Big Butches Do Cry

In certain circumstances, a butch is absolutely prohibited from shedding a tear. For example, while getting a tattoo.

Crying is forbidden – no matter how much it hurts – because you WANTED to get a tattoo. You chose to get a tattoo, and paid someone to give you one. No one cares that the pain is horrible and you just want to haul ass out of there and pound a few craft beers to get through it. No self-respecting butch can cry in that situation. If you do, just go ahead and give the tattoo artist your butch card before you high tail it out of there. You won’t be needing it anymore. I have gotten two tattoos, and they have both hurt like hell. The most recent tattoo was only a week ago. My gorgeous fiancé went with me and kept me company. I was doing my best to keep it together and not lose my butch card. Because she is wonderful and she saw me white-knuckling the chair with a desperate look in my eyes, she kept talking to me to distract me. It helped a lot. She left to go to the bathroom and I knew I was in trouble the second she walked away. Now that there was no gorgeous fiancé watching me, I was at serious risk of letting a few tears eek out. I kept it together though, and thankfully she came back pretty quickly. I sucked it up and was allowed to keep my butch card in my back pocket. Phew.

This painful tattoo experience got me thinking: when is it alright for a butch to cry?   Here are a few no brainers: (1) when your kids were born, (2) the Saints got crucified by Commissioner Dumb Ass – most likely resulting in a lost season, and (3) Ironman fell back through the hole in the atmosphere just before the portal closed and then was saved by the Hulk. So touching. Of course butches can cry at moments like those. It is perfectly acceptable. What I am talking about is good old-fashioned tears because we got injured, or are just plain sad. Revolutionary?

I think not. I may not cry that often, but I will burst into tears if I get injured (not like a paper cut, but actually hurt), or if my feelings get squashed. Probably not in front of you, mind you, but maybe later. This is sometimes challenging because it is hard for others to remember that butches do have feelings, and no matter how big and strong we are, crying is sometimes the result.

When we cry it is likely harder for us butches to explain it to you. “Why are you crying?” you might ask with all the sincerity in the world. But the honest answer might be, “I have no idea.”  Frustrating for you ladies, I think. Ironically, if we started crying during the tattoo torture, you would know exactly why – you just wouldn’t respect us!

Femmes and other non-butches tend to be much more in touch with their feelings. At least in my house, my gorgeous fiancé is very capable of putting into words what is upsetting her – whether it is some butch fail of mine, or something else entirely.  I am not so good at it.


Take the other day. My gorgeous fiancé and I are working with a personal trainer. She is very intense. The most intense trainer-type person I have ever worked with. Think Jillian Michaels. She is perfect for us because she pushes us really hard. I have written before about how strong my gorgeous fiancé is – stronger than I am in most ways. But I am very strong, too. Jillian knows this about both of us, and she knows what our goals are, so she is pushing. The other day, the workout was the most difficult that I have ever experienced. By a mile. As we were getting ready to stretch at the end, I started to cry. Not sobbing or anything, but my eyes filled up with tears that spilled over. I stopped at a machine to wipe my eyes (no crying in the gym!), and then went out to stretch. As I lay on the mat stretching my hamstrings, I couldn’t help it. The tears streamed down my face.

I have no idea why I was crying. I wasn’t hurt or injured. No one hurt my feelings. I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t crying because I was so proud of myself or emotional about doing all that I was asked to do, although I could get there perhaps if I stopped to ponder it for a while. None of those things. My gorgeous fiancé realized that I was crying and was understandably alarmed. “Are you ok? What’s wrong?” she asked me. “Yes, and I don’t know” were my honest replies.

If the situation were reversed, she would have been able to explain to me exactly the cause of her tears. I could not. I wanted to. I am not trying to be tough emotionally – that’s silly. I want to be able to share whatever I am feeling or experiencing with her, but I was at a total loss. Of course that made it worse – being confused. Ack!

I still haven’t figured it out. I realize that this may be frustrating for you, dear readers, but I don’t have an answer for you. If any of you have any ideas, please let me know! Anyway, I thought it would be good to remind the world that butches do cry. We try to hide it. We want you to think we are tough (we are tough), but we do cry. And sometimes we have no idea why.

It is butch to cry. Just make sure it’s not while you are getting a tattoo. Be butch.

15 thoughts on “Big Butches Do Cry

  1. It seems to me (old straight lady) that butches are in the same psychological place as guys. The differences may outweigh the similarities but here is a clear similarity. The problem is that you are blessed (cursed) with EXACTLY the same emotional elements as women (there are even books on this).
    We are just so much smarter and have given ourselves permission to express these feelings. Its like calling dibs and we got there first. The current expression is man-up. It does not work so I don’t recommend it as a permanent strategy. How about a new phrase: woman-up, shortened to woup! OWN the tears and you will suffer less high BP, headaches, heart attacks etc. As a bonus your gorgeous fiancee will feel more connected and tender. Just saying…

    • Bejai, I am so happy than you, an “old straight lady,” are taking the time to read and comment. ;o) I agree with you. The tears will sometimes flow, no need to fight them (unless its during a tattoo session). How about “Butch up?”

  2. I totally had the ‘cry at the gym’ experience…it was weird, i was running track and pushing myself and suddenly all this crap just floated up from somewhere below and blind-sided me….I’ve never cried during tattoos, (about to get my 3rd) …but i hear it depends on ‘where’ you get them and pain thresholds are different for everybody.

  3. I’ve also had this odd gym experience- all of a sudden tears are leaking and I don’t know why. After trying to analyze why I was crying, I came to the conclusion that exhaustion seemed to be a sort of catalyst to allow stress, frustration, anger- whatever was buried deep, to seep to the surface. Unlike crying for a “reason” it was rather cathartic (if not a bit embarrassing!) and felt good.
    It IS butch to cry, hell, it’s human to cry. Thanks for a great post 🙂


  4. Excellent post. I too got a new tat last week, and I mentioned the “never show the hurt” thing in my video afterwards. And not being able to say “why” when we do allow the tears to fall is something I struggle with as well. Thanks for sharing!

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