Do men cry?

By Klaus Döring

Since I was a little boy, my whole family and our neighbors liked to hammer into my mind and heart the slogan: “Boys (men) don’t cry!” Many incidents happened in my life as a young boy. Later too. Up to now – after being in  the second half of my life. Incidents with oppressed and held back tears and emotions…

According to the German Society of Ophthalmology, which has collated different scientific studies on crying, the average woman cries between 30 and 64 times a year, and the average man cries between 6 and 17 times a year. Men tend to cry for between two and four minutes, and women cry for about six minutes.

I made a complete fool, when I tried to satisfy my unquotable thirst and insatiable hunger as a young boy by penetrating the closed kitchen of our neighbor. A terrible good hiding followed together with the comment: “Don’t cry or you’ll never become a real man!” Bursting into tears (BAHALA NA!), I didn’t understand why a boy should bear the pain of trashing but knowing during the same time that he might never become a real man! What an untenable mug’s game!

I never became a whipping boy or fan of brawl and fight because I always tried to search for ways not to cry. “You’ll never become a real man, because a real man knows how to fight without bursting into tears!” Longing to watch the girls in our neighborhood, who always had been allowed to cry because of any non-important thing or trifling matter.

My thirst for knowledge let me start travelling around the world when I became 18. I learned that this silly custom seemed to exist more or less worldwide. In different Asian countries I learned the nonsense (sorry!) parents explaining to their sons, “If you’ll not stop crying, you might become a gay!”

Step by step I experienced many examples, incidents or reasons when I didn’t care anymore fortunately about my tears and emotions. A special place with a good or bad remembrance can make me cry. Salt dissolves in water like emotions in tears: an unjustified treatment, arrogance and ignorance from people around me, a heartfelt condolence, a rejected or non-return love or friendship, a very special song, a very touching situation or speech, being choked with emotions – but ALSO crying because of happiness or never expected gratitude… . Are all these privileges only allowed for females? Are males only robots with hearts of stone? Objection my dear fellow creatures!

When I stayed in Israel a long time ago: An Israeli soldier lost his right arm during a (nonsensical!) battle on the Golan Heights – and, this wounded soldier started crying. Of course, why not? After my stay in Japan (YMCA family exchange), the father of one of my families in Kyoto couldn’t hold his tears, when the time came to say “Sayonara”! Sure, why not? In South Africa I became a sudden witness of a burial, because an original inhabitant family lost a child because of starving to death. The mother cried a lot!

The fact is that men do experience sadness, anxiety and depression, and real men do cry. Crying is a healthy emotional response to difficult situations, which should be normalized and embraced. It’s time we rethought our culturally conditioned approach to men crying.

Allow me to cry whatever the reason might be. Even if it is because I help cut onions and garlic for lunch!


Email: or follow me on Facebook, Linkedin  or X (Twitter) or visit or .