More men are struggling to hold back tears. But, please, let's not have any blubbering in the boardroom
This is an unscientific observation, but I think men are crying more these days. Recently three men I know have admitted to blubbering. One, a sports fan, told me that he got into such a tizz when he couldn't connect to Sky Sports to watch a football match that he cried in despair. Another said that when his wife found out about an affair he was having, he said he cried at the thought (yes, like you I am wondering if it was because of the affair itself or due to the fact that he got caught out). And the third... well, OK, there were only two.
I don't know why women cry so much and I don't want to know either—although I would prefer it if they didn't, especially when they use it as an emotional power tool. But men? Really? Remember all that claptrap about the New Man, who was supposedly in touch with his feminine side, who was strong enough to express his emotions? Surely we're not heading back to that.
Maybe we lead much more pressured lives these days so that the smallest of things can tip us over the edge. Maybe the male capacity to bottle things up, to convince ourselves that things aren't so bad, is being cranked up to maximum.
Let's face it, whether in business or our private lives men and women aren't the same and it is futile to pretend we are. Why do we feel the need to adopt each other's manners and affectations, either in the boardroom or the bedroom? Successful businesswomen play by the rules to progress through the ranks. Men may have made those rules, but that doesn't mean businesswomen need to behave like them. Likewise, it's tosh for men to think they need to adapt in order to become more "complete".
I simply don't want women to act like men and I don't want men to behave like women—even in business. In the wider world, I don't want to see women knocking back pints any more than I want to see men staying at home to get their legs done. Any decent restaurant serves ladies first. I don't feel it's anything other than good manners to hold out a chair for a female dining companion or to open doors.
Both my friends said that crying made them feel better, so it could be just a simple pressure-release mechanism rather than a more sinister feminisation of the male that I detect.
So here is the rulebook for when it's OK for men to cry—when a loved one dies (not compulsory, but permissible even if embarrassing if it happens in public) and if you find out that your wife/girlfriend has been cheating on you (and not, pal, the other way around)—but again only in the privacy of your home. Not when England loses in the World Cup and not, Gazza, when you're dumb enough to be sent off the game before the final. And certainly not when you're running a business.
Let's remember that good fences make good neighbours. The fact that we seem to be losing grip over this blindingly obvious dictum is worrying. You could even say it brings a tear to my eye...
Iqbal Wahhab is founder of Roast restaurant