Show dogs and tough guys respond to their conditioning. Right on cue. Only the dogs may get a trophy whereas the tough guys mostly get applause from other tough guys. Still, there has been a long tradition in America of the tall-in-the-saddle hero who lets his gun do his talking. Cinematic examples abound from Tom Mix to Hopalong Cassidy to John Wayne and now to Clint Eastwood. It’s the way men are; and, we are often told, the way women like them.
Most men outgrow this myth about the time they turn 30 [earlier if they’ve been paying attention]. They learn that the strong-silent-types are usually silent because, well, they have nothing to say. Something today’s women detect early on.
Crying, however, still remains a dicey question for the American male. He hasn’t usually been exposed to this raw expression of male emotion, although he finds it perfectly acceptable among the American female. [This too is all part of the American guy/gal myth]. As recently as a generation ago, a presidential candidate, Edmund Muskie, lost his bid because he was found — OMG! — tearing up in public at the thought of his wife’s illness.
In the eternal battle of the sexes, it has been long assumed women and men are each good at different things. But have you ever compared them? The male is bigger, stronger, more muscular; that makes him better equipped for cutting down trees, building log cabins, and especially shooting guns and killing bad guys. The female is smaller, more compassionate, more capable of enduring rather than inflicting pain as in the case of childbirth. Strikes me the gals have an edge here on what counts most.
Another way of looking at this mythology is the tight-lipped-fast-draw cowboy in the same town with the free-seaking-heartfelt-schoolmarm. Think of it this way. After the big Gunfight at the OK Corral, who does the town need most? Another cowpoke with a 6 shooter or a schoolmarm with a textbook and an open mind?
Civilization has over the centuries provided us with the answer. As for any young tough guys still embarrassed about your tears and busy playing Clint….get over it!
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