Call me old school but I still measure a man’s manliness by his ability to be in control of situations, no matter how challenging. A calm and composed exterior in the face of a crisis that is internally shredding him to pieces, pulling his thoughts in every direction and throwing dangerous curve balls of anxiety at him is one of the major attractions in a man. Sadly though, like chivalry, composure too is a dying art, if the latest incidences of emotional breakdowns of men in public are anything to go by. It is okay for grown men to sob up in movies and in private but publicly, in front of millions of viewers? Perhaps not the best way of expressing one’s emotions.
The latest offender? Andy Murray.
Before we start with the men-have-emotions-too or it-is-healthy-to-express-your-emotions arguments, I have to make my ground clear – I am aware of both and am, in no way, in opposition to those theories. When I say men should not cry in public, it is not my way of advocating pseudo machismo. However, I do believe it is one thing to feel the gravity of an emotional situation and vent it and quite another to let your guards down in public and unmask yourself to your rivals.
Take Murray, for example. By all means, he played a good game yesterday and the overall quality of the match was befitting a Wimbledon final. Had he played a few points differently in the second set, had he been more ‘in control’ of his emotions while playing (unfortunately, slamming racquets don’t win you Slam finals), things could have panned out differently. Like Rafael Nadal said in his biography Rafa: My Story, tennis is a sport that is played in the mind and better you can silence your emotions and thoughts churning in your head, the better are your chances of winning.
So the tears-are-healthy discussion aside, I believe both men and women would do better to reserve an emotion as intensely private as that for a private moment in a guarded, private setting. Why let the world know your weakness and expose yourself threadbare?
PS – I am very proud of Andy and could not help tearing up while watching his emotional speech. But I did it alone in front of the telly with a bag of crisps.