I had an experience a few weeks ago, that made me realize something about men; this mainly has to do with a man’s reaction to a woman’s tears. Before I get into that though, here’s something that you may not know about me: I’m a crier. I cry at everything. Sappy commercials, corny birthday cards, and the ever-present (especially around the holidays) Hallmark movies – they get me every time! I’ve accepted this about myself, and have learned to live with it. I’m aware that there are certain things I just shouldn’t watch if I don’t want to end up a weeping mess… For instance, the moment I hear the beginnings of that Sarah McLachlan song from the ASPCA commercials, I know to change the channel – there’s no way I’m watching that one again.
Well, while surfing the interwebs a few weeks ago, I had somehow ended up on the website for an animal shelter – we won’t go into how that happened. As fate would have it though, I was re-directed to one of their pages that told the story of a very unfortunate puppy. I won’t go into the details here because I’ll probably start crying again, but here’s the link in case you’re a glutton for punishment; word of advise though, don’t click on it unless you’re prepared to donate something to help the poor baby out, because I definitely couldn’t leave the website until I did.
Anyway. So here I am, tearfully reading this horrible story, when I look up and realize that I’m no longer alone – one of the men of my acquaintance is standing in the doorway, just stopping in to say hi apparently. Then he sees that I’m crying. I’m pretty sure that I’ll never forget the look on his face; if I could compare it to anything at all, it would be the look on someone’s face when they witness a car accident, and realize they’re the only one that can help. He’s walked in on something awful by the looks of it, and now he’s taken responsibility in a way – leaving the scene would result in some sort of “failure to render aid” penalty. So, what to do? This has probably gone through every man’s mind at one time or another, when it comes to a woman. “What do I do??”
Honestly, I would have been perfectly fine if he had “left the scene”, so to speak. Obviously I wasn’t having some sort of personal crisis that required immediate attention – I was also pretty embarrassed to have a witness to my emotional moment; part of me was wishing (as he most likely was as well) that he would just go away and pretend that he didn’t see anything. Of course, he didn’t do that; he squared his shoulders and sat down opposite me, taking the time to make sure that I was okay. He probably heard a lot more about my opinions on animal cruelty than he really wanted to, because once I started to tell him why I was crying it all just came flooding out, but he sat there and listened. He must have seen pretty quickly that this wasn’t something he could fix for me, which I’ve realized now is the natural instinct for most men when they’re given a problem – the old “why are you telling me about this if you don’t want me to fix it?” conundrum. The thing is, most of us women are pretty capable of fixing our problems by ourselves. We just need to be able to vent our frustrations, and then we can figure out what needs to be done. I applaud the man that understands this, and will sit down to listen (no matter how uncomfortable he may be) when all that we need is an ear.
May you always be as old as your tongue, and a little older than your teeth.