not okay for a grown-ass man to weep in public, in front of a bunch of happy families enjoying pie. If you can't hold it, you take your ass to the men's room and cry in private on the toilet. Like a man!"
When this trope is in effect, Real Men don't cry, no matter what. Not while facing the camera at least. In older anime, stolen food or an Armor-Piercing Slap
may still evoke Ocular Gushers
, but tears of sadness would always come from well hidden eyes or as a Sparkling Stream of Tears
over a man's turned shoulder or even in a spontaneous downpour of rain. Sometimes it's passed off as only sand in their eyes
. Sometimes the man will flatly deny crying, even as he's doing so. There is a single exception: one single tear
is allowed at the retirement ceremony of his favorite sporting icon.
See also Ocular Gushers
and Sparkling Stream of Tears
See also Manly Tears
and Tender Tears
, which turn this trope upside down.
Unfortunately, this trope often makes some viewers confuse any crying or depression whatsoever from a guy with Wangst
, also reinforcing the "men have no permission to ever show feelings other than rage" Double Standard
- as viewers are much much
more likely to be crying "Wangst" over a male
character than a female character.
On the other hand, a crying man might Take a Third Option
and say "He Will Not Cry, So I Cry for Him
Compare Men Are Uncultured
, Trying Not to Cry
Contrast Emotional Bruiser
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Anime and Manga
- For all its intense manliness, Fist of the North Star completely averts and washes this trope away with an ocean of sensitive and warm-hearted Tender Tears, even from its supposed "villains." Also notable in that at no point does anyone attempt to hide such tears.
- "Bye Bye Butterfree" has the main character shed a single tear though his face is hidden at the time. During a sad scene Ash will always, at least try to, hide his eyes with his hat, while the viewer sees the tears hitting the ground. Ash seems to be doing this less since Johto. He just breaks out in tears, barely even trying to cover it.
- The girls on the other hand have no such reservations.
- James cries on camera for humor, but…well…he's James. James himself averts it sometimes.
- Tower of God averts this - The moment Ja Wangnan realizes that he won't pass the test, he will never achieve anything all his sacrifices were for naught and that he will be forced to donate all his organs to repay his debts, he just sits there and cries. Goseng tries to tell him to man up but he simply ignores her.
- Elfen Lied:
- Subverted when Kouta realizes how he's handled Nyuu's problems was probably dangerously misguided, and she's just been taken away. He tears up, and his cousin Yuka immediately snaps at him "Jerk! You're a guy, and guys aren't supposed to cry."
- In the final chapter of the manga, the emotional havoc he endures is so strong he spends most of the time crying.
- Used in Fullmetal Alchemist during Hughes' funeral where Colonel Roy Mustang, with his back to the audience and subordinate Riza Hawkeye, comments that it's a terrible day for rain. When Hawkeye says that it isn't raining, he insists that it is as he is shown (still from behind) with a tear stream running down his cheek. When she sees this, she agrees. Armstrong cries all the time, but that's played for laughs...usually.
- Played with in Rurouni Kenshin with the character of Soujiro. When he kills his family, Shishio asks him if he's crying. Soujiro passes it off as rain running down his face, but we later find out that he was really crying. Though in this case it wasn't about masculinity, but because his abusive relatives beat him for crying.
- Averted in One Piece, where it's no less likely to see a man cry than a woman. A notable example is Franky, who's arguably one of the most manly looking of the main cast, yet is also the most prone to bursting into tears at a sympathetic story. And don't get started with the Whitebeard War arc.
- Zoro however very much plays it straight. He only cries once, and that was when he was soundly beat by the man he set his life goal to defeat.
- Zoro has no particular aversion to crying, whether himself or others, he's just a Stoic.
- Sanji is a bit of a weird example. He regularly go into Ocular Gushers for the sake of comedy, but when an actual sad situation occurs (like Usopp's departure and Merry's funeral), and Luffy, Nami, Usopp, Chopper and Franky are crying their hearts out, he will often stand at the sideline and just look all stoic like Zoro. But since Sanji is not The Stoic in general, it may very well be because he plays the trope straight and chooses not to show emotion.
- In Junjou Romantica, young Hiroki cries and scolds himself, saying that "boys shouldn't cry." He quickly changes that to "boys shouldn't let others see them cry."
- Galaxy Express 999 has Tetsuo repeating this to himself after crying.
- Ookiku Furikabutte — When Kanou goes all Hidden Eyes when losing the game, Oda wonders what he's thinking until he seems to wipe his face:
- The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service. This trope is the reason why Numata wears Sunglasses at Night.
- Duo Maxwell says this in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing.
- Attempted to used in Mobile Suit Gundam. Amuro Ray tries to "correct" his comrade Hayato Kobayashi for crying by punching him but Hayato punches him back stating he has no right to claim others should not cry. Amuro himself also cries several times so it could be guessed he was just trying to follow military rules.
- Kira Yamato of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED is a very sensitive person, and has a number of tearful breakdowns, especially in the beginning. Mu La Flaga tells him to not cry, in an effort to get Kira to "man up" and find the strength he needs to survive. Kira tries, but Lacus later encourages him to cry if he needs to, as she feels that sacrificing one's feelings is not the way to gain more strength.
- Digimon Xros Wars plays with this trope to establish Cutemon's character. At the beginning of episode 28, he reprimands Zenjirou for crying, claiming that "boys shouldn't cry." Towards the end of the episode, he must make the decision between staying with his parents (with whom he had recently reunited), or continuing to travel with Xros Heart. Choosing the latter, he tries his best to retain the notion of this, but is convinced that it's okay to shed Manly Tears upon bidding farewell.
- Sonic (amazingly enough) cries at the very end of the second season finale of Sonic X, presumably over the inevitable prospect of leaving Chris. The viewer never sees either his eyes or face directly. The writers don't believe it's in Sonic's personality to cry openly as in general (but particularly in this series), as the character is supposed to be The Stoic. There was actually some flak for this at the end of a later series wherein some fans were disappointed by Sonic's inability to react after they were forced to kill Cosmo, as expressing his emotion at the event and his role in it would have been out of character.
- Subverted in Dragon Ball Z after Goku's second Heroic Sacrifice; Gohan and most of the other fighters (who are primarily men) are crying. Justified in that they might also count as Manly Tears, but YMMV.
- Kazuma from s-CRY-ed claims that crying for his best friend's death is not gonna help at all. Ultimately, he is unable to hold off and cries. Later, Kazuma encourages Ryuho to cry following the sacrifice from a partner who died saving his life if he at least cares about her.
- Averted in Baccano! by Jacuzzi oh so much. He'd rather get it out there and over with, because the times he cries the most are the times he can least afford for his bottled up emotions to distract him. He doesn't care who sees.
- On one occasion, Shippou is told to man up because of this trope.
- On one occasion, Inuyasha is caught crying after his three friends are saved from near death. He denies it on the grounds of this trope.
- Sesshoumaru never cries for any reason. On one occasion, the situation is so extreme that Jaken cries, saying He Will Not Cry, So I Cry for Him.
- Defied in Naruto. It's actually suppose to be a code that Ninja do not shed tears on the battlefield. This does not stop Naruto, who very much wears his emotions on his sleeves.
- Averted in Hellsing. As violent of a "man" Alucard is, he cries. Father Anderson takes this as proof that he is not completely lost.
- Preacher: Jesse Custer hasn't cried since his father was shot to death in front of him and the killer taunted him about it and is of the firm conviction that men should act manly and should under no circumstances cry. Tulip eventually calls him out on it, after he notices he is crying as he admits that some of his character traits may need to be re-thought.
- In the Marvel Civil War series, the mobster Underworld brings up this trope and says that it's a bunch of bullshit. He says that when his dad died, he cried like a baby, but was no less a man after he had grieved than before.
- Chuck Billy invoked the trope in one story every time something painful happened to him. (And he suffered a lot in that story) The last drop was when he saw his girlfriend with another boy. He couldn't help but cry then.
- Sonic cries when Johnny dies in Sonic the Comic but all we see are him being teary eyed and the next panel has everyones' back turned.
- As seen in the page image, Sonic's face was changed in one issue of Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog to tone down his tears due to this trope. However, Tropes Are Not Bad; the altered pencils are generally considered an improvement, as the original really did go overboard with the waterworks considering this is Sonic we're talking about.
Film - Animated
Film - Live Action
- The Bridges of Madison County: During the filming, Clint Eastwood had a crying scene, during the filming of which, he would not cry to the camera. He said it was because he had never cried on camera before, and he couldn't just go into an all-out bawl, because he is Clint Eastwood. In the end, he decided that this approach was actually more realistic, and went with it.
- The funeral of Valeria in Conan the Barbarian (1982).
- In Groundhog Day, after Rita says that the perfect man for her wouldn't be afraid of crying, Phil responds with something along the lines of "are we still talking about a man?" And he himself later completely subverts this trope when he bitterly weeps for being doomed to never save the life of a homeless old man in his endless loop through time.
- Invoked in The Science of Sleep when Stéphanie is trying to calm Stéphane down but averted as he cries several times.
- House of Flying Daggers: Averted, where all the men have crying scenes, sometimes twice.
- Likewise, averted in Reservoir Dogs with two of the gangster characters who not only cry, but do it in a decidedly non-manly way.
- And averted once again in Gladiator, which went with a full-on snot-fest when Maximus finds his wife and son murdered.
- In Patton, Patton is the ultimate manly man. He, among other things, shoots at a dive bombing plane with just a pistol, while standing in its flight path. The soldier that he infamously slapped, for having "shell shock", was crying the whole time he did so. Though in all fairness, Patton didn't slap the soldier because he was crying, but rather that he was in the presence of badly-injured soldiers in the medical tent while he did so.
- Zig-Zagging Trope in The Wizard of Oz: The Tin Man (somehow) is capable of crying and is occasionally seen to do so, but is advised against it, since it causes him to rust and hence renders him immobile. The Cowardly Lion is male and is seen to weep out of fear, but he is not a "man" in a human sense, so it's allowed.
- The Lord of the Rings: Subverted by Éomer when he finds his sister's body on the Pelennor Fields. Whereas in the books he had a "fey mood" overtake him, in the film he fell to the ground howling, sobbing his lungs out as he cradled Éowyn's body in his arms. Thankfully, Éowyn got better.
- Boys Don't Cry: Not too surprisingly, a carrying theme.
- Invoked by name in the lucha film La Venganza de la Momia. After the title monster kills a boy's grandfather, El Santo tells the boy to finish crying, because he's a man now, and men don't cry. (Probably justified for a 1970 Mexican film ... but considering Santo's talking to a character played by a seven year old, it still seems off.)
- Lampshaded in The Big Lebowski, when the title character is grieving over the abduction of his wife. "Are you surprised at my tears, sir? Strong men also cry." Granted, he's not actually crying at the moment, but the sentiment is sound enough. He's faking that, too.
- In Pitch Black Carolyn's death is the only time Riddick shows tears. In The Chronicles of Riddick Riddick is close to tears after Kyra's death. The fact he was in front of a the Necromonger army at the time, who were known to assassinate their leaders for showing weakness, might have had something to do with him manfully holding back the tears and turning them into white-hot rage.
- Subverted in Maleficent: When Diaval brings Maleficent bad news at one point in the movie, he, while not actually crying, is more visibly distressed than she is, despite the fact that the bad news doesn't even directly affect him.
- Powerfully averted in Jacob's Ladder, when Jacob starts crying when he sees a picture of his deceased son. His then-girlfriend is the one to uphold this trope when she throws it out, stating that "she doesn't like things that make him cry."
- Following the Rule of Three in Annie:
- Stacks gets teary-eyed but doesn't mention it.
- When he shows Annie where he grew up in Queens, he plays it off as pollen or dust.
- When he's about to lose Annie to her "real parents", she asks him if it's dusty and he says it's not. He then admits on TV that he's actually crying.
- Averted Trope in Daniel Handler's A Series of Unfortunate Events.
- L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables: Briefly shown when Anne talks about her teacher leaving the school.
Jane Andrews has been talking for a month about how glad she'd be when Mr. Phillips went away and she declared she'd never shed a tear. Well, she was worse than any of us and had to borrow a handkerchief from her brother—of course the boys didn't cry—because she hadn't brought one of her own, not expecting to need it.
- In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Only In Death, we are explicitly told that Ezsrah's people show no sorrow (among other emotions). This is borne out by his actions throughout, and in particular in that scene. Ludd, his eyes red and tearful, told him of Gaunt's death, and he just nodded and walked away.
There was no grief, no weeping, no mourning for a Gereon Nihtgane. Such behavior was a waste of time.
- In Dragon Bones this is lampshaded: Ward mentions that a man doesn't cry ... and then cries nevertheless, as he just can't hold the tears back.
- The Shadow in the North: Addressed in Philip Pullman's mystery novel. Upon Frederick's death Jim cries, while the narrator (so to speak) tells the reader about his feelings toward the action: "For Jim there was no shame about a man crying. There was only pride."
- John C. Wright
- Marshak and Culbreath's Star Trek novel The Price of the Phoenix is based largely around the notion that Kirk, being some sort of galactic alpha-male, cannot, does not, and must not cry. Ever.
- Subverted in Inheritance Cycle. After having killed soldiers invading Carvahall, Roran is shown as being racked by sobs. Other strong characters are shown to cry as well.
- Constantly subverted in The Lord of the Rings. The strongest men in the series, including Aragorn, are seen weeping with no shame several times in the books and their related works.
- Subverted in the novelization of Return of the Jedi. Both in the scene where he tells Leia he's going to face his father, and later as Anakin Skywalker is dying, Luke weeps openly and without shame.
- This trope is reversed in A Brother's Price. Jerin gently chides one of his little sisters, coming to him with a scraped and cut knee, with "Hush, hush, big girls don't cry." This is a world of relatively stoic women and much more tender men, due to males being so rare and thus protected, so while he cries at several points, aside from his very young sisters no women shed tears in this book, not even his wife after he's kidnapped or when she thinks he's dead. She plans to sink to the ground and grieve only after he has been avenged.
- In Seanan McGuire's Velveteen Vs The Junior Super Patriots, Aaron waits until Velma is out of sight before wiping his eyes.
- In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Rita Skeeter writes a news article in which Harry admits to sometimes crying over his parents' death, and Draco Malfoy makes fun of him for it. It's worth noting that Harry never actually said it.
- The Fault in Our Stars:
- Averted. Hazel's father bursts into tears in almost every scene he's in. But no one ever makes a negative remark about it.
Live Action TV
- The Flight of the Conchords song "I'm Not Crying" parodies this trope, with the Brett and Jermaine defiantly (and unconvincingly) trying to convince the audience that they're not crying after a breakup.
That’s from the path that you made when you said your goodbye
For your information there’s an inflammation in my tear gland
I’m not upset because you left me this way
My eyes are just a little sweaty today
- The Cure's "Boys Don't Cry" (the song; may also refer to LP of the same name, which was a US-only oddity not entirely unlike the UK LP Three Imaginary Boys but with different sequencing, plus a few songs either missing or added).
- Brazilian song "Homem Não Chora", by Barão Vermelho.
- Dee Clark's "Raindrops":
Rain keeps falling from my eyes
Oh no they can't be teardrops
For a man ain't supposed to cry
- "I'm Not Crying" by Chris de Burgh, whose lyrics consist mainly of Suspiciously Specific Denials.
- When a Man Cries by The Divine Comedy is all about how society all but prevents a man from outwardly crying.
When a man cries,
His body shakes
And his eyeballs ache
And his mind vibrates,
But he doesn't make a sound.
Don't wanna wake the house, now.
- "Dust In My Eyes" by Arcadian Days explores this.
- Repeatedly subverted by the narrator in Tim McGraw's "Grown Men Don't Cry".
- Polish song "Chłopaki nie płaczą" by T.Love (also a movie under the same name).
- Deconstructed and defied in "Boys Don't Cry" by KCAT.
Boys boys don't cry
Men do 'cos they got nothing to hide
But boys don't, 'cos boys don't cry
Boys boys don't cry
They don't shed a tear because of pride
- Baby Blues: In an early story arc, Daryl has gotten involved in a minor car accident that broke his abnormally-sized nose- cast and all. Talking about it with his wife Wanda, they both begin to get choked up over the idea of him not being there for his family:
Daryl: Don't start, you'll get me going, too...
Wanda: Don't be ashamed... it's okay for men to cry.
Daryl: I'm not ashamed... I just can't imagine blowing my nose through this thing!
- Used heartbreakingly by Charlie Brown in a Peanuts comic:
Those dreams I have at night are going to drive me crazy. Last night I dreamed that little red-haired girl and I were eating lunch together...But she's gone...She's moved away, and I don't know where she lives, and she doesn't know I even exist, and I'll never see her again...and...I wish men cried..."
- Averted by ECW alum Tommy Dreamer, who cries freely when he feels like it and challenges that men who don't cry are not real men. However, sort of inverted in that the things he DOESN'T cry over (like getting his scalp pierced or set on fire or whatever else has happened to the guy in matches) are the same things that would send even the manliest man into a fit of uncontrollable whimpering. Physical pain isn't what gets most people to cry in the first place — it's the emotional buffeting that breaks people down.
- Somewhat averted when Kurt Angle cried when receiving a gold medal in the Olympics, but then Played for Laughs whenever it's been called back to in his pro wrestling career. In addition to being mocked by Triple H, Angle has also turned into a crying mess in at least one (possibly more) in-ring kayfabe re-enactments of his medal ceremony which he has done to soothe his own ego.
- Bill Burr mocked this whole stance in his "What're you? A fag?" routine, outlining how men are forced to bury all emotional expression, even natural ones like tenderness down for fear of being mocked by society until it explodes in a fatal aneurism. The last words you'll hear will be "Lookit this fag! He got bananas on his pancakes! What, it's already not sweet enough for ya?!"
- In the stage play Lost in Yonkers, Grandma tells her grandsons that "boys of ten shouldn't cry" and goes into a list of seemingly heart-wrenching circumstances which apparently did not move her, claiming to be "made of steel".
- In The Merchant of Venice Launcelot, the clown, tries to unman his dad by tricking him into crying ("Now will I raise the waters!") and, later, accuses himself of weakness for weeping as he says goodbye to Jessica: "But adieu! These foolish drops do something drown my manly spirit." The more serious characters in the play (Shylock and Antonio) are prone to Manly Tears.
- As You Like It plays with this trope: Rosalind, in male disguise, is determined not to "disgrace [her] man's apparel, and to cry like a woman" after she and her cousin Celia are half-dead from walking all day. Mischievously, she adds, "I must comfort the weaker vessel," referring to Celia. Later in the play, there's an Ironic Echo:
Rosalind: Never talk to me; I will weep.
Celia: Do, I prithee, but yet have the grace to consider that tears do not become a man.
- This is contrasted by several references to the (actual) guys in the play shedding Manly Tears, most notably Orlando and his brother, Oliver, after they reconcile offstage.
- In The Odd Couple, Felix breaks down in tears telling the Pigeon sisters about his former married life, then apologetically tries to pull himself back together. Gwendolyn says, "You mustn't be ashamed. I think it's a rare quality in a man to be able to cry." Soon all three are in tears.
- Completely and utterly averted with Tomoya Okazaki from CLANNAD. After all the shit he's been through in After Story, it's hardly a surprise.
- In Little Busters!, Kyousuke's Leitmotif is named 'Boys Don't Cry' and near the end of the game he encourages Riki to keep up his strength and not cry anymore, but otherwise this trope is actually averted. All but one of the male characters cry not-so-manly tears at some point (including Kyousuke), and Riki himself cries many times, even after he becomes stronger and Kyousuke tells him not to. Of course, given the kind of game it is, only the hardest of hearts could blame them.
- Averted in Umineko: When They Cry where most of the men cries when their wife/child/parent is killed. The biggest one is Battler who, despite his joking and tough attitude, is rather emotional and tends to cry alot, especially in the early episodes.
- Ishimaru from Dangan Ronpa completely averts this trope and breaks down into Inelegant Blubbering very very easily
- Chihiro also averts this trope, but since the viewer is believed that he is female, his frequent tearful outbursts aren't seen as unmanly.
- The Nostalgia Critic:
- The Critic said that a man getting in touch with his feminine side makes him a pussy. This was during the beginning of his Top 11 Saddest Nostalgic Moments and he ends up breaking down at all of them.
- While reviewing "Baby-Doll" from Batman: The Animated Series, the hosts (CR and Nostalgia Critic) begin to cry over the episode only to catch themselves, cough, and say it makes them want to lift weights.
- Shed a Tear, by Kevjumba, Chester See, and Nigahiga pokes fun at the trope by inverting it to a ridiculous extreme.
- In Midnight Screenings, Brad and Jake spoof guys who might be watching a movie and refuse to admit they are crying.
Jake: "Oh, come on, Man! This movie's stupid! Let's fast forward through this part!"
Brad: (sniffling and wiping his eyes) "This movie's pretty gay, Bro!"
Jake: (also wiping his eyes) "This movie's really gay, Bro!"
- In the South Park episode "Scott Tenorman Must Die" the eponymous character's favorite band, Radiohead, witness him crying over the deaths of his parents. They note that everyone has problems and he doesn't have to be a little crybaby about it, dismissing him as the most uncool kid they ever saw. To be fair, they didn't know about that; they thought he was crying just because he was dying from cancer.
- Kim Possible: Often referenced by Ron Stoppable, whenever he's about to cry, who says "I have something in my eye."
- Completely averted in Avatar: The Last Airbender. The series isn't shy about letting the male characters weep in moments of intense emotion. Not just any men, either: Iroh, one of the most powerful, Bad Ass characters in the series, is unafraid to weep openly many times, once when mourning his lost son, and again when Zuko apologizes to him in the finale. Zuko himself is not considered unmanly either for crying, and does so many times without anybody thinking to say he's not supposed to. Aang and Sokka also get their moments, and nobody calls them unmanly for it either. Also averted in the sequel, where Bolin breaks out into full-on Inelegant Blubbering when he sees his crush Korra kissing his brother Mako, just when he was bringing her roses.
- Transformers Animated: In the pilot miniseries, Sari uses tears to convince the Autobots to follow her plan. When Bulkhead says her "eyes are leaking", she patiently explains the concept of crying, but the Autobots neither confirm or deny whether this is also part of their emotional range. Later in the series, we hear Blackarachnia sobbing, and see Wreck-Gar tear up. At another point, Bulkhead repeats the "leaking eyes" line when Sari cries, but by then it may have been just an inside joke between them.
- Wreck-Gar was only one day old at the time. It's possible that Cybertronians have an on/off switch for their tear ducts to make sure they're never caught off guard in public. The medical term for this would be "Lucky Bastards".
- Chowder: Chowder has been shown crying a couple times in the past, but also provides this great quote:
Panini: Chowder, are you crying?
Chowder: No! Only girls cry. Men weep!''
- The Smurfs: The very manly Hefty Smurf chides his fellow Smurf Weepy for being a sissy for cying in one episode, but at the end of it even he is found crying.
- Metalocalypse: Pickles tells Toki "Admitting sadness makes you gay."
- Inverted on Jimmy Two-Shoes, when Heloise goes Sweet Polly Oliver to find out about Jimmy and Beezy's list of "Secret Guy Stuff", one of them is crying at a sad movie. When she expresses disbelief that this is guy stuff, they respond "Heloise never lets us cry...unless it's from pain."
- On Family Guy Peter accidentally crashes his boat into a bar mitzvah and kills the clown hired for entertainment. The party boy looks on in horror and begins to cry, only for his father to slap him in the back of the head and remind him that he's supposed to be a man now.
- Sonic has had this happen to him even in the early days: the staff of Sonic Sat AM got called out by Sega for depicting Sonic crying (even though he had technically just lost a family member) and were forbidden from doing so in future episodes.
- Though it doesn't come up much, averted in Code Lyoko. In the episode with the mega blizzard, Ulrich sheds a single tear (which freezes) when he realizes Yumi is probably going to die (and accompanying the tear with "I need you...") and in the second to last episode, Odd is visibly crying when Aelita returns to reality after the loss of her father.
- Beavis And Butthead: "Huh huh, Beavis is crying." What either boy failed to notice was that Beavis had Onion Tears rather than crying organically. Nonetheless, Butt-head proceeds to mock Beavis' tears for the rest of his natural life.
- Unfortunately, despite the implications this can bring about, there actually is a social stigma related to men crying in public, or if they are simply caught crying in front of the wrong person.
- Research has revealed that it is actually, legitimately harder for men to cry once they hit puberty, thanks to hormones.