Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Why Women are Better Off than Men

After a stressful news day (you know, the usual….ebola, ISIS, random violence, etc.), I felt myself about to snap. 

My various coping techniques were wearing thin so I reached out in the hope of avoiding a freak-out. Seth was busy at work, Tom didn’t pick up the phone (surprise!) and Charlie answered but was in no mood for my meltdown.

Okay, next: A devout and spiritual friend suggested I send a prayer into the ether when things on the news scare me. One advised cute cat videos but I’ve seen them all…twice. Another told me she no longer watches the news or reads the paper. I’ve tried that. I’m good for a few days without Scott Pelly’s piercing baby blues but then I crumble and return to footage of people shouting “Death to America!!” 

Finally, my sister-in-law suggested ice cream---the richer the better. This was the most feasible solution but I had none and, therefore, it involved leaving the house… so I just broke down and sobbed.

My tears came fast and were big like summer raindrops. They ran down my face and dripped off my chin but, soon after the flood began, it was over. Guess what! I felt much better. “A good cry” is truly that. When I was done, my eyes were two red swollen slits and my bib was damp but dammit, if my heart didn’t feel lighter.

This is not new. Women have been aware of this phenomenon since time began. Plus, it’s even been scientifically confirmed that the release of tears is very helpful in that enzymes are flushed out in the mad cavalcade of salt water and emotion and, in just a little bit (still sniffing), you are feeling better.

As for me, a good cry is sometimes the highlight of a weekend. It’s known as venting. And, these days, with the popularity of social media, the proliferation of public television screens and the prevalence of cable news, I am forced to keep up not only with the current state of Bruce Jenner’s disappearing adam's apple but also any new trend in fear and panic.

 I have been venting more often these days.

Seth appears fine with it. He seems to accept my emotional outbursts or is a good enough actor to handle them with, at best,  a shoulder pat or hug or, at worst, will suddenly “need” a part for the snow blower or new tool at Home Depot where he will wander the aisles until he thinks it’s safe to return.

Imagine, however, if I walked in on Seth sitting at the kitchen table, head in hands, sobbing into a dish towel. I might possibly die. I would assume the absolute worst of the worst and immediately seize up like white chocolate in the microwave. That is---I would be ruined.

My husband and, doubtless, many other men are well aware of this.

We women insist we appreciate an emotional man. We make a big deal about how a true man should not be hesitant to cry, how we want our men to be in touch with their emotions, to let it all hang out. On an intellectual level, we totally mean this. But, if this actually were the case, no matter what we think and say – life would be chaos. If Seth vented and sobbed on a regular basis, I would not handle it well at all.

And this is why women are better off than men. We can be as emotional as we want, mostly, with impunity. Sometimes it even becomes something that the men in our lives speak of fondly as we sob openly during the ending of Field of Dreams ”Oh, look at Mom….crying again!” This will be followed by someone’s husband or son lumbering over to offer a good-humored hug.

But, for all you men who are just as stressed out by the world, worried about the future and tender-hearted enough to inwardly break to bits when Ray Kinsella’s father wanders out of the cornfield and onto the field with Shoeless Joe, thanks for keeping it together so we can purge our own evil stress-enzymes via a good cry as we cope with the uncharted terrors of today.

I, for one, appreciate your self control.

Okay. Better now.