Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Big Boys DO Cry

Like millions of others (a record number this year) I watched the Superbowl match up between the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night. Normally I'm more of a college football fan than a fan of pro football but I always get into it when playoffs roll around. This year I kept up with the success of the Saints, the team that only a few years ago was called The Ain'ts because they were plagued with one crappy season after another for pretty much all of their NFL history. But Sunday night they proved to everyone they can come back from their past and be victorious. It's hard not to cheer for the underdog. All those years of bad records and then there was Katrina which hit the entire state with devestating effect.

The game was good and honestly, I like both of these teams but I was thrilled to see the Saints win. I cheered hardest though at the end of the game when the Who Dat Nation began to celebrate. Drew Brees, Saints Quarterback and MVP of the game carried his baby boy in his arms and my heart melted. Maybe I'm a sap but the sight of this big, strong alpha guy kissing the fingers and cheeks of his baby, tears in his eyes was so moving to me.

I began to think about what we do to our alpha heroes when we write them. They are tough, often silent, take charge guys but how often do we see them moved to tears? Not many times, I figure. No, we really don't want to read about a hero who is continually weeping BUT can't he feel emotion? Can't he be moved to tears by the death of a loved one, a love lost or another catastrophic event from his past? I think it's way past time we give our heroes some more tender emotions, don't you?

We know men are wired differently from women. We women are often motivated by emotion while the guys hold it back, shove it aside and only until it's impossible to contain it, cry. I'm all for big, tough, badasses but, damn, I want to see a sensitive side too.


Allie Standifer said...

You are so right! I don't want an alpha male who bawls over toilet paper, but a bit of a sensitive side would be nice.

Regina Carlysle said...

I've been thinking about this. I actually LIKE a likeable hero. I want him to be touched and moved. He doesn't have to be all angsty and silent.

Ana Lee Kennedy said...

Men who show emotion are sexy in my book. And yes I agree that too weepy isn't good, but that goes with women too. My one daughter cries all the time over goofy things and it drives everyone crazy, so too weepy can go either way.

My hubby is an emotional, sentimental guy. I've seen him shed tears, and I find it endearing.

Regina Carlysle said...

Me too, Faith. Everyone gets sick of 24/7 drama. I sure as hell do. My husband is a big tough guy but I remember vividly the first time he held our son. Tears rolled. The genuine emotion is just so powerful especially coming from an alpha male.

Kathy Otten said...

Yes, I saw that moment at the end of the game and it made me tear up. I've seen the emotion in Alpha heroes done well by a few best selling authors, but I've never tried writing it in a scene. It would probably make me cry. But then I cry during cat food commericals.

Laurann Dohner said...

Great post! I am probably leery of tears. I dated a guy once who cried ALL the time. This is HORRIBLE to admit but one day I walked up to him, cupped him between his thighs, and when his eyes widened, I said... "Just checking to make sure you had them still." LOL. BUT... he cried over everything in my defense! Someone said his jacket was lame. Tears. He didn't get invited to a guy event. Tears. He got a flat tire. Tears. Yeah, imagine me breaking up with him. LOL. Sobbing, he threw himself on the ground, and wrapped his arms around my thighs begging me to not leave him. I felt real bad when I had one of his friends drag him off me...right before I turned and sprinted to my car like the hounds of hell were chasing me! LOL. Of course the times my hubby has shed tears, over a death of a family member, the birth of our children... melts me like butter and I love him all the more.

Regina Carlysle said...

I have written some scenes like that with the big tough alpha tearing up. I'm usually crying as I write it. HA. So yeah, I'm like you, Kathy, very emotional about stuff.

Regina Carlysle said...

AWWW HELL, Laurann! I don't think I could handle THAT. Hanging on your legs you say? Ohhh boy. That man needs therapy! But real honest emotion from a man just makes me go....awwwwww. I love to see it.

Maria said...

I think that it would be really great if our hereos could be both an alpha male and still have an emotional component. I want a hero who can cry when it's necessary and isn't afraid to show those that matter to him that he loves them.

Dita Parker said...

I’m sooo happy for the Saints, too!!

And I absolutely agree even alphas need to be balanced. I suspect men, real or fictional, of being very insecure indeed if they’re threatened by or afraid to show traits typically attributed to women.

If that’s what they are then that’s what they are, but a man secure in his manhood usually isn’t and what do you call a man secure in his manhood? Hot! Confidence is sexy, unpretentiousness, too.

Patric said...

Okay, I admit it. I got a few chuckles out of the post, and the comments. Laurann, I had a boyfriend like that once. He prompted me to carry a spare shirt wherever we went. Yeesh.

The other extreme of course are the guys who are so tight lipped that getting them to open up is like shucking an oyster with a matchstick. Freaking impossible.

Happily though, this post is about the ones in the middle, who do actually even exist in real life.

I get so tired of reviewers (always women. Sorry ladies) nattering about how "real men don't cry." every time they read one of my stories.


Last time I checked it was still swinging between my legs, and *I* am perfectly capable of finding a few tears rolling down my cheeks.

I write my guys like I *like* my guys in real life: Strong, capable, in command, pure alpha when anyone else is around, and still capable of being moved by their emotions (when it's just the two of them together) to say "I love you." without it being a ploy to get the other to put out, bend over, what have you.

We do exist, in far greater numbers than most would suppose. We're just not so obvious because we save our deepest thoughts, our biggest fears, and our greatest personal joys, all the things that might move us to tears, to share with the one(s) we love.

For all the folks who don't believe that "Big Boys DO Cry," who cannot grasp that sometimes the difference between Alpha and Beta is thinner than the space between the letters, I hope things get better for you someday. I really do, because something essential is clearly missing.

Unknown said...

I've often thought it would be great if the alphas in many of the stories I've read had a bit more emotion. The same holds true for real men. My son is being raised to know it's ok to have feelings. It's a rough balance to make sure he's not that way at school. 13 isn't a good age to be emotional in front of the other guys.

Regina Carlysle said...

Well said Patric. I wonder if men really truly need a strong level of trust in order to show emotion? And I'm not talking rage, anger and frustration but the soft stuff. We often don't see our alpha boyfriends or husbands show any softer emotion when out and about but at home, when it's quiet and things are real...that's when we get to see the softer side. Lucky us. Personally, I think it's like a little gift. Pardon my sappyness but to think this big tough guy loves and trusts me enough that he can be honest in his emotions is a huge turn on for me.

Carol said...

It's SEXY when an alpha male can cry!! An that kind of sensitivity often makes for a wonderful lover!

Good blog, Regina!!

Regina Carlysle said...

Hey Connie! I admire single moms who can raise her son to be unafraid to show his true feelings but yeah, tough job because the world expects men and women to behave in certain ways. It sucks but it's also the truth. Like you, I want to be moved by a story and when the hero feels things strongly enough to be able to express that, I just love it.

Regina Carlysle said...

I agree Carol. And you know, if an alpha suddenly is considered BETA because he can be tender and real than maybe I prefer Betas.

Unknown said...

I think a guy can be both, in different aspects of his life. The emotions are mostly important when they involve the lady/wife/gf and kids.

Kelley Nyrae said...

I've never thought about that...My husband never cries. We've been together for almost 12 years and I've seen him cry twice. Like you said, I don't want him weeping all the time, but I think being moved to tears or showing that sensitive side once in a while, over something big is sweet. I'm like you. I turn into mush when I see a big, strong many kiss the cheek of a baby. Sigh.

Von said...

I love an Alpha, don't get me wrong. But sometimes it's nice to have a reminder that the Alpha has a heart. People who cry when the wind blows kind of annoy me. However, I think everyone has their moments and their specific things that just get to them. This is the kind of thing that makes us human. It is attractive and moving. Alphas and anger yes, but alphas and emotion...hell yes!

Patric said...

Hi Regina, ladies. :)

Pardon my jumping in again but looking at the list of comments, I kinda get the impression that, um, let's just way water tastes best directly from the well. Laugh.

Since people, men and women, are as varied as the stars, I'll only speak on behalf of myself.

Yes, it is a trust issue, to a degree, but that's like saying you trust the life line to hold your weight if you fall off the ledge while working on a skyscraper.

Mostly, for me, it's about perception and safety, roughly in that order.

Things are changing, thankfully, but I'm betting most of the people who commented, or are reading the comments, are of an age where we were taught that guys have to be strong, have to be in control, and that showing emotion is weak.

It's only when we are in the closeness of an embrace, in a dark bedroom or somewhere out of the public eye, that we can feel safe enough to let down our guard and allow some of the pent-up emotions out.

And of course trust that our SO doesn't gasp in horror, or start laughing. :)

As I said earlier, I am attracted to guys like that. They are better balanced, less likely to fly off the handle under pressure and in my case, I get the best of both worlds.

I get an SO whom I can guard and protect, and at the same time, I get someone who makes me feel safe enough that I can let him see me cry.

Adele Dubois said...

I love alpha heroes who stand tough during difficult circumstances, but whose eyes mist or shed a few tears when they can't hold back anymore. Very sexy.

Enjoyed my visit with you Regina, as always!


Anne Rainey said...

I like when a guy can show his sensitve side. Growing up with three brothers I saw firsthand that even the tough ones have a heart. I've seen them get it stomped on many times!! Grr! Nevertheless, they tend to be private with that side of themselves, while women are more open about their feelings.