My Celebrity Life

I want more men to cry at their weddings – just like Ben Affleck did

There’s reports the duo became emotional (Picture: onthejlo)

This summer we were graced with the wedding of the century: Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck tied the knot in an intimate, late-night Vegas wedding – 18 years after they called off their first engagement.

But instead of falling in love with JLo’s dress, apparently from ‘an old movie’, I was fawning over the fact that her new husband reportedly cried.

According to a venue insider, there’s claims that the duo were ‘emotional’ and ‘cried to each other’ during the ceremony – and I couldn’t have been happier than hearing that a man sobbed.

Three years ago, when I was walking down the aisle myself – arm-in-arm with my dad – I remember walking towards my sobbing husband. I’d never been more in love with him than in that moment, in touch with his emotions.

Instead of being ashamed or embarrassed, hiding from the photographer, he embraced the feeling – and the photos of him reduced to tears are my most cherished.

At a recent wedding, we were sharing the tissues once again – squeezing each other’s hands as we celebrated love, and remembered the deepness of our own.

So why don’t more men cry? Usually, when I’m at a wedding, you hear the men in pews clearing their throat in unison at the hand-written vows – puffing their chest out, sitting up straighter, and stoically staring ahead.

You hear in speeches of how grooms, best men, or fathers of the bride held it together, as if it was an achievement to hold back the tears – a reaction that is layered with shame and femininity. It’s as if their ties are tied so tight, their tear ducts are suffocated.

It’s not just weddings that remain dry, either. Funerals, gigs, films – while my husband and I are usually frantically rummaging around for tissues, men around us are all as dry as a bone. Firmly rooting the generations-old lie that ‘big boys don’t cry’.

‘What were you taught about crying?’ I asked my husband, Jethro, when writing this. ‘I wasn’t, not really,’ he answered. Crying was what women did in films and songs – it was what little boys did when they fell over. Not men.

Crying was – and still is – associated with weakness, and failure.

Toxic masculinity has told crying boys with grazed knees to ‘man up’, labelled them ’girly’, ‘gay’, or ‘mammy’s boys’ who were coddled at the bosom – as if it was shameful to be associated with anything effeminate, or that women did.

To me, crying is a release (I’m a Pisces, sue me). I’m not ashamed to admit that I cry pretty much everyday – when I’m angry, when I’m happy, sad, overwhelmed, bored, hungry, tired, listening to music, looking at the Battersea Cats and Dogs Home website, when I’ve stubbed my toe.

Crying is a scientifically-proven release from emotions. Life is hard, and crying is easy – why bottle it up? What have you got to prove?

Social stigma and obsession with the stereotype of what it is to be ‘a man’ is a big part of why male suicide rates is over three times as high as women’s in the UK. Record numbers of young people are seeking out mental health services and, in 2022, suicide is still the biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK.

Bottling up real, true, human emotions is harmful. It’s dangerous, and it is killing us. What’s so ‘girly’ about that?

To fight these sobering statistics, only this month, Gymshark – a brand perhaps associated with ‘macho men’, toned bodies but toned down emotions and masculinity – partnered with CALM to open a barber shop with free mental health chats. But we need much more than tears and a trim.

This deeply entrenched harmful stereotype won’t break down as fast as I do when I realise I have no tea bags left – we all need to encourage it, not ignore it or avoid asking awkward questions. Even to strangers.

When I’ve been crying on the train after some pretty nasty break-ups, I’ve been lucky enough to have people ask me how I am – or pass me a tissue, and nod with a knowing smile. I’m not sure I could say the same for men.

We need crying Ken dolls, and Love Islanders in tears with broken hearts. We need men freely talking to their barbers about feeling s**t, or calling their mum to have a little cry; sobbing over a beautiful piece of music, or with frustration over a failed Ottolenghi recipe.

We need to see crying in adverts, on Olympic podiums, on Bake Off and park benches; in schools, at book clubs, on trains, and in coffee shops.

Ben Affleck – once named by GQ as filmmaker of the year, two-time Academy award winner, and three-time Golden Globe winner, with two BAFTAs for good measure – cried in a pure white tux *and* still married JLo. You can do it in your pants on your sofa with an opened family bag of Walkers Sensations watching It’s A Sin.

This wedding season, I want to see hankies pulled out of suit pockets. I want to hear stifled sobs, noses blowing, and tear-soaked laughter. I want to see men cry, and embrace it.

Embrace the feeling of warm tears on your cheeks, the saltiness hitting your lips, and it combining with your juicy snot. Feels good, doesn’t it?

Credit: Source

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