lessons! Semi-private lessons.
Next week I think I’ll bribe them with ice cold pop and bowls of fresh, buttered popcorn and then lock them away in a room with me to watch a triple feature of “The Fault in Our Stars”, “Sophie’s Choice,” and “Steel Magnolias” while secretly pumping Spanish onion fumes into the room.
By hook or by crook, I’m gonna teach my stoic guys first to cry and then to snort gasp with the best of them!
After all, they’ll have great training material, and a fantastic bawling teacher.
Take this quote from Shelby’s mom, M’Lynn, in Steel Magnolias right after she passes away:
I find it amusing. Men are supposed to be made out of steel or something. I just sat there. I just held Shelby’s hand. There was no noise, no tremble, just peace. Oh god. I realize as a woman how lucky I am. I was there when that wonderful creature drifted into my life and I was there when she drifted out. It was the most precious moment of my life.”
Shelby, Shelby, Shelby!
Hey . . . are you dabbing at your eyes?
Cover photo courtesy of: awareparenting.com